Ann is the genuine real deal when it comes to horses and horsemanship. She has spent her lifetime immersed in the equestrian world, riding, training horses, judging shows, rehabilitating injured horses, and teaching people how to communicate with their horses. She has also been involved with race horse and wild mustang rescue as well as equine assisted therapy.
Ann's Story, in Her Words
If you are a horse person, you are just born that way. My mom told me that my very first spoken word was 'horse'.
Birthdays and Christmas were huge disappointments for years. There was never a horse under that tree, or wrapped with a bow: the only acceptable gift in my eyes.
Everything changed when I was nine yrs old. I received a gift that was not a horse, but the very next best thing: Riding Lessons! Debbie, daughter of my parents' friends, had a British HorseMaster's certificate, and a Morgan horse named Timmy. Debbie and Timmy were my angels, and I was in heaven.
It wasn't long before Debbie helped me convince my parents to buy that first pony, and I have not been without a horse since. When I outgrew my pony, a pretty, cranky QH mare came to live with us.
My childhood camps had horse programs. At 15 I was working for a saddle maker. As a teenager we fox hunted, barrel raced, competed in Hunter/Jumper shows, and I exercised race horses. My friends and I explored miles and miles of trails, went swimming with our equine friends, and built our own cross country jump courses.
At 16 I was teaching riding, and 19 saw me apprenticing with a cutting horse trainer and AQHA judge.
After my apprenticeship, I moved West to Wyoming and worked on a cattle Ranch. Soon there was an offer for me to go to New Mexico and work starting colts and help with care of track lay ups. When the horses were healthy, sound and ready for work, we conditioned and prepped them to go back to work.
Soon I had a job at the Santa Fe race track, which gave me the opportunity to re train discarded race horses and then re-home them. Many of those horses were well bred and beautiful, but if they didn't run well, were sent to the sale barn. I was able to buy them before they were taken away and create new careers for them.
After my track days, I went to work starting young horses and showing them for the owner. There were three day event horses, reining horses, and Arabians, so I gained an enormous mount of experience. My interest in Dressage grew. I joined the local dressage association, became a member of the board, and managed many schooling shows while furthering my education through lessons and clinics.
Dressage became my passion, and since I have always enjoyed both the English and the Western riding, I directed my teaching and training toward the use of the classical dressage methods for training in all disciplines. These methods and principals are the building blocks for not only the training of the horse and rider, but also the physical fitness and foundation of communication.
Western classes were offered in my dressage shows to encourage riders to learn more about these methods.
Over the years I have worked with many horses that other trainers have rejected for a variety of reasons such as physical unsoundness, behavioral problems, or sometimes they just weren't impressive looking for the show ring. In the end though, they all have something to offer, and it pleases and excites me to give these horses new opportunities in life. For the horse, this often means the difference between finding a good home or winding up in the kill pen.
In more recent years I have done some work with Wild horse Rescue, educational programs, and therapy programs involving the Mustangs.
A training vacation in Portugal got me hooked on Lusitanos in 2001.
In 2002 I became a certified Equine Specialist in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy through Greg Kersten's EAGALA program, and more recently through his O.K. Corral Series.
While I continued to teach and train, I was also judging schooling shows and traveling to teach clinics.
In 2012, my book Wild Spirits:Running With the Herd was published.
I returned to Portugal in 2015 to receive more training in the Classical riding that is so much a part of the Portuguese culture and history.
I strongly believe in continuing education throughout one's career. One never knows it ALL, and the joy is in the trail followed, not the final destination
Today, I continue to follow my Equine path in New Mexico and am designing therapeutic and athletic training programs for horses and their humans.