I began riding for fun on barefoot
and bareback on a few backyard ponies but with lessons I began to focus on
jumpers. The United States Pony Club expanded my knowledge and experience
and I quickly was drawn towards Three Day Eventing after a few cross-country
rides. I loved the adrenaline rush of galloping up over hills, down through
streams and then out over huge fences! I left home at a young age to focus on
training and competing: my riding brought me throughout the US and finally to
Although my main focus was Three Day, I wanted to
expand my field of knowledge and experience a variety of disciplines, training
styles and breeds. I
worked in Jumper and Dressage barns, schooling, conditioning and training
horses. I attended jockey school, to learn the the ins and outs of several
race tracks and a glimpse of the racing world.
I trained with instructors of
various backgrounds throughout the US, and was able to experience all aspects of
Three Day from the competitor's standpoint, the training standpoint, the course
designer and competition host. I was surrounded by
international caliber competitors, trainers and coaches with varied
I found that the
more I saw, the more frustrated I was with the lack of concern for what I would
consider as a quality foundation when working with horse that were being
promoted from competition. I was frustrated with the lack of concern for
both the horse and rider's mental, emotional and physical well being. I realized
the "higher up" I got, the more surrounded I was by folks who had lost sight of why they were riding and competing, and
had let politics and the continual stress of finances cloud their perspective,
values and goals.
I was beyond
disappointed to realize the goal I had been working so hard towards, would not
in the long run make me or my horses happy. So I left the sport.
Even though I was not riding, I continued to stay in touch with
friends from the equine world. My interest was slowly rekindled when I went as
a spectator to an event in Kalispell, MT. I saw people who were riding for the
pure enjoyment of the sport. This encouraged me to once again become involved
with the sport. I was reacquainted with United States Pony Club, but this time
as a trainer and District Commissioner, and I began to teach and ride again.
I also was reunited with one
of the finest horseman I've ever met, but this time, I was mentally available to
finally appreciate what he was offering. He helped me re-evaluate my underlying basic thought and interaction
with the horses. I had to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew.
Years have been spent and
still continue to be focusing on refining my own level of
awareness, ability to assess, my sensitivity and timing. My journey has allowed me to
share with others others the tools and aids to clearly and effectively communicate
with their horse to build a quality partnership whose foundation is built on
respect and trust.
I now travel throughout the
United States as a clinician, offering training and teaching. In July 2003 my
business partner and I opened The Equestrian Center, LLC,
in beautiful in Sandpoint, Idaho located in the panhandle of the state. I
offer Full Immersion Clinics, training, lessons, working student opportunities
and more at TEC. For the
past 12 years I’ve spent my winters in Arizona warmth of Yuma.
By now my experience has allowed me to step back and “see” more of
the whole picture; I use a mixture of ideas and theories that have helped me
define my own training and teaching style for both horses and students. My goal
of achieving respect and communicating with horses before I get on them is one
of the most important tools. From watching, clinicing, and auditing
quality horse folks, and mostly from the horses themselves, it has become
abundantly clear that winning over a horse’s
mental availability completely changes the entire relationship. I encourage riders of all experiences and disciplines to
peruse this website and also to visit my
blog for more on my training
theories and philosophies!
a more in depth explanation check out the
Alternative Horsemanship and
pages to learn more about ground work philosophy and the Riding
with Sam and
Riding Basics for lesson style.