I created Heart of Riding, LLC to serve two purposes: 1) to be a riding coach for the people who want to be deeply connected, balanced, and highly skilled riders, and 2) to help horses and their partners learn a common language, making the relationship one of partnership and mutual joy.
I am a Mary Wanless accredited Ride With Your Mind Coach, and have studied rider biomechanics (the way the rider sits and balances so the horse can move better) since 2002. I graduated from college with a degree in Equine Management with a Teaching track in 2000. Prior to that I was an average rider, riding school horses at a balance seat barn in Virginia from age 7 to college.
I am studying positive reinforcement (R+), having dabbled in it for years. I have shifted my training into R+ and all of my school horses are R+ savvy. The ability for the rider to help the horse understand and move both with their biomechanics and the power of R+ leads to horses that are bright, and eager to do the right thing. Riders can trust that, as is often the case, if their biomechanics skills are "under construction", the horse can still keep them safe by having a backup set of cues they are familiar with. For example, my school horses have a built-in "whoa" at a moment's notice that does not depend on the reins or the rider's seat.
My students make progress in leaps and bounds because of the innovative teaching methods developed by Mary Wanless, which have been proven by the likes of Heather Blitz, champion professional rider and trainer who was reserve to the US London 2012 Olympic team and 2011 Pan American Games Team Gold & Individual Silver Medalist.
The light bulb moments are THE BEST. When I can guide the learner into a discovery of a new skill or idea... There is SO MUCH to learn with horses and riding, I'm still learning myself and I've been at this for over 30 years, so in my mind it's essential to have a solid guide who's already been down that rabbit hole (there are many - I've seen the insides of a lot of them) so you can avoid it entirely 😉
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