"The main pitfall in training is to focus on the effects rather than searching for, and changing, the causes." — Etienne Beudant
How I Got Here
I was like every other young girl, I desperately wanted a pony and begged my parents until they finally gave in and allowed me to take my first riding lessons. It started off as a summer camp, but quickly that "summer experience" turned into three lessons a week at a local hunter/jumper barn and also dressage and jumper lessons with various trainers. But that just wasn't enough, I would take every opportunity to spend more time with a horse ... any horse... just as long as it had four legs and whinnied I would ride it, groom it, hand walk it, hold it for the vet, clean its tack, muck it's stall, you name it I would do it.
My 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 I wanted to work with it. Even at summer camps I would beg to ride the hard horses. At first I thought this was because I enjoyed the challenge, but now, nearly twenty years later, I realize what I really wanted was to help these horses. Underneath all the behavioral issues I knew there was a good horse, and I wanted to find it.
Unfortunately all my instructors during those early years were limited in their knowledge of equine behavior and equine anatomy, so they often misunderstood what their horses were trying to communicate and taught me the same. Often I was instructed to use more force to make the horse get over its issues and to obey. I was taught that horses act out on purpose to be mean, malicious or difficult. This may or may not sound familiar to a lot of people, but I bet you if you really start listening to other horse people and how they talk about, train or work with horses you'll find they believe the same.
Throughout the years I've owned and worked with many horses, each of them have left a permanent bookmark in my life story with an endless list of lessons they taught me. I deeply regret how I treated many horses in my younger years, but as much as I wish I could take it back, I wouldn't be here today without all of those experiences. Without my past I would not be here today, wanting to help people help their horses.
Where I Am Today
The horsewoman I am today looks very different from the young inexperienced rider I was in the beginning. Though it has been a very long road, with many ups and downs, I'm beyond grateful for everyone of those experiences that brought me here. As well as for my incredibly supportive family, husband, and children. Without them I couldn't be doing what I'm doing today or have the dreams I have for the future.
Currently my dreams are in their infancy of coming true. With the launch of this website, YouTube channel, and the continued growth of the Instagram account that started all of this, I dream of a bright future. Each step is a building block to the unknown future. But my focus during this time is to continue to reach out to others by sharing the journey each of my horses and I are on while being still being there for my young children. And, as always, continuing to learn and educate myself in everything horses have to teach me.
One day I would like to see all of this grow into something bigger, something beyond just me and my horses. I want to inspire, create, and motivate people to take these thoughts and practices of mine and run with them. Some ideas I have are for equine and human rehabilitation centers, rescue centers, training facilities, online forums where like minded people can gather, clinics, the list goes on forever.
The future is wide open, I never know quite where it will take me no matter how I try to plan it. So I'm not going to try to control it. God will open doors, and close others. I can rest easy knowing the future is not mine to control or worry about but rather look forward to and be ready for. Still, I feel desires are given to us to inspire us. So perhaps I will see some of these come to be. Really though, if this information just helps even one person and horse it will all be worth it.
- Adele Shaw