Private Lessons and Intensives, Group workshops, Mentoring for Equine Assisted Professionals


Relationship First thru Liberty Horsemanship

…the foundation of Horse Human Connection

“One has to be observant. Watching the horse and figuring out what they are thinking or feeling. This requires feel for the horse. This feel is directly connected to passion. There is a relationship between passion and feel, just as there is a relationship between respect and friendship.” ~ George Theodorescu


“I am a better human being for having listened with my heart to what my horses have to teach me” Drea Bergquist-Bowen

Time with some of my boys.

 “Humans must learn to see and sense with the horses, as horses, not as humans” Mary Ann Simmons

Get R.E.A.L. with your horsemanship, open your heart & be with your horse, build an honest connected foundation to build your horse dreams upon.

Relationship First – learn to be with your horse instead of always doing things to or expecting something of your horse, this is a huge paradigm shift. Every social bond oriented sentient being in relationship (humans and horses are in this category) deserves to be seen for who they are as an individual, felt in a heart connection, and heard when expressing their emotions.

Empathy – for your horse and for yourself. Learn how to stay present in the moment where your horse lives naturally – sensing, feeling, and hearing yourself and your horse. This is where you will find the “feel and timing” you are seeking.

Authenticity - At the end of the day what kind of horsewoman do you really want to be? Do you remember why you brought horses into your life? Because horses are very honest communicators and humans typically are not (that isn’t always on purpose) they provide a clear, non judgmental opportunity to recognize our emotions and our reactions so we can become more congruent in our communication and create healthier relatiohships.

Leadership from the heart through liberty – learn the language of liberty and work with your horse in a way that he or she has a choice so when you get a “Yes” it is a truely a yes to be in a mutally connected relationship. We can get compliance by taking it from them (as we can in human relationships) or we can work with their nature, understand their learning cognition and capacity for deep social bonding and earn our way into a relationship that is mutually cohesive and life changing for horse and human.

My path to getting here…

After not having personal horses in my life for many years, I adopted two green 3 year old geldings and nothing that I knew from my past was working to get these boys on track.  I found one of the popular natural horsemanship methods and dedicated myself to learning and applying those handling skills. I experienced a level of  “success” that was respectable in that realm and I continued this practice in earnest for years while still travelling and learning  from a very diverse group of gifted trainers, horsemen/woman, healers, nutritionists, and equine body workers (along this path I completed certifications in reiki, animal communication, Healing Touch for Animals, and Equine Touch) and the more I experienced, the more I began seeking what I felt was missing in my relationship with my horses.

For all the people in the world who LOVE horses and who have felt the pressure of needing to ride or to ride in a certain way in order to justify your horse ownership or to “fit in” with what is expected….. I want to encourage you to find the courage to listen to your heart and go be with horses in the way that calls you. There is life changing magic to be discovered at liberty and on the ground with horses and I don’t want you to miss out on that just because you aren’t riding. Don’t let past discouragement or peer pressure around riding influence your passion for horses. You don’t have to ride to be an incredible horsewoman, to have a connection with a horse that will rock your world, and to have the supreme satisfaction of answering the call to share your heart with a horse. This type of relationship with a horse can change your life!

I have traveled along ways along what I like to call the Horsemanship Continuum with traditional training methods on the left end, natural horsemanship left of center and truly knowing and understanding the horse/human dynamic through the work of neurologists, equine ethologists and zooanthropologists on the right. I totally understand the challenges we face as horsewomen as I have faced many of them on my own journey. On the one end of the continuum I did a lot of things with and to my horses that I would never do today because I have a deeper understanding of the horse, I have a stronger sense of responsibility for how my actions affect another sentient being and I am more aware of my emotions and patterns. I know what it feels like to lose my temper and regret it. I know what it feels like to be consumed by achieving a goal and to lose touch with the cost to my horse. I know what if feels like to get caught up in peer or expert pressure and I know the feeling of being helpless to stand up for myself or my horse.

As challenging as some of those experiences were, I am grateful for the lessons and so grateful for the heart in my horses to not give up on me while I found my way. That 3 year old gelding was responsible for the beginning of my journey and today he is a valued and much loved part of my herd. He took the brunt of my learning curve and his inability or unwillingness to conform to anything less than heartfelt partnership is largely what drove me on.  Something in both of us drove us on in spite of the challenges and well meaning friends and trainers that recommended I get rid of him – deciding how committed I was going to be was part of my learning path as well and I am grateful for that challenge. I am so glad he is with us today, I cannot imagine my journey or my herd without him.

For those who are seeking a richer, deeper, more true and connected way of being with horses, what I have learned and continue to learn, is what you are looking for. It is answering the call of human and horse to create a social bond relationship that is built on trust, understanding, communication, respect and love.

I am passionate about understanding the depth of who the equine is as an animal in nature and to help people understand their horse better and in doing so, to come to know themselves better “As with all experiences in life, every horse I have ever spent time with has taught me something about them as an individual, about the depth of the equine desire to connect, about myself, or about how my old patterns of horsemanship were so focused on”doing”and “expecting” I had lost track of “being” in relationship which is where my deepest desires reside.”

My approach is a good fit if you:

  • If you are new to horses and you want to start from the beginning putting your relationship first and being a partner your horse chooses to connect with.
  • Work in the Equine Assisted Learning or Therapy fields and you want to improve your core understanding of the horse, your co-facilitator. Just as with traditional and natural horsemanship, this field can take the “relationship” from the horse or we can learn how to be in a mutually beneficial connection and model that for our clients. I think we are ethically obligated to the later.
  • Have an open mind and are willing to consider a new way of relating to your horse. I can appreciate how sometimes our open minds come as a last resort and that can be incredible inspiration for change.
  • Have become anxious or unconfident while riding or handling your horse and nothing you have tried is improving your confidence and you are committed to find a new way to enjoy your horse.
  • Have been “doing” horses for a long time and something needs to change to bring your passion back. Something just doesn’t Feel right and you aren’t sure what that is.
  • Feel your horse’s attitude, behavior, or performance has deteriorated for no “apparent” reason.
  • Are willing to drop the labels and look for a natural equine based reason and solution to the challenges you are having in your relationship. Labels are as detrimental to horses as they are for humans.
  • Are willing to embrace the idea that the horse is only part of the equation and while he/she knows how to be a horse, we not only don’t know how to think like one, many of us have learned things about the horse that are just plain not right.
  • Have a sincere desire to make the changes necessary to have the kind of relationship you dream about with your horse.
  • Have a willingness to address any health, nutrition, or physical issues that may be contributing to the challenges you are having with your horse.
  • Have a willingness to give the process of learning and changing the time it takes. Any relationship that is worth being in takes time to get to know, like, and trust each other. A bit longer when their is healing that needs to take place.
  • I am not a riding instructor – that is not my passion. Once you have your relationship working well I can help you take that relationship to the saddle, help you find your balance and to regain your confidence in yourself and your horse when under saddle and I will help you know what to look for in a riding instructor that meets your goals and protects the bond you now have with your horse.
  • I am not a “trainer,” I am more of a relationship first ‘social bond behaviorist’ and the foundation I build starts on the ground at liberty. I will help you learn how horses learn and think and how you can shape and connect with your horse as it relates to bonding, confidence, safety and building a solid relationship that you can go forward with. I will help you be confident in how to choose a trainer that is in the best interest of your relationship with your horse should you have goals beyond recreational enjoyment.

“If your horse can’t say no then the yes you get is not real, he has no choice” Robin Gates