I went to my first horse show when I was 13. The judge advised me that the yellow macramé browband I’d created for my gelding’s bridle was not really customary show attire. I didn’t really understand the difference between hunter or equitation, over fences, showmanship or halter/line classes. I just signed up for ‘em all, hoping that my horse had read the show program.

After spending my teen years showing my hunter on the A circuit, going off course as much as staying on track, I took an education break before crossing over to the Quarter Horse world as an adult. There, wiser and more experienced, I was blessed to find myself regularly in the winner’s circle, now in both English and western tack. My then-husband and I hung up our shingle as professional horse trainers in 1985, hauling horses to AQHA shows across North America every weekend.

In 25 years as a professional coach and trainer, I’ve worked with easily over a thousand horses, and coached even more riders. What I’ve learned from horses and their people! What I’ve learned about myself in the fishbowl of the show ring! Horse shows have enriched lives for so many, and been the catalyst for the train wreck of others.

I’m still learning – asking questions, reading, studying and riding. Digging deeper through the hows to the whys. Give me the thinking behind those technical skills! Thinking riders become excellent horsemen, not just ribbon winners. As a coach and trainer, I love being part of the process.

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