Tarpan 20 yrs
Rocky is descendent from a linage of Tarpan, wild European horses that are sometimes imported to this country to be in zoos. Due to some strange events, he ended up in the private sector, being sold as a Fjord. Rocky was the Zen Master who gave me the key to unlocking the door of Horse Speak. Without him, none of this would have been possible.
Luna is the baby of the herd. She has a special bond with Rocky. Luna is silly but also likes doing exercises perfectly. She is very compassionate with small children and people with special needs. I call her the Joker of the herd, because she is always trying to make people laugh!
Zeke is the newest addition to our herd and we are happy to have him! From preforming as a circus horse, to working as a school riding horse, and then later working as a therapy horse, Zeke has done it all. He's now retired and his main job is to be beautiful. He loves people and is always one of the first horses in our herd to introduce himself. One of his favorite activities is to escape into the woods and blaze his own trails.
Gretchen can simply think about what she is going to do with the mare and get a reply. When she modeled her zero to the gelding, he practically fell asleep. He would bounce up and down with her levels and zero return as if he had puppet strings attached to his neck and head. While going somewhere in hand she could turn her center in front of him to get a half halt. Then, as she would go to zero, he would literally slump in his body and drop his head to the ground. The mare would also half haltif Gretchen held her breath for a moment but her response to zero was not as dramatic. While the gelding has always been a friendly cuddle, the mare is finally rewarding Gretchen’s efforts by allowing some affection. Gretchen sometimes wonders if the horses regard HER as THEIR crash test dummy.
Appaloosa/Thoroughbred 15 years old
Dakota is a little "firecracker." When I selected her from the farm she came from, there were about 35 other horses there at the time. When a fellow horse-owner asked "Which horse did you buy?" her face turned from excitement to worry as soon as she found out it was Dakota. However, she was eager for me to take her home so no one there would have to deal with her antics anymore!
Even at 15 and half blind, Dakota is my little engine that could. Don't let the spots fool you, she believes she is a Lipizzaner!
Morgan 9 yrs
We like to joke that Mama Horse's lowest speed is trot. She is notoriously hard to catch so students always feel a sense of accomplishment when they can catch her in a grassy field. Mama was adopted from a rescue and we have worked with her a lot to overcome her PTSD reactions and phobias. Mama used to be afraid of people, but she has made huge gains in the past year, and now she is the example horse in workshops, classes, on trail rides and taking jumps. She manages to look beautiful no matter what and has the warmest heart and sweetest temperament.
Quarter Horse/Thoroughbred 7 yrs
Jag is one of the most loving animals we have ever met! Her favorite thing to do is have fun! She loves racing Dakota with riders up the hill behind our house. Jag didn't have an easy start to life. She was a PMU (pregnant mare urine) foal, and she was considered a byproduct in the production of Premarin. Laura Wilsie adopted her shortly after and they have been best friends ever since. Jag gets along very well with other animals and even lets one of our cats ride on her back! She loves people and likes to stand around a fire with us on summer nights while we roast marshmallows.
Gretchen Vogel began as my client, when she and her husband contacted me to help with their mare Parvati (a.k.a. Karma). In just a couple of weeks after meeting Gretchen quit her job and has dedicated all of her time to writing Giving Horses a Voice.
While she was writing this book with me she would go out to her own two really different horses and test the ideas. Her husband’s horse-Clark is a beginners gelding, affectionate and under reactive although somewhat insecure. Gretchen’s mare-Image, is from a rescue, a tough nut with opinions about everything. The gelding can be stoic and needs a two to three pressure before he will react. Ironically, the mare, who is the more difficult horse in general to work with, only needs a level one or less pressure.