Our Story

When I was just a girl, horses filled my heart and soul with wonder and love. In my dreams, I ran with the wild horses, galloping besides them.
They set my soul free with their untamed spirits.
I never wanted to break them, hurt them, or change them in anyway. I relished in their fire and freedom/free spirits.
In my dreams, never were the horses and I constricted to the limits of an arena – never did we need the confinements of a bridle. In my dreams, both daytime and nighttime, horse and human ran wild together – a true partnership driven by trust, fun for all, and unconditional love.
In my dreams, I yearned for a very special horse… a horse I could run and play with anytime of the day, a horse I could adventure and explore with, a horse I could call a true friend – a horse who I adored more than life itself… a horse who loved me the same.
Thankfully when I was twelve years old, fate brought me to that very horse, and I found my soulmate here on earth.
When I met Annie, it was love at first sight. She was the only girl I wanted to spend time with after that first meeting. I was absolutely wonderstruck after meeting this incredible girl, and that Christmas, my most precious dream of uniting with a horse of my own came true – Annie and I were officially a herd.

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Annie and I were both lucky enough to find each other when we were both young and green. It was not your typical, ideal pairing – a 12 and 3 year old new to the equestrian world come together – but it was meant to be. We had no trainer to correct our mistakes, so instead we learned from each other. No one was there to tell me I was being too “soft” with my mare or that I didn’t have her “respect”. Looking back now, I’m sure I would have received such comments from traditional riders and trainers. I was not dominant; I was not feared by my horse. All I knew/had was an incredible amount of love for my Annie, and that was all that mattered to me.

Because we weren’t involved in competition or being watched by other riders, our friendship always came first, even when it came to “training”. Most days, we would trail ride or gallop around the ranch for fun. I threw Annie birthday parties and we played games like “bobbing for apples”, for fun. I would sit for hours just reading to my baby, watching her and her herd graze in the pasture. Everything we did revolved around our enjoyment and relationship.
When I was a bit older, I was exposed to more of the “traditional” horse world when I started taking an interest in jumping and dressage. At first, I was looked down upon for my laissez-faire approach to horsemanship and lack of traditional training – meanwhile┬áI felt very uncomfortable about what I was seeing at the barn and in lessons. The training felt cold and disconnected. The horses didn’t seem like the ones I was used to seeing at the ranch – they didn’t seem happy.
I saw young people whipping and yanking on their horses; I saw a pain the horses’ faces that no one else noticed – it seemed they had all become immune to the expression. I did not blame the other kids and adults in lessons for these actions because I saw that the trainers were preaching that riders needed to be dominant – that the end result was more important than the method – that the horse is a big animal that can take some rough handling – that force is a completely viable manner of getting things done if the horse isn’t cooperating – Mindsets that stemmed from fear rather than love.
I also noticed that most people did not have the relationship they were looking for with their horses. Something was missing, leaving even the humans feeling unfulfilled. This made me sad for both horse and human.
All of these realizations made me question my own methods with Annie – perhaps I wasn’t as kind in my methods as I thought. As I peeled back the layers and started to see the force I was using with my best friend Annie who I had always thought of as an equal, things started to really shift for us. I thought that there had to be another way, and I was determined to find it for Annie’s sake.
I decided to drop all force – if I could not ride, play, train, etc with Annie without the use of metal and ropes, then we just weren’t going to do those things any more. It was a terrifying thought; I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to do anything again if I couldn’t use the ropes I grown accustom to.
Many days, I sat humbled in the arena and as Annie walked away from me and my attempts to reach out to her. Many days I left the barn feeling nothing but frustration and defeat, unable to connect with my best friend. Things that had once seemed so easy for us with the use of tack we had suddenly had trouble with or could not do. It was disheartening to hear my friends and people I looked up to tell me what I was doing was wrong: that I was going to “ruin” Annie’s training with all of this freedom. With no one to turn to, no trainers, instructions, DVDs, or guidance to turn to, I nearly gave up so many times. The only thing that kept me going was my love for Annie – I wanted the absolute best for her… I wanted to treat her right. My best friend deserved nothing less than my all, so with her strength, we kept trying.
We searched and we failed; we searched and I learned. Finally I stopped trying to mentally force myself into Annie’s space and started to focus on listening – this was one of the most an invaluable lessons Annie needed to teach me. Finally, Annie began to reach out to me without coercion of anytime.
Once I began listening to Annie above anything else, things began to click very quickly for us. All of the sudden, we were trying new things we both loved and deepening out bond in ways I never new possible. We have been learning and loving ever since.

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