Susan Gordon – Co-Author of Compassionate Equestrian

Podcast Show Notes

Equine Business Builder, Laura Kelland-May, horse business, horse podcast
Susan Gordon – Co-Author of Compassionate Equestrian

Could you tell us a bit about what you do?  

I refer to myself as a “retired” trainer, although I am not officially retired from anything! I am heavily involved in everything I love to do, which includes continuing to ride for one client at a private home, pursue photography and art, and run. I race competitively and am currently preparing for two upcoming track meets. As well, I have a show of photography and paintings going up next week for the month of August at our local library.

How did you get started with your product/book/ riding?  

The book came about after several decades in the equine industry. My riding obsession began as a junior with a grade mare in the little town of Williams Lake, B.C., famous for its Stampede. Prior to acquiring my own horse, I was dragging my Mom to the pony rides in Vancouver’s Stanley Park as a youngster. That’s where I really got hooked on horses. I loved to study horse training and got my hands on as many books as I could, as well as reading magazines. “Horse & Rider” was my go-to mag in the early days. I was 14 years old and boarding my Appaloosa filly at a mixed-use, primarily Quarter-horse show barn in Calgary when I was introduced to jumping. I eventually sold my Western tack and switched over to English. In 1977 and 1978, Spruce Meadows started coming to our barn’s schooling shows. I approached Mrs. Southern and was fortunate enough to have her allow me to move my newly-acquired Appaloosa colt to the now-famous facility. I turned professional in 1983, after moving back to B.C. I was running an eventing barn with my ex-husband, whom I had met at Spruce Meadows. Soon afterward, I was hired by the late Michael Patrick to ride for him at Pine Meadows in Aldergrove. The Compassionate Equestrian is the cumulative result of all those experiences, and my personal journey through the joys and disappointments of riding and training as a professional. It is also a statement regarding some of the changes of heart and awareness I would like to see take place in riders that I believe would have a very positive effect on many riders of all ages, and hopefully the industry as a whole.

What do you think is the number one thing holding back people from doing what they want to do? 

Listening to other people, who—for some reason that usually stems from their own experiences and limitations—tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t be doing something. Yes, you must be realistic, but if you operate based solely on the opinions of others, especially if they have made you feel as though you’re doing something wrong when you know you aren’t, or are simply working toward becoming better, then a good practice of self-compassion is highly recommended. Remove the toxic people from your life.

Confidence is so important, and that confidence is conveyed through your product or skill. People appreciate authenticity more so than ever these days too. There is so much “noise” in the average person’s world, it is hard to find the appropriate balance between promoting oneself and skills/products, yet not becoming one of those annoying spammers whose posts and e-mails get deleted before being read.

There are popular clinicians and authors who travel consistently and I think it becomes a very wearying thing for them to carry on with at some point. The costs and cumbersome details of travel, especially internationally, have become prohibitive, and justifying costs against profits can be a challenge. I’ve chosen to promote The Compassionate Equestrian primarily through social networking rather than personal travel. It has been interesting to keep a close eye on trends via the multitude of online groups, individuals, and businesses related to the equine industry, all over the world. The book is meant to have a global reach, and technology allows us to have that reach very quickly.

How did you come up with your idea for your book?  

I had given up on teaching and training after 2 major issues arose while I was in Arizona. One, being climate change, and the other, the economic crash of 2008. Between the ever-increasing strength of the wind and dust storms and unusually high heat (even for Arizona), and the fact that some clients could no longer afford lessons, I eventually gave up. I went to film school in Vancouver with the intention to make a documentary about the plight of off-track thoroughbreds. My instructor encouraged me to look into the “dark side” of racing and the ultimate horrific demise of many ex-racehorses. The process led me to a woman who was very well versed in the industry and gave me a lot of insight into the backstories behind the slaughter issue. I was mortified, and realized I would need a huge legal team to go ahead with the documentary. So I shelved it. Then I made an exploratory trip to Salt Spring Island, just of the coast west of Vancouver, and ended up staying in a house that was owned by a client in the U.S. It was for sale, so it was a fortuitous set of circumstances that allowed me to stay there for the past 3 years, writing The Compassionate Equestrian. The idea flowed out of my desire to make the film, but quickly turned to thoughts of a book after I met Dr. Schoen on the island. We had very similar feelings about the state of horses, showing, and training from our personal perspectives and backgrounds, so our dialogues just worked out in a manner that was conducive to what became a rather lengthy tome.

What do you think is the number 1 reason people succeed when others don’t?  

Focus and willpower. I always told my students that if you want to do well at something, you have to do it a lot. It also helps to have an inspiring and very experienced mentor, which was most certainly the case in the form of my first riding instructor, the late Senior Judge and TD, Margaret Ellard of Calgary. My determination and perseverance with the horses, in spite of not being wealthy, is what got me through every situation I faced during my career. I knew I had been taught well, which got me through down times and criticism from others.

What was one of the major “roadblocks” you experienced when you set out on your journey?

As a trainer, I had only my reputation to work with, and the fact that I was riding for one of the continent’s top equitation stars. My own horses had to be sold due to limited expenses, including a fantastic young Hanoverian that would have been good enough to take to Grand Prix. I knew I was still learning, but appreciated every opportunity to ride Michael’s horses. They had a feel unlike any others I had ridden, and it was due to his talent that instilled an extraordinary jump even in a horse that may not have jumped so well under a different rider.

As for the book, there wasn’t much of a roadblock to the process. The words seemed to emerge without constraint and before I knew it, I had a much larger manuscript than anticipated. Coordinating times to get together for discussions with my busy veterinarian coauthor was probably the biggest challenge due to his active practice in New York and Connecticut. We made all the deadlines however, as once again, that focus and perseverance I was taught early in my career as a rider paid off!

What was the big “a-ha” moment when you knew you overcame one of the major roadblocks?  

I knew my own talent as a rider was confirmed when I won two gold medals in show jumping in the B.C. Summer Games in 1983 on a little b-track Thoroughbred mare who had failed in her second career as a cutting horse. She sold right after the Games, and then Michael approached me to ride at his barn. It was an opportunity I leapt at. Not having a top show jumper of my own did not seem to matter at the time, as I had done enough with a horse that was literally handed to me as a project only a year prior. She was so difficult nobody else enjoyed riding her, so it was a huge breakthrough for me to overcome the feeling that I needed a more extensive background with my own horses before being accepted into a top A-Circuit show barn as a professional.

STAY TUNED FOR PART 2 – Where Susan Gordon gives some equitation tips.



Episode 004 – Emily Wolff – Heart to Hand Equine Massage

Would like to welcome Emily Wolff of Heart to Hand Equine Massage

Show Notes:

I’d like to thank Emily Wolff of Heart to Hand Equine Massage for coming into the studio or rather On Zoom.us today.  Would like to thank you for coming to Equine Business Builders and I’d like to ask you to explain a little bit about what you do!

Thank you so much for having me. I think it is so good to collaborate and share our knowledge and that sense of community is always so important. So I am so happy to do it.

Heart to Hand Equine Massage is exactly what it sounds like. I’m an Equine Massage Thereapist. I work on a range of horses everything and every different industry. From riding horses to the standard bred industry, thoroughbreds, heavy horses, pleasure horses and a lot of ponies to.  I work on the soft tissue of the body and I’ve grown my business over the past few years and have included dogs, and recently went back to school to work on my human co-workers.

I like what you said when you said you could see the horses issues because the riders were crooked and stiff and sore. You’ve gone full circle. You realized that you could make the horses better by helping the riders. You can make the horse more comfortable and straight but if the rider gets on it and the rider is crooked then the horse will still be crooked. So you have gone full circle there.

That is right. I realized that was happening to myself when all of my horses  had a difficulty in exactly the same way. I was the common denominator there. It wasn’t that they were all crooked the same way… it was me!

I block them a bit with that shoulder. And I don’t use the shoulder on the same on both sides. So my horses, unfortunately, have difficulty softening and bending to the left, which is my stiff side.

That is so valuable. People need to hear that!

I haven’t done any formal studies on that. You know it even shows up on the driving horses.

So if the driver has a stiff shoulder or back the horses will have resistance as well?

Yes, it will usually show up in the neck, middle of the neck or the poll. With the drivers with an uneven hip or something, with their feet braced in the stirrups out in front of them, they are getting uneven pressure throughout their body as well. Those horses have such big hearts, they are just pulling through it and compensating with their body.

This is one thing that I am amazed by every time, when I put my hands on a horse and examining the tissue, “how is this horse doing its job?” And it is quite happy to do is job. It does it every day and every time. I have such respect and such compassion for the horses because I think, they’re just trying to do what we’re asking them.

If they are not doing what we want, we are not asking them the right way.

How did you get started with your riding?

I got started as a little, little girl. I may have been riding the sheep in the barn yard!

They had this really long hair you could really hold onto.

My riding career began pretty early. When I was in my late teens, I had the opportunity to work with an amazing woman in the Ottawa area, Fiona Henderson, she really taught me a lot about natural horsemanship, to see the horse a little bit differently. It set my heart on fire. I loved being in the barn and outside and the lifestyle of horses. I had never, you know, I had never looked at it from a different perspective. That there was more available to us.

I got a job working at a hunter/jumper barn on the “A” circuit in Toronto. We travelled and showed and we had some nice national level horses and some World Cup horses. I was so fortunate because not only my riding, riding nice quality horses, but by riding a lot of different horses my riding progressed.

Exponentially right?

And getting on all different types of horses. And the learning curve to. That industry, is tough, we’d travel and show every week.

And it’s not 9-5 either. Its 5 am till midnight or whatever it takes. If you have a  sick horse you have to be there. Getting ready to go to a horse show. It’s a tough lifestyle that particular lifestyle.

Absolutely. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. We did long days and sometimes at the end of the day, sometimes at the end of the day having a paycheck at the end of the day wasn’t the biggest motivation. My motivation was to make sure I am doing a good job for the horses. Especially being a groom at a top level show barn you have to do what ever it takes to do the best for them. Whether it is travelling with them, flying with them. The long days, the long nights and early mornings you have to have a really good primary purpose. And a really good team. It is such a community. You spend so much time together, your day and your evening not just the horses but the other grooms, and trainers.

I like what you say about it being a whole team. You have to depend on each other to make it work.

Do you have some new and upcoming projects on the horizon?

Right now I am working on some videos. Some stretching videos. I find I am doing the same stretches over with each of the owners. It doesn’t matter how strong we are we still have to stretch. Tissue works its best when it is strong in a long position or in a short position. So often we ride in the same way all the time. The horses need to have that range of motion that is what keeps the joints happy. So that is where I am headed.  

Visit Emily’s Web Page – Heart to Hand Equine Massage – Heart to Hand Equine Massage

Do you have a website?

Yes EmilyRMT.com

Emily R-M-T Registered Massage Therapist.


Are the videos up yet?

No not yet. We started last year and we ran into the winter!

What is your driving force that keeps you going to do a good job?

This is a great question it is so important to have a really big “why”. To have a really big primary purpose. Right now I am getting up at four in the morning to head out to Guelph to work on the horses before they go out for their workout. My every day I wake up and I am say, “why am I doing this?” And for me I want to help the horses. I have gotten so much from them for caring for them and taking care of them I want to give back. I want to give back. That is what gets me up. I think for anybody who is interested in this business and working with horses it is important they have a really clear “why”.

I like what you said before, it isn’t really about how much money you have at the end of the day, although that is nice to, particularly if you are in business, you have to pay the bills and buy your food and support yourself. I like where you said you want to give back. You have your why of supporting the horses so they can feel better and so they can work better and perform their jobs better. It’s not just about the money.

Yes. For me, getting into massage and getting into equine massage and becoming an RMT it was a lot of work. I had a really clear vision of what I wanted to look like and where I was going.  I set some pretty big goals and some pretty clear dreams and focus. So I think that is the second part. You have to have a really clear why and a really clear direction.

You have to have a plan. You are starting here and you want to get there. You have to plan out all the stuff in the middle right?


I’m sure there are other massage therapists. How do you rise above and make yourself different than the others out there?

Great question. I think becoming an RMT was part of that.

You can do the full circle thing. You can get the riders in there as well. Do you have horse and rider programs. For example your horse is stiff here so you should do this to yourself.

I don’t currently but I always like to bring it up. I like the humans to be in charge of their own healthcare. Now, if someone suggests to them it may be their tight right shoulder, I will recommend that they come see me or will recommend someone in their area.

Having that community I can recommend to is important. If they are not close to me I will recommend someone close to them.

I think it is important to do both, although not everyone likes to be told what to do. I really keep my focus working on the horses. Doing a good job there.

Doing strengthening programs are so important because often with a tight muscle, they develop a weakness, it won’t be fixed right away because the muscle isn’t strong in that way. Having a strengthening program, some tools, a follow up. It is not always just one massage.

So I think building and having integrity in the relationship with the owner as well as the horse is what sets me apart from the others.

Being there, being available, communicating, following up, touching base, seeing the horse at the horse show. That follow up is essential to all of that.

That is very interesting.

We talked a bit about this before we started recording, about how we are involved in the horse industry because we love horses and sometimes we forget it is a business and I like were you said, you do the follow up and you keep in contact with the owners and the horses and touching base with people so you are available for them.

That is an integral part of the business isn’t it? Keeping tabs on your clients making sure they are ok.

Yes absolutely. I’ll often think of a horse and I will touch base that way.

I think business skill is one of those things you can never know enough about business. It doesn’t matter what you are doing. Business skills are the most invaluable skill you can learn. Even if it is something simple, it doesn’t matter what you are doing business skill are important.

You have had the opportunity Emily to develop yourself, grow yourself and develop a really good business. What do you think is the number one thing holding people back from doing what they want to do? You had a really clear idea, it’s quite clear from speaking with you that you knew where you wanted to go and what you wanted to do, but what do you think is holding other people back from having their dream job like what you are doing?

That’s a loaded question isn’t it?

Yes it is a loaded question. I had no idea I liked working with people until about half way through my RMT course. I didn’t necessarily like the interaction with people. I had a really big why that got me through that first half of school. My primary purpose was to help the horses more. I had a really clear reason why. It gave me direction all the time. Every step of the way it has given me direction. Whether it is what course to choose or how to build my website, where to put my focus during the month, the week or the day. It think that is what got me through school.

It turns out I really like working with people though, it’s good. If I hadn’t of had the clear focus; I had a really amazing woman in my life and she just told me, she said, “you should always be setting goals. Set a really big goal for yourself and then set 3 unrealistic goals.

So set a big goal and three unrealistic goals.

Ya! So something to work towards and then three things you think you could never accomplish. And put them on the list. I think that is what gave me the push to go outside of my comfort zone. That was the greatest gift I have gotten in a long time; to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and think “I can’t do that”, or “I don’t think I am worth it”, or “I don’t really like that”, I had a clear focus, I wanted to help the horses, so, If i didn’t like something and if I knew it was going to help the horses, I pushed myself outside of the comfort zone, to learn how.

You didn’t mind doing it because it was your “end game”.

Yes! So many of us get comfortable, where we are at with our riding, comfortable with our own aches and pains, to push past that a little bit to see if there might be a different way to do things, right?

My sister says, “Write your obituary and work backwards from there”. That is kind of a neat tool right?

Right! What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want people to be saying about you at your funeral? It is kind of morbid thing to think about but …

It comes back to having a very clear primary purpose, a really clear focus and a really big “why”. Goal setting and reaching toward your dreams that is what got me here.

We talked about some of your successes. Can you tell us about one of your not so big successes, a flop.

I’ve definitely had some flops.

Okay we will just restrict it to one!

I think, not trusting myself.

That is so huge. Not trusting yourself.

Do you mean not thinking you are doing any good.

The horses pick up on that in 5 seconds. They take one look at you and think, well you don’t know what you are doing. If I just trust myself, horses respond to such small amount of treatment, they respond so well to even a light touch, I have to get out of the way in order to help them.

The times I have failed I was definitely in the way. Either I was thinking about something else or wasn’t focused on what I was doing and got kicked. Or I was trying to do a good job with the owner and didn’t do a very good job taking care of the horse.

Myself getting in the way.

What do you think people in the equine business, any equine business, what do you think the biggest set back is with people who are doing their own equine business? What is the biggest set back people have. We have mentioned a few, self doubt, not setting goals, primary purpose. What do you think a big set back is for people starting out?

I think when you are starting out hearing “no” is intimidating. It takes a lot of “no”s to be successful. If you are just starting out, you have to put in the time and the effort, I did a lot of free massages, gift certificates, putting in the time and showing up at events, and just talking to people and putting in the time and the energy. If your intention is in the right place then it will definitely work out.


We are getting to repeat ourselves a bit here. What is the number one reason why some people succeed when others don’t?

I think some people succeed, and I’m going to say it one more time, they have a really big reason why. They trust that feeling and they go with it. And they don’t listen to what other people tell them, or what other people say. They kind of lead with their heart. With horses that is the most effective way to treat them.

A big reason why.

So, along your way, what were some of the major road blocks you encountered when you set out?

Focus too much on my office and not getting out there and talking to people. I’d spend all day at the computer and wonder why I wasn’t out there earning a living.

Road blocks are just opportunities to learn.

That is so good. Roadblocks are just opportunities to learn.

What was one of the major “a-ha” moments when you knew you had overcome that roadblock?Once you got your office all set up and your computer all set up, what was that big a-ha moment when you realized Hey-I better get out there and do something.

The second massage I gave on a horse. So, I gave him a massage and still a little bit unsure. I went back 3 days later, just to check his progress and it was an entirely different horse. He was happy, he was eating. It looked like he had gained 200 pounds. He was standing squarer in his back end, he had a nice shine to his coat. That was the moment I knew I had to get out of my own way because what I was doing was helping. Just that reassessment. Have another look and follow up.

Trusting in yourself that you are doing the right thing.

Horses every step of the way, even when I didn’t trust myself, horses are such good communicators, they are going to let you know. Even if it is subtle, taking a deep breath, or a sigh, or something more intimate. I just try to listen to the horse is trying to tell me, I will always have success. The more I can get out of the way the more I can listen to what they have to say. That is the biggest skill I’ve had is listening. If I don’t know what I am doing i just stop and take a step back and wait for the horse to give me some clues. They might give me some clues, give me some signs. They may reach around and scratch themselves. They are really good communicators.

Please continue onto part 2 of Emily’s interview.



Episode 003 – Interview With Randi Thompson of Horse & Rider Awareness

Special Guest Randi Thompson of Horse and Rider Awareness and How to Market Your Horse Business

Show Notes – We had so much fun talking I have shared this over three posts! 

Part 1 – Click here 

Part 1-B – Click here

Part 2 – Click here

Could you tell us a bit about what you do?  Horses and the horse people

Laura Kelland-May, Equine Business Builders,
Randi Thompson

who come with them have taught me so much about life and making choices and decisions as I keep re inventing myself.  Currently I am focused on what I am doing with the Horse and Rider Awareness Educational programs which include How to Market Your Horse Business, the work I do in the legal world as an expert witness and consultant, and my local clients who ride and compete. Continue reading “Episode 003 – Interview With Randi Thompson of Horse & Rider Awareness”

Dr Schoen Interview Part 2 – Equitation Tips

Dr. Schoen Interview Part 2 – Equitation Tips!

Why is good equitation or riding well, so important?

Equine Business Builder, Horse Podcast, Laura Kelland May
Dr. Allen Schoen, Co-Author of The Compassionate Equestrian

Good equitation or riding is one of the keys to connecting with your horse in a more loving, compassionate way and thereby preventing many of the health problems and lameness that veterinarians end up treating.

What is the biggest challenge you see people are struggling with their equitation?

I sense that one of the greatest challenges again is not coming from a deep sense of compassion for their horse and themselves. If one has a busy mind, distracted, not centered on the moments with their horse and what is best for both of them, then one can easily become distracted by countless other things.

What are some tips you could give RIGHT NOW to help people listening to either prevent, stop or correct the problem?

I would say that incorporating the key principles of the Compassionate Equestrian approach could help riders and their horses more than anything else. For example, simply taking 10 minutes before interacting with your horse and quieting ones heart and mind and creating a time of quiet focused intention could be of more benefit than anything else. Neuroscience now shows us that simply taking 10 minutes each day to focus on compassion for all beings can change our brains and our heart.

That is the foundation for both preventing and correcting so many problems.

If we do not transform our thoughts, our hearts and our minds, we may simply be putting temporary band-aids on problems.  I invite everyone to read “The Compassionate Equestrian” and see how incorporating some of these simple approaches to their own health and happiness can make their horses and themselves healthier and happier. Integrating these approaches will improve their equitation skills as well as helping themselves, their horses, their friends and families and expand out even further to be of benefit to all beings and the world community.  This is what we are seeing from horse lovers who are integrating these approaches into their lives.

Thank you for inviting me on your program and to share the insights we are sharing in “The Compassionate Equestrian”. I invite you all to become part of the compassionate equestrian movement through thecompassionateequestrian.com that my co-author, Susan Gordon facilitates.  May your choices and actions be of benefit to all beings!

Thank you Laura and let me know if this addresses what you would like to discuss. Talk soon,

Dr. Allen Schoen Co-Author of The Compassionate Equestrian

Podcast Show Notes

1. Could you tell us a bit about what you do?

Dr. Allen Schoen, Equine Business Builder, Laura Kelland May, Horse Jobs
Dr. Allen Schoen Co-Author of the Compassionate Equestrian

I am a pioneer in integrative, holistic veterinary medicine , author, social entrepreneur and am currently developing more compassionate approaches to animal health care.

To read more about Dr. Allen Schoen, please visit his author site.  Or you can visit DrSchoen.com.

2. How did you get started with your product/book/ riding?

Along the journey in my continuing exploration of the question “What is Ultimate Healing?” for all beings, I was beginning to feel that any new approach to animal health care was almost like putting a band-aid on the Titanic, so to speak. Through various personal experiences I felt that the key create a deeper, more permanent healing of animals was to help heal the hearts and minds of human caretakers of our animal companions.

Through various synchronicities, I came to the realization that developing a compassionate heart and mind was the essence of creating a more compassionate, healthier, happier world. I was working on a book for all animal lovers when Susan Gordon, a holistic horse trainer approached me about creating a film and or book on a more compassionate approach to horses. Together, we discussed our different perspectives as a holistic integrative veterinarian and a horse trainer and felt that the combination could be of benefit to horses and their human caretakers.

3. What do you think is the number one thing holding back people from doing what they want to do?

These days, it seems there are endless ways that one can so easily become distracted. I sense that distraction from ones passion keeps everyone so busy. I call it “busy mind traffic”.

If one takes time to create times of quiet focused intention” and quiet themselves inside for a period of time each day, then one can come from a clearer place inside regarding what they would like to do. I would say that quieting the mind and heart is the key thing that holds people back from what they want to do.

For example you have a great product – why do you think people are not “going for it”?

Everyone is so busy and easily distracted by endless social media, endless to do lists, and they go from one distraction to another, ignoring one of the most important things in life, loving kindness and compassion for all beings. One of my favorite sayings when offering workshops is “One fills their life with distractions until they die, unless they wake up”. Every choice we make is an opportunity to create more distraction in our lives or to wake up. The choice is ours in each and every moment.

For example you are travelling and working and riding? What is the biggest set back that people face when trying to do what you do?

The biggest set back seems to be our busy mind traffic and endless to do lists. Becoming clear on what your passion is, what you would most like to do to be of benefit to the world and focusing your attention on that will create a foundation for your passion to manifest.

4. How did you come up with your idea for your book?

the Compassionate Equestrian, Laura kelland may, Equine Business Builders, horse jobs
The Compassionate Equestrian

I was working on a book like “The Compassionate Equestrian”, for all animal lovers based on my experiences and asking myself what the next step on my exploration of what is ultimate healing, and then Susan Gordon introduced herself to me and said she would like to do something like that for horses. Through long discussions, “The Compassionate Equestrian” unfolded.

5. What do you think is the number 1 reason people succeed when others don’t?

I would say one needs to have a vision, a passion for what they want to do and then the persistence to create it despite obstacles along the way.

6. What was one of the major “roadblocks” you experienced when you set out on your journey?

I realized that it could be quite a challenge to help people look at themselves and their lives with a more expansive view of how they might want to be of benefit to all beings. Sometimes, that question is not asked. If one does not ask the right questions, when will not come up with the right answers. Having people explore these deeper questions in the midst of our busy lives and busy minds can be quite challenging. Creating “The Compassionate Equestrian Movement” based on the 25 principles in the book takes time, focus and effort. I am pleased to see how many equestrians are reading the book, recognizing the essence of our message and shifting their perspective and approach to create a more compassionate equestrian community and through that helping to make the world a happier, healthier place for all beings.

7. What was the big “a-ha” moment when you knew you overcame one of the major roadblocks?

When I listened to my deep, silent inner voice and knew deep in my heart, that the approaches we discuss in “The Compassionate Equestrian” were the keys to ultimate healing and to help horses, horse lovers and the world.


Thank you for inviting me on your program and to share the insights we are sharing in “The Compassionate Equestrian”. I invite you all to become part of the compassionate equestrian movement through thecompassionateequestrian.com that my co-author, Susan Gordon facilitates. May your choices and actions be of benefit to all beings!

Interview with Joyce Chartier from ChoyceLLC and Choyce Party Ponies

Our guest is is Joyce Chartier from Choyce LLC and Choyce Party Ponies. How are you doing today Joyce?
Where are you located first of all?
I have two different locations both in Florida, one on the East Coast, the Treasure Coast area specifically Palm City, Florida. and then I have my West Coast of Florida division, which is based in San Antonio Florida.

Excellent.. so you run both businesses from where  you are located. right now?
I run them both from San Antonio.

Do you have a webpage/website that people can find you.

I have two webpages one is Choyce Ponies and I spell it funny because my name is Joyce and my ponies are Choice. It’s C – H – O -Y as in  yellow, C – E ponies PON IES .com and my second website  is ChoyceLLC .com. ChoycePonies.com and ChoyceLLC.com, they can find you there to find out some more in-depth stuff about your businesses.

Tell us a little bit about what you do and what your businesses are.

My one business is my main business I started twenty years ago and that was my pony party business and that is my East Coast business. I don’t do pony parties on the West Coast and that is one reason why I have 2 different websites. One website is more my East Coast website and then the ChoyceLLC website is my West Coast website– one is primarily doing trail rides because that’s more what I enjoy and what I specialize in and it’s how I reshaped my business when I moved to the West Coast. I then went three years ago.

What are some of the big trail rides you do on the West Coast.

Usually my big ride in the Osceola wagon train and trail  ride, which is in the central part of Florida and Osceola County and that one I try to do every year. This for the first time I did the Cracker Trail Ride  that I haven’t done for probably ten years. I was thrilled to be able to do that and then the big ride  that I did this year was the great Florida cattle  drive sixteen. I did the  cattle drive in two thousand six and then I had the opportunity to do it again in two thousand and sixteen. I was an outfitter for the ride. I had a total of sixteen horses at that ride.

So Outfitter for that ride you provide  horses tack, equipment, yes. And you get to the trail and then meet up with the people prior to it. they get that require that you know it. in fact, when I did the package it was with the inclusion of one ride so that they can get to know my horses and get to know me and now I did not guarantee them that that was the horse they would get  but at least they had an idea what my horses were like. I got a chance to assess their  riding abilities, and then I could kind of get an idea of where I needed to place some in which horse they needed to be on.

You must have spent a long time combing the countryside for quality horses that can be used and ridden by people. Ya, that and then I have my old steady standbys that one of them is my “Luke” horse, and  took someone out on the ride this year that prior to me meeting him. he had been on a horse twice in his life.

It’s more than just going out to a trail ride I mean these are significant overnight rides right? Ya, ya. This was a week long camping moving our campsite every day, loading up all of our equipment into a trailer. I got called in at the last minute to be the trail boss, the circle boss for the blue group which was on the West Coast of Florida. We had some people that had to be called out due to illness, and I was the third person. I said I would do it.

So I had eighty one people in my group. Including my group of fifteen riders so that may the logistics a lot more difficult at that point. So with eighty one people you were organized logistics for the horses with people all the equipment.  You know, because I was the person that put out the fires and I was liaison between the head honchos and people, and so I was trying to help them out.

I was required to have two trucks and trailers one to move all of the feed that hay in the grain for the horses, and then the other one was to remove all of the equipment and people had brought with them to camp all of their tents, their clothes all that kinda stuff.

So not just riding but all the logistics and coordination of it as well.

Yes, absolutely.

That sounds like a very large undertaking.  I did the ride in two thousand six I did the ride and you know I’ve been going to meetings, but I certainly had no idea about what all of the logistics were really until probably the second day of when I’d actually accepted that I was going to do it. It was quite an quite an experience. It was totally fabulous. I had a great bunch of people who supported me in this, the mistakes I made where the mistakes that were made and we got it all sorted out in the end. And are you going to do it this year?

We are hoping for another opportunity in twenty twenty one when we will celebrate five hundred years of Ponce de Leon bringing horses and cattle and pigs and goats to the state of Florida.

That is interesting. Let’s talk a bit about you. How did you get started with your riding.

I started when I was little. I started riding with a friend of mine.

I started out on a rocking horse and I rode as a kid on a dairy. We use hay string bridles, because none of the Cowboys that were there would let us use any of their proper equipment. And then I didn’t ride again until I was seventeen years old. Again it is at a dairy.

I was riding a three -year-old buckskin Appaloosa that would be going along for two or three or four hours and then all of a sudden get a wild hair and buck  me off and then I’d be walking. Then went and took lessons and learned how to ride and then I started training horses and then I started teaching riders.

So you started riding in Florida? Yes.

And I am going to take a stab here and say Western type riding.

Oh well, mostly bareback because, like I say they wouldn’t let us use any of their equipment. We would literally take hay sting and make bridles out of it and put it on the horses and ride the horses with hay string bridles.

When you got these hay string bridles and you just got on the horses so you talking cowboys, they must have been real ranches you were riding at.

They were dairys actually just the wildest thing. That is another topic for another podcast.

How did you come up with your idea for ChoyceLLC and ChoycePartyPonies?

Twenty years ago I was involved in 4-H and I was learning how to teach and I was also involved with the horsemanship safety Association, which Betty Bennett Talbot was the originator and the director of that. And I learned how to teach from her in her clinics.

At the time I was also involved in 4-H and we were doing pony rides in the park in Okeechobee every year is a fundraiser for the 4-H and out of that find them and call them up and ask them to give parties.  They would be like we don’t want to do parties at people’s houses. The person at the time running the 4-H club was like someone called me to bring ponies to a party and I don’t do that.  But maybe you  might want to. At that time I had one pony and I had my daughter, who was then four years old. I took her and her pony, Buttercup, and I walked around in circles with Buttercup doing pony rides for two hours and then at the end Tiffany did a riding demonstration of her running a barrel pattern.  They gave me a hundred dollars and I was like, WOW, somebody paid me to do this!

You get paid for something you like to do!

Ya, I was exhausted and it was like yeah. So I went from that to go into the fleamarket in Stuart and I did the fleamarket in Stuart for 10 years. While I was doing that I was also developing the pony party business. When that ended with the fleamarket I just kept doing the Pony Parties and kept adding little things like bounce houses and petting zoos and bungee jumps.

So you kept growing and growing? Ya

Are there are people who are doing the same thing and how is yours different than the others out there?

Absolutely, there are others doing the same thing. You know. There are people who say, she is making money and she loves it, and she’s doing great job at it. And they think, oh we can do this.

I have competitors. One of my best friends was one of my best competitors for many years and so she sold her business and even tossed ponies pony parties back and forth all the time because we were very good friends. We would always discuss what we were doing with our pony party businesses and what was going on. It’s very rare that you can have a competitor who is in your same service area and get along with and we are still friends and we’ve been friends for seventeen years.

So how are you different from the others.

I bring ponies that have been doing this for many many years. We went to the Stuart Air Show with our ponies with the bombs and the jets. My ponies are very established. They’re very experienced. They’ve been doing this for numerous years.

They come glitterized. I bring unicorns. I can bring zebras. I can bring something odd as a unicorn or  a zoonicorn, which is only seen on the treasure Coast. They come in all varieties of pinks and purples and blues and striping and it’s a unicorn.

Do you have any pictures of the zoonicorn?

I do have pictures of the zoonicorn on my website. I think definitely, I have her on my facebook page.

What’s your facebook page Joyce?

Choyce Party Ponies and also ChoyceLLC on Facebook.

As far as the business goes, what do you think is the number one thing holding back people from doing what they want to do?  For example, you have a great business. Why do you think people are not going for it?

It depends on your mindset. I think that there are people and I see success all over every day. I see people doing this and making it work right. I see a lot, a lot people and do a horse business and make it work.

Consequently, I see other people who, this is a lot of work. It involves a lot hours when you have a horse business if you have any business, you eat, breathe and sleep it. When you put your horses before you do and you spend the bulk of your income on what you do, because I don’t make a lot of money.

This is a very small living for the amount of hours and the amount of time, and the amount of love that I put in to this. This is not really easy for people to understand. When I say things like my stock all has four legs, I don’t count 401(k). I don’t have a retirement I don’t have all those things that people traditionally look for, and that’s a little bit of a challenge.

So people have been afraid of being investment they have to make. And your reputation is important and I see a lot of people who come into the horse business and maybe they don’t have the best morals, and that makes a whole other bunch of  issues there.

So what  was one of the major roadblocks you experience when you send out businesses?

Insurance costs. My insurance this year for my pony parties was over three thousand dollars.

That’s for the ChoycePartyPonies?

That’s just the ponies. I was in business and have been doing this for probably eight or nine years and you know I was always wearing boots when I walked with the ponies. I got plantar fasciitis and that really put a hitch in my get-a-long. I had to really think on my feet to try to keep his business going, because basically I couldn’t walk anymore. So now I have had over the years, I’ve had people that have subcontracted to me that they also feel the passion that I do. and they also love what I do andhave helped me with my business over the years.

But you are still able to ride right?

I’m still able to ride. I still, I still could choose to teach. I just didn’t take that part of me when I moved over to the West Coast.  Where I had a barn, I had riding instruction. When I moved over to the West Coast. I was like all I want to do is trail ride.

You are subcontracting your Choyce Party Ponies. Yes.

Then a few years ago, when I shut down my barn in twenty thirteen. Then I made a decision across the state. So then it was like everybody who usually has a business like mine, they sell it or they shut it down. Then they move and they start over again. I made the decision to try to run that business remotely from across the state. It dictates having people that you can trust to do something like  that. Now I have moved across the state and that’s been an amazing thing.

When did you know you survived that major moment and overcame that major roadblock?

It wasn’t a big moment it was just a continuing and ongoing journey of, wow, I’m making this work. Wow! I still have money in the bank. Wow! I’m still able to feed the horses.  It’s just it. It’s little things. It’s not any one big moment that goes Wow, I’m making this work.

Thank you Joyce!

Please continue on to part 2 – the equitation questions!

Joyce Chartier – Part 2 Equitation

Let’s move on to some specific equitation questions.

Why is good equitation and riding well so important?

Laura Kelland-May, Joyce Chartier, Equine Business Builders,
Joyce Chartier, Choyce LLC, Choyce Party Ponies

Well in my business with doing trail rides and and pony parties or anything like that, job one, is it keeps you from falling off! That is important.

That for me, is the most important thing. I find that often I’m  taking out people out in the woods, we may encounter obstacles, we may encounter animals.

Do you encounter one of those large ‘gators you see on Facebook?

Actually that’s really funny. I was taking a training horse out and I had people riding behind me and it was raining at Atlantic Ridge and the water was on all of the trails was really deep.

We were sloshing through a trail that was about two feet deep, and all of a sudden, I just, out of the corner of my eye looked down and I saw this huge out swelling coming out from underneath my horse. And I watched the water continue to swell up and then jumps out on the bank and it was a two foot gator.

The horse I was riding didn’t even budge. He just kept on acting like, I didn’t see a thing, I don’t know what you’re talking about. And I was like, oh my gosh, that was a ‘gator and it came right out from underneath my horse.

Those types of this is why I say equitation is really important because know, keeping your weight down in your heels, trying to predict what your horse is going to do, keeping your upper body back. People teach equitation in a ring and people teach English equitation are like bring that upper body forward, got that lovely two – point position, that’s all fine and wonderful.

I had a clinic with Aidan O’Connell about five or six years ago and Aiden O’Connell just put a video up on the mail about  riding out of the arena, riding outside fencing. That is when equitation becomes more important than anything, because if you’re not balanced and you’re not paying attention to what’s going on, you’re going to be off in a flash.

That is so huge. You know, people spend their lives inside the confines of the rings. I agree with you totally.

So what is the biggest challenge you see people are struggling with with their equitation. You get so many different types of people. People who have ridden a lot. People who have never ever ridden.

I have people that range from, I’ve never been on a horse before to grand prix riders ride my horses. I’ve got a friend of mine that is a retired steer wrestler. He rides. I go from people who don’t know how to ride hardly at all to people that ride way better than I’ll ever ride.

With beginners, here’s what I see, is that it’s easy to “over horse” yourself. People will sell you a horse that is more horse than you need to be on.

That’s what you mean by “over horse-ing”.They should be on fifteen two quiet quarter horse when they’re on or someone’s selling them a 17.2hh off the track thoroughbred that raced 2 weeks ago.

And they do it with their children. They do it as adults. They do it unknowingly. Oh, I want my child to grow up with the same companion. They will go and buy a young horse that the child has no business being on. Or for themselves. They’ll go out and find a disreputable person that may drug the horse. Or may misrepresent the horse, or maybe look at the horse and say, “oh it’s pretty, I want it”, and not even think about what they are going to ride the horse, to have anything to do with it.

There so many ways and mistakes can be made because people don’t know. They don’t know what you’re doing. And people selling horses, that it’s not their business. They just want the horse gone. They don’t pay attention to where the horse is going to go. And you’ll get people to come out and they’ll look at a horse for sale, they’ll be like, just get on it and go. Or friends have horses and their non- instructors themselves, but their horses are fine for them to ride and they will say, “come on over and jump on my horse, let’s go for a ride.

They can’t look at a person ‘s body and say this horse might be too much for them. they don’t know how to real what’s going on with a rider. The next thing you know, somebody’s fallen off, they’re getting hurt.

So they are not knowledgeable.

Not knowledgeable. There are too many horses in this world that are are not well trained. There are too many people who don’t want to spend money to pay for quality training and it is an accident waiting to happen.

So what tips can you give people now to help them, to help people who are listening here today?

Know what’s going on your horse ‘s head, and develop a strategy to avoid a fall. And I say avoiding them because they’ll happen no matter what happens you get on a horse plan on falling off. It’s just going to happen.

They don’t like to hear that.

But that’s what happens. And I I say that because I had one of my students, and it probably took her three or four years before she finally fell off, but it did happen.

You learn to ride better and then you take more risks. If you never take risks, you won’t have an issue. Very rarely will you have anything go wrong. I try extra, extra careful with my beginner riders. We always ride the level of the least rider. Any time I book a trail ride, and I’m like okay what’s your riding skills. And what’s your of friends  riding skills? And they’re like, well you know I’ve ridden, and I’m really good experience and I own my own horse.  And my friend is a beginner.Well you need to understand we will ride to the level of your friend who is a beginner. We are going to keep them safe.

You have to read the horse’s body language. You learn how to read horses body language. You have to feel what they’re feeling and have a plan if they spook.

It’s got to happen or you are going over face yourself. These are all things that most often happen, if you love horses and oh, I’m going to ride every week. Oh, I think this is a fabulous experience. I want to get into owning my own horse. Because a lot of people when they start  riding some people never get past the “oh I ride occasionally”. Most of the time they are pretty safe.

It is when you decide that you’re passionate about this and you want to learn all you can learn in the limited time you have on the planet. That’s  sometimes when accidents can happen.

I think that’s really good advice.

Are there any other things you would like to add to that?

Riding with a helmet. Riding with  an air vest or a safety vest. When I fox hunt, because I am one of those who is going to push my envelope. I  hunt with an air vest. I am attached by a lanyard to my saddle and when I separated from my horse my air vest immediately goes off.

When you were growing up, putting those baler twine,  hay bine, hay twine bridles on those three year olds, did you have a vest and a helmet?

I can picture it, you had a pair of cut off jean shorts and probably a halter top or bathing suit and maybe boots on. Maybe bare feet!

Probably bare foot or in tennis shoes, because you know I didn’t have to worry about falling out of the stirrup because, there was none!

They weren’t going to let us use any of their good equipment.

One challenge that I see people that are struggling with their equitation is that they just don’t ride enough.  And I will say the foxhunting and trail riding. those are all ways to get out in the saddle and spend hours and that’s what really makes a difference in your equitation.

Spending time in the tack!

I think that’s really good advice. I think we are going to wrap it up there Joyce.

I’d like to thank you Joyce Chartier for coming on our podcast today.

If you would like to visit Joyce, you can go to ChoyceLLC.com  and ChoycePartyPonies.com.

Thank you for visiting us today.

Thank you.


Jess Paveley – Hufeisen Shoeing Company.

Would like to welcome Jess Paveley from Hufeisen Shoeing Company.

Equine Business Builder, Equine Entrepreneurs, Laura Kelland-May, equine podcasts
Corrective, Therapeutic Shoeing and Performance Shoeing

Thanks for having me.

Well, You’re welcome. Is that the correct name of your business Hufeisen Shoeing Company?

Yes Hufeisen Shoeing Company. Hufeisen means horse shoe in German.

So how come you went with a German name?

I spent some time shoeing in Germany and I thought it was appropriate.

Do you have a website you would like to share with us?

Yes I do. It is hufeisenshoeingcompany.ca . If you don’t want to type out that mouthful you can go to OttawaFarrier.ca and it will redirect you.

 Ottawa Farrier. Ca


Okay, Perfect. So could you tell us a bit about what you do and how you got involved with horses?

I am a farrier and also a blacksmith. So I trim and shoe horses as well as making metal sculptures and art.

Do you have any of your blacksmithing art on display anywhere?

This weekend I had a table on display at the Home and Garden Show.

Was if for sale? Did anyone buy it?

It wasn’t for sale. It was a display peice for Butcher Block Counter Tops.

Did anyone comment on it?or say “hey! I’d like to buy that.”

You know I just popped by to see it, in all its glory and took a couple of pictures. The fellow who had the booth said he was going to have these steel frames available on his website so we will see how that goes.

So can you send us a picture so we can put it up with the interview.

Yes I will.

Do you have any more upcoming events or new projects?

Equine Business Builder, Podcasts for Equestrians, Equine Entrepreneurs, Laura Kelland-May, Jess Paveley
Butcher Block Table Frame, Designed/Made by Jess Paveley

No new shows this summer. Right now I am building a fire pit which I am really excited about. And maybe I will send pictures of that to you as well.

How are you making a firepit?

Well it is made out of a car [tire] rim. A steel rim, that is where the fire will be and a decorative lid. It is going to be “in town” so it does have to have a lid.

By-law compliant.

Alright Jess, tell us how you got started with your riding.

My mom put me in riding lessons at the National Capitol Equestrian Park when I was seven years old. So that was over twenty years ago and I have been riding ever since.

You do English, hunter/jumper type stuff.


With your business what is the driving force to keep you going with your projects?

With my blacksmithing projects, probably just joy. I enjoy making stuff from other stuff. I do a lot with scrap metal.

How about with your farrier stuff, your horse shoeing stuff?

Well I also enjoy that. I enjoy seeing horse walk away happy and sound. And I like paying my bills. Why does anyone work?

You like doing your job and you like paying your bills. That is why we are here. It’s a “horse” job.

There must be a lot of farriers out there. How do you make yourself different?

There are a surprising number of farriers in Ottawa. What makes me different? You’ll have to ask my clients.

What is the number one thing holding people back from doing what they want to do? You are doing what you want to do,  You have gone through some “life changes”, why do you think people are NOT doing what they want to do?

I am doing what I want to do because I had a few people shove me. I knew what I wanted to do but was to afraid to start it. I got a big kick to get it done. I think the reason why most people don’t or aren’t doing what they want to do is because they are afraid of new things or getting out of their comfort zone or afraid of failing at the things they are going to try.

So do you think a mentor is important to have for someone starting out or to give some guidance? It sounds like your mentor pushed you in the right direction. Is that right?

Yes, that is right. A mentor can be anyone. It doesn’t have to be someone in your industry it can be someone with more experience. More life experience.

This may be a difficult question. What do you think your biggest “flop” was? Or maybe something that wasn’t so successful.

I don’t know if you would call it a ‘flop’, but I spent a lot of time moving around. And just having to build your business back up from nothing more than once is extremely hard.

Your a farrier, so moving around is not good for your business. So each time you moved you have to put yourself out there and get new clients and develop your base again. So you are going to be staying put in the Ottawa area for a little bit anyway.

Yes definitely. I am happy here. No plans to move anytime in the future.

What do you think your biggest success it?

I think that ties back into my biggest “flop” and being successful in each new place I lived. Because I had to move around and start over so often I had to constently putting myself out there, networking and talking with everyone I could, which was really, really hard for me. If you know me at all, you know it was really hard. As a result of pushing through, and not giving up, which would have been really easy, my business thrived. how hard it was.  go out

 What is the biggest setback people face when they try to do what you do?

I think people underestimate how hard it is. They think it is a brute strength when really it is a lot of anatomy and finesse.

So why do you think the number one reason people succeed when others don’t in the farrier scheme of things?

I think the main issue is business skills. I think you can be a really good farrier with poor business skills and you will fail. I think you can be a mediocre farrier with reasonably good business skills and you will most likely succeed.

That is a really good piece of advice. Good for when you set out in any business.

With respect to your farrier what was one of the major road block you experienced when you set out on your journey?

I think one of the major roadblocks for me was gender, starting out. I had more than one male farrier who I asked to ride with, say “no”, purely because I was a woman. And “what would people think?” It was really hard for me to find someone that would let me ride along.

Do you mean they were wondering what would people think about them riding with a woman? Or that you are a female farrier?

Of them riding with a woman. I don’t think the issues was my being a  female farrier at all.

That being said, when I was starting out and would show up on farms people were always surprised and they would say, “oh! A female farrier, I haven’t seen one of those”. I found it reasonably difficult to be taken seriously.

Has that changed at all, for you these days?

Yes it has. I don’t have to fight as hard to be taken seriously as a farrier. Some people will walk out to the barn to and go, “oh wow, female”, but people don’t stand over me looking at my work.

Making sure you are doing it right?

Exactly! Making sure I do it like a man would do it.

What was an Ah-ha moment when you knew you had overcome one of those roadblocks?

I’m not sure it was one moment necessarily but more of a progression of my business. When people started calling me and say, “my horse has this problem, can you help him”.

I knew people were more aware of my ability and less of my gender. Another thing that ties into that is that when I moved back to Ottawa people thought I was fresh out of school. Secretly I think that had to do with my being a young woman. I think I have been able to push past it and be successful the short time I’ve been here.

Excellent. Good to hear you were able to overcome that. That is a key thing when people start calling you in your business. You’ve gone past what you need to get past for the type of work you do.

Okay Jess that is the business end of things completed. Now we are going on to the equitation questions. I know you are looking forward to this.

Why is equitation and riding well so important?

I think riding well is so important because if you don’t you will never get to where you want to go. On the one hand if you want to ride a Grand Prix course you will never get around it if you are riding down hill but on the other hand if you want to hack your horse out and you don’t have good basics, where are you going to end up? On the ground.

So riding well is important for everybody, for safety as well.

What’s the biggest challenge you see people are struggling with their equitation?

I see a lot of people that don’t have a good base of support. Their legs are flopping around, their stirrups are too short, they are riding with a chair seat. It affects everything from the legs up. It affects your seat, your shoulders, your posture, your hands.

So the basic riding skills. Lunge lessons that type of thing.

Yes. I hate to say it yes, but basic riding skills.

What are some tips you could give right now to help prevent, stop or correct the problem that you are seeing?

People are going to hate me for this one. I am going to say, no stirrups.

That is a favorite with everybody, riding without stirrups. Any specific exercises without stirrups?

I don’t know there are so many.

Just pick one and go with it right?

Okay Jess. I would like to thank you so much for coming into the studio today. Is there any other thing you’d like to say about your business or anything we didn’t cover  that you would like to say?

No, I think that is everything.

Thanks for having me Laura.


 Thank you. That was Jess Paveley. HufeisenShoeingCompany.ca  and OttawaFarrier.ca.


Episode 0004-B Emily Wolff – Equine Massage Therapist

Part 2 of interview with Emily Wolff of Heart to Hand Equine Massage.

EmilyWolff - RMT 1Would like to welcome you to Equine Business Builders

Part B –

Introduction –

Now we are going to move on to some equitation questions. Are you ready for some equitation questions?

 Yes I think so.

This will be very applicable for you. We did talk a bit about how the rider influences the horse You see that quite often right?

Why is good equitation and riding well so important?

Good question. Good equitation is so important because our balance can throw the horse off balance. If we are not riding well, the horse is always going to mirror us. It is important to give them a sense of confidence in themselves. A good horse you will be able to give them confidence. The better stronger position you have the better you can help the horse.


What is the number one thing you see. What is the biggest mistake you see in riders, I guess.

Whooo, that is a bit of a loaded question.

Not mentioning any names!

A lot of us, myself included, don’t always have that smooth following arm. I think this is from a tightness in our pecs and a weakness in our core and we are not able to hold ourselves in a position where our arms can move freely. This is a huge component, I see it time and time again, bracing the hands and breaking the wrists. Tight elbows that aren’t moving and not following, rounded shoulders. I think it is related to a weakness in the core, to the muscles in the core.

I think it is not as common at the upper levels or even mid summer when we are showing and riding a bit more. In general not having a following rein.

Do you think some riders should be fitter. To do some exercises to help strengthen their core? Do you think that would help?

Yes one-hundred percent.I think core strength is vital for us not only for us as riders but as humans.

I am sitting here as if I am sitting on a horse and I am holding myself up. I have to say I do a lot of core exercises.

And I think I have pretty soft hands…

Anyway – moving along.

What are some tips you could give right now to either prevent, stop or correct  the problem. I think we kind of mentioned it, core exercises.

Core, core strength definitely.

My equine massage therapist heart is such a big fan of grooming and currying and [taking care of the horse by] flushing the blood after we ride and stimulating the skin before we ride. And stretching exercises.

I am going to give you my favorite exercises. Is to just back the horse up in hand. Nice and slowly. You stretch the whole body basically.  Nice and slowly and quietly back up the horse in hand between 10 and 20 steps. It does a great job for the pelvisand legs and for all those muscles that are classically tight.

That is my one major tip, more grooming and whole body stretch.

Excellent – those are really good tips.

Thank you Emily. That is it for my questions here. Is there anything that you would like to add?

I would like to thank you again one more time for having me here today and this whole community you are building. The more we collaborate together the more massage therapists vets, chiropractors and riders and trainers, the more we all work together, the better it is for the horses at the end of the day.

That is my big why, so I so appreciate you having this podcast having me here and everything you are doing.

Thank you so much Emily. I really appreciate it.

It’s bringing people together for a common purpose. We all have this common theme of working and helping with horses. If we can all get together and mentor people coming up, I think it is going to be fantastic.

I appreciate saying what you said so thank you so much.

Absolutely, thanks Laura.

If you would like to contact Emily please visit Heart to Hand Equine Massage