Horses have been a major part of my life since the age of three. I grew up near Oxford, England, which is where my love of horses began. By the age of four I was joyfully galloping across the countryside, and I was six when I found myself attracted to being with those who have special needs.
When I was ten, I made the move with my family from England to Maui, Hawaii. Going from the English countryside to the island life was a big change, but I quickly discovered that with every change comes new opportunity. While living in Hawaii I met the two trainers who I still look up to today, Nancy Townsend and Jacqueline Becker. From Nancy I learned to train ponies and horses the Monty Roberts way, and from Jacque I learned about equine chiropractic, nutrition and multiple disciplines. I will always be so grateful to both of my early mentors.
My first horse, Kachina, and I worked with Jacque helping special needs children in a therapy program called HAPI. After experiencing the bond between a horse and a human first hand I knew I wanted to pursue a life where I can help others experience that bond as well.
When I moved to Cave Creek, Arizona I started focusing more time on training horses, including time spent training track thoroughbreds for Ira Schulman’s Retired Racehorse Project, and working at various barns. I then went on to rescuing and working with troubled horses – always focusing on trust as the basis of the training process. From 2010 until 2014 I worked as a vet tech at Chaparral Medical Center and Deer Creek Animal Hospital, helping with the care of both large and small animals. In 2014 I helped start and develop Kachina’s Place, a nonprofit charity aimed at providing equine assisted learning and growth tailored to each individuals’ unique needs and abilities. And in 2017 I became PATH certified.
When it comes to riding, I have focused on a variety of disciplines including showing, dressage, hunters, jumpers, equitation, polo, western, and training un-started horses and ponies. I strive to continue to learn and grow within a multitude of disciplines. I hope to always continue my education in horses, therapeutic riding, natural horsemanship, and more.
My teaching methods are very individualized to the rider, which is why I believe one-on-one sessions are the best way for each rider to connect, learn, and relax in their own way.
I have a passion for helping horses, helping people, and the “loving connection” between the two. Now, with Loving Connections, I have the opportunity to bring happiness, compassion and trust to people through the love, companionship and friendship of our wonderful horses.
I grew up in the traditional horse world of eventing. I spent my weekends at shows and, for a long time, this was the extent of what I thought my equine relationships could be. I feel fortunate for the experiences with horses I had growing up, because it has allowed be to have the perspective I do now. Additionally, my past gave me a solid foundation and comfort level in the equine world; however, my personal experience didn’t put an emphasis on equine connection. Throughout my training, I didn’t spend much time on groundwork or many other essential aspects that I find to be an important part of my horse experience today. At one point in high school I gave up horses overnight. My experience with horses and riding stopped being fulfilling As fast as I had dropped them, it seemed horses kept creeping back into my life a little at a time.
In 2018 I started volunteering at an equine non profit that focused on therapeutic riding. I started with the intention of just wanting to do some volunteer work and refamiliarize myself with the horse world. I was given a lot of freedom to interact and spend time with the horses and my past approach to horses didn’t feel right anymore. I didn’t just want to ride, I wanted to have a connection with the horses. I didn’t want to force anything upon them without a valid reason why. I started to slowly try things, force free, and began to try positive reinforcement training, which gives the horse the choice to walk away, and sometimes they did. One horse, Kula, really showed me a different way to approach our relationship. I found that with Kula, forcing her to do something just because I wanted her to do it, didn’t work. It wasn’t always easy, it was hard, frustrating, sad, and disheartening; however, eventually once I started to let go of expectations, she chose to do things with me and be right by my side.
Approaching horses with positive reinforcement training has helped me to be patient, soft, kind, and aware of both my emotions and their emotions. It has allowed me to see how I am effecting their behavior, choices, and much more. This experience came into my life when I felt very disconnected from my path. I truly believe that the relationship between human and horse is special and can have an impact not only on the individual, but can ripple out into our communities. I believe that this relationship has the power to shift the traditional view of a horse’s purpose. I would love to be able share these connections with others and positively impact their lives as much as mine has been.
Since I was a child, I had a deep love and compassion for all animals; however, to this day, horses in particular have held a special place in my heart. I rode and competed during my adolescence in english, western, and jumping competitions. As a teen, I was active in many different organizations, working at animal hospitals, volunteering for animal rescues, and volunteering in a group home for children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities.
Now as an adult, and mother, I have learned what it takes to raise and care for another life, and have become passionate about giving all children the love and attention they need and deserve. Becoming a part of Loving Connections felt like the natural next step for me and I am beyond excited to help make a difference in the lives of both children and horses in need.
Unlike the other board members, I didn't grow up around horses. Yes, I went horse backing riding at summer camps and loved it, but that was the extent of my horse background. Throughout high school and college my friends were ranchers, farmers, and rodeo girls so I became increasingly familiar with what you can call the "country way of life" and I loved every second of it.
I graduated from college a year early and traveled in Europe for 3 months. When I got back, I guess you can say I was lost in life. My friends were all in college, I moved back in with my parents (yikeeeesss, 3 years on my own and now I'm back), broke up with my boyfriend, and didn't have a job (my dream of doing marketing for rodeos, PBR, or sports teams didn't come as easily as I naively thought it would).
I took my "lost-ness" and turned it into my purpose. I started volunteering with an organization similar to Loving Connections and found what I am truly passionate about...horses and helping. This is where I met Franky! I started out as volunteering twice a week but before I knew it I was spending 8 hour days doing chores, assisting with lessons, and marketing.
As much as I wanted to be a volunteer forever, student loans were calling my name and lucky for me, so was a full time marketing job! I currently do marketing for a global company located here in Phoenix, Arizona. I assist our international business, pioneer new ideas, lead marketing campaigns, attend trade shows, write press releases, and more.
Although I still wish I could spend all day every day at Loving Connections, I'm thankful to be learning and implementing the marketing techniques I acquire in my day job!