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"Piano players know
    where all 88 keys are.
    Riders only need to
    keep track of 4 feet!"

  

  
    ABOUT BONNIE
Suffice it to say, I have always known horses are exalted beings. This knowledge has guided me on a journey through life to know and understand them. To speak out and defend them. To respect as well as admire them. To care for and heal them. And to offer whatever assistance possible to others who aspire in the same direction.

Every birthday and every Christmas, while growing up, I was sure I would find a pony waiting for me in the back yard. Over the years, my parents and I exchanged familiar refrains: "I want a horse" "When you get old enough you can get a job and buy one."


And so I did.


While waiting to get into university, I decided to treat myself to riding lessons.  At age 19 I felt afraid and unsure riding without stirrups as kids half my age blew past me, urging their horses on. Not to be outdone, I signed up for more lessons and not long after, bought my first horse. He came with a blaze, four white stockings and the name Chocolate! I was in heaven.

Horses were my passion. I couldn't imagine anything better than helping people like me learn to ride. I was too serious to want to simply join the ranks of people who got business cards printed up claiming expertise as instructors/trainers. So I researched the best English speaking riding schools in the world.

After a year of working hard to fulfill requirements, I was accepted at Porlock Vale Equestrian Centre in Somerset, England. Col. Crawford, president of the British Horse Society, (B.H.S. parent organization to Pony Club) ran the school. In previous years, Porlock had been the training center for the British equestrian teams.

While there, I rode twice daily with top instructors, studied for and passed rigorous B.H.S. exams. And so my professional life with horses began.

Fast forward over 30 years and today my focus is on using the traditional training sequence of the California Vaqueros to produce the lightest, most responsive horses. Starting horses in the snaffle with a solid foundation in lateral flexion, then moving to the hackamore in preparation for the ultimate longitudinal flexion, balance and ease of movement.

In 1987 I started riding with Buck Brannaman and shortly thereafter with Ray Hunt. It is with deepest respect and gratitude that I refer to them as my teachers.




I am continually fascinated by the horse's ability to turn loose and give to the human when offered an alternative to force, fear and punishment.

Years ago I was taught the "correct way" to adjust equipment that in effect, put the horse in a straight jacket and gag. It worked to contort the horse's body into what was wanted but sadly sent the mind in another direction. When Buck and Ray offered me an alternative, I responded instantly. I've found it is the same with the horse.

That alternative is what I aspire to, what I practice and what I teach. I refer to it as Thinking Horsemanship.