For horse lovers, training a horse so that a given rider and the horse are of one mind is not an easy task. Recently I watched a program sponsored by the Colorado Prison System where inmates were allowed to train wild horses to the point where the horses could be sold to persons needing a well trained horse. The techniques used were based upon Horse Whispering which has been well documented and used by trainers all over the world. This program trained both the inmates and the horses. The change that it brought to the inmates was a sense of purpose and a sense of self respect that many of them had never had or learned. Their love of working with an animal changed their inner spirit and for many a renewed interest in life.

I personally spent about five years teaching at the fifth grade level and there were always girls who loved horses and loved to read stories about horses. I suspect that some of them either owned horses or belonged to riding clubs. I also suspect that for many this love of horses continued into their adult life. My wife has two daughters who are now in their 50’s who not only ride horses and train horses, but have spent the last few years going to different activities where other horse lovers meet. They go through training sessions, competitions and trail riding. I have challenged them to go with me on a bare back ride on the open range where my brother and our friends used to ride in the vast area of Eastern Oregon. So far they have not taken up my challenge so they probably will never get to experience the thrill of bare back riding. I am going to include an brief article written by the youngest of my stepdaughters who not only trains and rides horse, but recently built a riding arena so that her friends and her sister can ride and train their horses on the many rainy days in Western Oregon. I affectionately refer to them as the Rhinestone Cowgirls. The following is one of my stepdaughters.

HORSE THOUGHTS by Lee Ann Thomas

Actually, the proper title of this blog would be, “Thoughts about Horses,” but that would hardly get your attention, now would it? Besides, maybe my thoughts will help other people to think about what they do with their horses, in terms of whether the horse likes what they’re doing, or not.You will find reams of articles, blogs, and books written by wonderful trainers. They are full of highly useful information, and if you want to learn about training horses, you really should choose a few and read them thoroughly. I am not a professional trainer. I am a horse owner and rider, who has learned a few lessons along the way. Some of them were straight forward and easy, others were quite difficult. So, in my articles, I intend to share some of my hard-earned insights.

I currently live on a small acreage in Oregon with my husband, two horses and two dogs. I also have a small business designing and creating horsehair jewelry and you are welcome to visit my website:


For as long as I can remember, I have loved animals, especially horses. We always had dogs and cats growing up, but living in the suburbs made finding a way to be around horses difficult. Eventually, I figured it out. By cleaning my riding instructor’s entire house each week, I was able to trade for lessons. Looking back that was a fantastic deal – for her! But she gave me a solid foundation for all of my future riding, and was an excellent teacher. The horse I learned on was a character, and he also taught me well. All through my teen years and into young adulthood, I found ways to take lessons and ride friend’s horses. For a few years, while my daughters were young, I gave up riding. The expense was simply prohibitive. Then, for about 10 years we raised llamas, but those stories will have to be written another day. I will say that llamas made me much more aware of body language, and that knowledge carried over well to horses.

Rosie is my 8-year-old, Foxtrotter, mare. She is a red roan sabino. OK, I had to look up “sabino,” too… It has to do with her white markings, but you’ll have to look it up for a better description! Rosie came from a ranch in California, where she was allowed to run with a herd for her first two years. The breeders gave their horses excellent care, and taught them in a humane manner. Rosie went to a gaited horse trainer, my friend Gina Gardner, for a winter and then came to live with us. She is my “perfect horse,” but I have to say, it took me awhile to find her! She loves to do different things, which makes her a good match for me. We do gait training, obstacle training, trail riding, horse camping, and we love to play soccer. We have also played at cow sorting a little, and that is something I would like to do more of.

So, that’s a short introduction to me. Rosie will be a big part of this blog, along with Payton, Sonny, Jake, and Aurelia. Maybe our boxer, Colby, will even get a paragraph, or two.

Figure 1
Lee Ann & Rosie