I take a holistic approach to horse training. In college, I studied animal behavior and graduated with a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Business which focused on sustainability and systems thinking.
These two degrees have drastically shaped my horse training style, leading me down a path to study not only how to properly bring a horse along the training scale, but also to consider all parts of the horse including his psychology and physiology and how all of the parts are connected to create a fully trained and healthy horse.
In 2005, I adopted my first wild American mustang. Rowdy challenged what I thought I knew about horse behavior. I had to prove that I was a good leader who was worth following. My second mustang, Aries, came to me in 2011. Aries was the subject of a documentary series I produced and edited called To the Heart of a Mustang.* Aries was already middle aged when he was captured, and he took my knowledge of horse behavior to a much deeper level.
In 2013, I spent 18 months living in Australia and working with Manolo Mendez, one of the six founding members of the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Jerez, Spain. He was also the school’s first head rider.
Even though I had compassion and intent to do what was best for the horse—it wasn’t enough. During my time with Manolo and his assistant trainer Chantelle Matthews, I learned about the correct progression of a horse through training, how muscle tension and alignment of bones effect the horses comfort and performance, and gained a deeper, overarching philosophy of horsemanship and riding.
Manolo is a seasoned horseman with over forty years of experience spanning classical dressage and every riding discipline from puissance jumping to polo and doma vaquera. He is dedicated to a soft, sympathetic and thorough training method which prepares horses physically and psychologically for each stage of training from training level to Grand Prix and Haute Ecole. In particular, Manolo is well known for training or re-training the 3 Ps: Piaffe, Passage, and Pirouette, without coercion or force.
Learn more about Manolo and his philosophy and techniques at his website.
* To the Heart of a Mustang is my personal project to raise awareness about the wonders of mustangs and their capabilities. Learn more about that story, meet Aries, and watch videos of me training.