I’ve had horses on and off since I was a kid. Several years back I wanted to take my daughter riding & was surprised to find so few venues where this was possible. The place where we ended up riding walked us in a line & had people on the ground walking along side us. Afterward I couldn’t shake how disappointed I was in how limited that ride was. So I started researching around.
I’d never interacted much with others in the equestrian community before starting this business. I just had my one horse & did my thing with him & never really wanted for more than that. What I came to realize, and not to step too hard on anyone’s toes, was that I don’t much like “horse people.” As a general rule (and in my opinion) they seem to make equestrian stuff a lot harder than it has to be. Between being entirely too particular about their horses and way peculiar about people interacting with their horses I just decided I wasn’t going to be about that life. I presume it has everything to do with the competition or show life or whatever. I was just never a fan of locking a horse in a stall & only letting them out occasionally rather than letting them be horses. Horse people always seem to be so protective & particular about their animals that they (again, my opinion) don’t allow them to be horses. They either keep them hemmed up in a stall or separated in an individual pasture. They’re quick to make every environment the horse is exposed to calm & quiet and end up sheltering the horse to the point that they get easily spooked & sometimes become quite a handful.
Put simply, horses are easy if you understand them. They are herd animals. They’re social & affectionate. Horses are prey animals & in being so they’re prone to flight when they get frightened but the key to addressing this is exposure. I remember once at a horse event, there was a woman standing by the port-a-potty’s fussing at everyone who let their door slam because her horse was in the arena & she didn’t want the noise to spook it. Obviously this is a bit extreme but it’s indicative of “horse people” mentality.
Our philosophy is simple. We let our horses be horses. We don’t separate them. Ever. We quarantine new arrivals obviously but in general we allow them to live as a herd. There are bite marks & kick marks here & there but that’s just horsey normal. They have to establish & enforce their hierarchy so we let them. Its proven widely successful no less. When we trail train a horse we have them face everything that scares them: Dogs, ponds, creeks, odd movements, other horses, people & even gun shots. We exercise a profound amount of patience & repetitive persistence. We do not let clients ride our horses on the trail until they (the horse) have gone through our paces & are deemed “bomb proof.”
I’ll give you an example of the payoff of our repetitive persistence perspective: A night time parade. 20-30 horses lined up to fall into the procession toward the end. 30 or so minutes of waiting our turn with marching bands, blaring music & fire truck sirens making all kinds of noise. Lots of horses started freaking out, getting unruly, nervous & acting out. Most of them had to be dismounted & walked around to settle them down. We had three of ours there as well. They stood still with our riders mounted & watched the procession pass by. Several other riders commented to us about how calm our horses were & how impressive it was. To me it instilled a sense of pride because we hadn’t done any special training or lessons. We just consistently expose our animals to life & remind them that all that noise & ruckus isn’t about them. They trust us to keep them safe & we trust them to behave & take care of us as riders.
Every dime that is earned through our guided trail rides, horse transports, and boarding stays on the farm to care for the animals. Every animal on that farm is a rescue from one place or another & our model is to fatten them up, train them under saddle & have them earn their keep in some capacity. We make zero profit from them. I don’t use any of my personal salary toward that farm. The work that the horses do being ridden on the trails support them 100%. We’re not a “horse rescue”… all of our horses just happen to be rescues. If you would like to donate to our farm, click here. 100% of it will go to the care of the animals. If you don’t use PayPal just send us a message & we can e-mail you an invoice for your donation.
We have a simplistic approach to a minimalist lifestyle and we enjoy making lasting relationships in the community we serve. If you’ll give us a chance, we’ll do right by you every time.
Looking forward to seeing you out on the trails,
Derrick Miles, Owner