The Willing Equine
"All behavior has a cause. Horses never do anything "just because". They do what they do to obtain reinforcement or avoid pain/discomfort... Just like us."
Trust and cooperation are the foundation of our training program.
When we have trust and cooperation, we can do anything and everything together with our horses.
From medical care and basic handling to riding and competitive training.
But most of all, we have a relationship that is strong and enjoyable for both participants. A mutually respectful and positive relationship. That is our goal here at TWE, to help you achieve that with your horse.
Whether that's through one-on-one coaching, online courses, social media, our extensive resources available freely through our podcast and blog, teaching clinics, virtual coaching and consultation services, or board & train programs.
A whole horse approach to behavior modification and training.
Prioritizing the relationship between horse and human.
Lasting success is found with educated and hands-on owners/caregivers who are fully committed.
An understanding of horses being individuals with individual needs and timelines.
Utilizing the least invasive minimally aversive approach and following the humane hierarchy.
Providing the horse with as much choice and as pleasant of an experience as possible.
And we don't just apply this to horses! It's important to us that the human caregivers receive a patient, positive, whole person, individualized experience that sets them up for success.
To learn more about what we do and our services, check out the information below. Click on any of the pictures to be redirected to more information about that service or content.
It's never just about what we are teaching our horses, we are always learning too." — Adele Shaw
Ready to Work with Adele?
The Willing Equine
“You're exactly where you should be.. and everything that has happened in your horsemanship journey prior to this point has happened for a reason." - Adele Shaw
Adele Shaw, CHBC
TWE Head Trainer
Adele Shaw is an internationally recognized mentor and trainer focused on creating a positive relationship between horse and human through science-based training and care practices. This holistic approach examines the horse’s environment, lifestyle, and physical and mental soundness to ensure that the horses are not simply surviving, but truly thriving in their life and relationship with their human caretakers.
From a young age, Adele’s favorite kind of horses were always the "troublesome" horses. If they bucked, reared, refused to be caught, bolted, bit, kicked, whatever...the more difficult a horse was the more she wanted to work with it. At first she thought this was because she enjoyed the challenge, but now, nearly twenty years later, she realizes what she really wanted was to help these horses. She has always had a passion for understanding the “why” behind behavior and a deep desire to help horses find their way back to wellness. Underneath all the behavioral issues she knew there was a good horse, and she wanted to find it.
Throughout the years Adele has owned and worked with many horses, and each of them have left a permanent bookmark in her life story with an endless list of lessons they taught her. Without her past she would not be here today, wanting to help people help their horses.
While training with positive reinforcement is fairly mainstream in a lot of areas of the animal training world, it's still in its infancy in the horse community. Every day Adele and like minded trainers, are pioneering utilizing choice and control, positive reinforcement, behavioral science, the humane hierarchy, LIMA, and so much more with horses. Adele’s mission is to make this information accessible and achievable for the average horse owner out there through TWE.
As a teacher, Adele is supportive and understanding of both horse and human, and tailors her lessons to provide the most personalized, accessible and ethically minded coaching possible. Her approach goes beyond method: by offering flexible training and care systems, the wellbeing of the horse and the empowerment of the student always remain the primary goals.
Adele is a Certified Horse Behaviour Consultant with the IAABC and an endorsed trainer with the World Bitless Association.
In addition to her hands-on work with specialized rehabilitation cases at her ranch in Texas, Adele maintains an active role in the equestrian community through her clinics, online student programs, blog, podcast, and social media outreach. As she connects with students across the globe, Adele remains dedicated to making information on behavioral science, positive reinforcement, LIMA principles, humane hierarchy, and species appropriate care practices accessible and achievable for every horse owner through The Willing Equine.
The Willing Equine
"Patient and educated trainers make for patient and well trained horses." —Adele Shaw
All our horses listed here are privately owned and live at our facility. They are not for sale unless otherwise stated. They each come from unique backgrounds and have so much to give. Click on their pictures to read more about them.
Finnegan aka "Finn"
2017 Gray Mini Pony
Finn's history during his foal years is largely a mystery, but we do know he was born to a mare purchased from a kill pen already pregnant with him. When he was weaned he went to live with a loving family, who had hoped he would make a riding companion for their children. As time went on though, it became clear that he wasn't going to be big enough and also that he needed more physical care than they were prepared to offer at the time. There was clearly an injury of some kind to his hind end that caused uneven weight distribution and weakness behind. Not knowing the extent of the injury or how it would impact him long term, it seemed to be in Finn's best interest to find a home where he could have extensive medical and therapeutic care, and also be allowed to grow up in a horse friendly environment with companions and a suitable diet.
Since Finn's arrival early 2019 he has stolen the show here at TWE. His cute face and intelligence make him impossible to resist. A favorite of young kids, and adults alike, Finn is never far away when there may be someone willing to spare a little attention. The horses on the other hand tend to have a love hate relationship with Finnegan's antics. The youngsters endlessly play and rough house, despite the size difference, while the adults wish he would leave them alone. ;)
Our goals and future with Finnegan are flexible and really just as he's willing. We hope to introduce him to cart driving when he's older, but for now the focus is on finding the source of his compromised hind end movement and giving him an environment to grow and flourish in. Finn enjoys learning new things, exploring the barn at liberty, traveling to new places, and going on walks.
That Smokin Skeeter aka "Tiger"
2007 - 2021
APHA Buckskin Mare
Tiger started off life on a ranch in Texas and then made her way to a training barn where, from what I can gather, she was intended to be a barrel racer. However, due to her sensitive nature and the all too common rough methods used during training, she quickly became frightened of humans. Behaviors such as bucking and rearing under saddle became an everyday occurrence, refusing to be caught, shying away from a raised hand, and many nervous habits such as muscle twitches. To be honest, I couldn't see any of this when I met her for the first time. All I knew was that this "gorgeous reject barrel racer with no name" was coming home with me. And so began a major transformation in my horsemanship journey.
Though every horse throughout my life has taught me a tremendous amount, Tiger was pivotal in changing the way I approached horse training. It took me a while to figure out, but gradually I realized that undoing seven years of traumatic training wasn't going to happen by applying more pressure and correction. Traditional or natural horsemanship training methods just weren't going to remedy the deep-seated issues humans had caused this horse. Sure, I could force her to be obedient, but riding a frightened suppressed horse isn't my idea of a healthy partnership. Instead, I wanted a willing partner that desired to do everything asked of her because I understood her, and offered her consistency, reliability, and a positive environment.
Tiger and I spent many beautiful years together. Exploring what a trusting relationship looked like between horse and human. She taught me what it meant to heal, learn, trust, and love unconditionally. She humbled me, strengthened me, and taught me the power of consent and cooperative care.
In September 2020, Tiger passed unexpectedly. My heart shattered, and we feel her loss so deeply.
If you'd like to hear more about Tiger and our journey together, I share her story on this podcast episode (click here).
Shesa Spittin Image aka "Pumpkin"
2006 Red Dun ApHC Mare
Pumpkin had a good start in life, and was well cared for. She was started under saddle by a professional for sixty days then sent back to her owner where she was turned out to pasture. The goal was to breed her eventually, but that never came about. Eventually their breeding program changed directions and they were in search of a new home for miss Pumpkin.
The day we tried her out she hadn't been ridden in many years, straight out of the pasture she took good care of my novice rider husband and performed at her best. I knew right then and there that she was a keeper.
Later I discovered just how much Pumpkin had to teach me, despite being an "easy" "lesson" kind of horse. She's taken me on quite the journey, while at the same time being a willing trail mount for novice riders and a horse for my advanced students.
Pumpkin is a very quick learner, with an amazing ability to retain any training, but if you try and force her you will find an entirely different kind of horse on your hands. All the "negative" words you can think of might apply. Stubborn, dense, inflexible, and irritable are the words I used to describe Pumpkin with when ever she was asked to do something she didn't want to. At first I resisted the lessons she had to teach me about horses who respond unwillingly in this way, but as I've humbled myself and given her a choice I've watched a total transformation happen in our relationship. Her true potential has been unlocked through patient and positive training methods.
Our future goals include more liberty work, achieving riding through a consent based approach, teaching future students advanced under saddle work, and long distance trail rides. Pumpkin enjoys playing at liberty, cone targeting, and going on walks.
Blues Candy Bar aka "Candy"
1996 APHA Dark Brown Mare
My youngest sister fell in love with Candy at her first summer camp in 2014. Half blind and working on nineteen years old, it was just one of those "love at first sight" moments, and she just so happened to be going up for sale the end of that summer. Due to her age, her owner was looking to find her a new home where she wasn't required to work so often or so hard and we fit that bill perfectly. About a month later Candy came home to join the rest of the herd and never looked back.
When we first brought her home we quickly found out she had minimal if any dental care previously, she was unable to eat hay or grain and would only eat soft grass. She also had damage from poor saddle fit, bleeding open saddle wounds that left behind white marks once they healed. But despite all of this she was a reliable, patient, and as stoic as ever. Candy is just one of those horses that doesn't tell you when she is in pain. Her performance and health eventually show signs, but it's hard to ever know with her. She just happens to be a horse that won the genetic lottery and was able to cope with her lifestyle without it physically and mentally ruining her.
Candy is a very straight forward horse under saddle, and I mean that literally and figuratively. She's incredibly tolerant and willing when the job is a job she knows well. Anything out of the normal takes some time to get used to, but that's okay. Having a horse like Candy is a rare find. She's an excellent teacher and so reliable. We are very blessed to have such a wonderful horse.
The future for Candy is to maintain Candy's good health and physical condition into her later years, for her to help me teach clinics and students, and to enjoy the good life! Candy enjoys trot work with the reverse round pen, target training, and her evening soaked hay pellets.
1998 Sorrel QH/Appendix Gelding
The way Cash showed up in my life was a first for me. At the time I wasn't really looking for another horse, but when they sent me pictures of this sad, emaciated, sick horse I was horrified and knew I needed to take him home. I arranged to visit him, just thirty minutes away, and then take him home with me as soon as was possible. Unfortunately his owners at the time had now understanding of the level of cruelty they had subjected their horses to, and the authorities were useless in this case. I ended up having to pay quite a bit for him, but it was so worth it in the end. Despite his remodeled ribs, dislocated jaw, strangles, and so much more... he was so very willing to load up into a strange trailer and leave his home and his buddies. I think he knew I was there to help him, but also I know now he's just so very eager to avoid conflict, he will put up with far too much.
Thankfully Cash recovered at an amazing rate. His body and mind have taken a toll from the long years of hard work and poor care, but he is such a different horse now. Full of life and desire to please. My students have nick named him "Saint Cash" and absolutely adore him..
Cash's future goals are to continue rebuilding his health and body strength. And to live out the rest of his days in comfort. Cash really enjoys his evening soaked hay pellets, cone targeting, and being groomed.
Docs Magnolia River aka "River"
2016 Buckskin AQHA/APHA Filly
River is a horse I did not see coming my way any time soon. Mostly because finding her and buying her was extremely spontaneous, and I never thought I would own another foal again.. at least not for many many years. They are hard work! But the reward is so worth it if you can take the time to do it right.
Somehow I found myself in a position where this little filly showed up in a private message on Instagram and I instantly fell in love. I already knew two of her yearling half sisters and it just seemed meant to be. Especially since she was nearly the identical twin of my beloved mare Tiger.
River arrived home about three weeks later, directly after weaning. She was much younger than I was originally told, her weaning was too sudden, and had never been creep fed, so we went through a very rough period of depression and struggling to get her to eat. But after some initial time for her to adjust and recover, her training and personality started taking off.
Smart, sensitive, eager to learn, and with a big personality. River has a bright future ahead of her, and I'm so excited to watch both the physical and mental development using a consent based, positive reinforcement focused training approach.
My desire is for River to grow into a sound, healthy, reliable riding partner that can conquer anything before her. I feel River will strongly enjoy extreme trail riding and ranch riding when she is older, but for now she eagerly takes to the trails on hiking walks and enjoys swimming.
2008 Chestunut Warmblood Mare
Cashmere is an approximately 17.2hh warmblood mare. Cashmere and her owner have had quite a road together, that has had many low points. She's a beautiful big hunter/jumper that called it quits one day, after a series of minor behavioral outburts, throwing her owner mid jump line and breaking her owner's neck.
To try and discover an underlying cause for the behavior her owner sent her to a premier vet clinic to run every diagnostic, only to return home with no answers. Then she was sent to a trainer to work through her problems.. and unfortunately things seemed to only get worse. From an A circuit show horse to a horse that was dangerous; rearing, bolting, severe separation anxiety, and refusing to trailer.
Then...entered me. Originally, Cashmere was only supposed to stay will me for three months, but the situation changed and now Cashmere is a permanent resident of TWE herd. The progress she has made here is incredible, and she has truly shown me the potential horses have to re-learn trust, and to heal emotionally and mentally. She has come so far since the day she stepped off the trailer onto our ranch.
Cashmere will do just about anything for a good scratch, and really enjoys climbing up on different obstacles...the higher the better! As if 17.2 wasn't tall enough! She is incredibly gifted in dressage type work, and excells at in-hand dressage at liberty with her natural awareness of her body, flexibility, focus, and range of motion. She also loves showing off her Spanish walk skills, and thinks there is nothing better than rolling in the mud of the creek.
2017 AQHA/Draft x Filly
Raven has had quite a few homes in her lifetime. As a foal she was seized, with the rest of her herd, from a bad situation. She lived at a rescue until she was adopted. She lived in a few homes with her adoptive family until she was brought to me for training in August 2019. We got a good start on her training while working on her physical rehab and recovery from EPM. Unfortunately though, due to unforseen circumstances, her adoptive family returned her to the rescue late spring 2020. I stepped in and offered to foster her so she didn't have to go back to the rescue and could continue her training to improve her chance of getting adopted.
At the time I really did want to find her an adoptive family. I should have known it would be me who would adopt her (especially once her and River became inseparable) but I wasn't in a position to do so at the time. Things have changed over the months, and it became clear that Raven is meant to be a part of the family.
Raven and River are best of friends, and enjoy exploring the ranch together with the rest of the herd. Raven just loves to run and I frequently see her kicking up her heels, racing around the paddock for no reason other than the joy of it.
Raven's future goals include continuing to build physical strength and correct movement, while supporting her with regular bodywork and other therapies. She is so willing and eager to please, and I can really see her excelling in endurance riding one day.
The Willing Equine is located just outside of Austin, TX. We do not have a public facility that is available to visit, but we are more than happy to welcome scheduled visitors based on availability! You can contact us here.
If you are interested in our board & train program, lesson program, please take a look at our "get started" page in the menu or click here.