The All-In-One Bitless Bridle as Seen in the Movie “Brother Nature”

Brother Nature

It has been two years in the making and finally the movie Brother Nature, formerly known as Brother In-Laws, is debuting September 9, 2016.  I had been contacted by a respected Hollywood animal trainer asking if I could provide horses for a Lorne Michaels film being shot at Lake of the Woods in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  I had one week to find, work with, and deliver on-time two horses for this SNL cast of characters that includes actors Bill Pullman, and Rita Wilson.  I got lucky tapping two horses already in Klamath Falls owned by two young men who happen to be my husband’s cousins – it was meant to be!!  After two days on-set the final shoot with the horses had a midnight call which I freaked out about on the phone with the assistant producer “how am I supposed to walk the horses from the road down the long driveway to the lake in the black of night?” I protested.  Well when we showed up the entire road and driveway were lit up with high voltage lighting to the hum of generators running – the horses unloaded and walked down to the set without a flinch.

We were on-set for 6 hours that night and had to move the horses from one location to the next keeping them out of the background between scenes, but what amazing horses these two mares were navigating expensive and complicated equipment, wires, cables, lights etc. with people and contraptions all around us.  Both horses did their jobs beautifully in the All-In-One Bitless Bridle which you can see in the official trailer online at at the 1:30 mark.   The horses had difficult scenes at times as you’ll see in the trailer & movie, but the cast was wonderful gathering around afterwards to calm and nurture the horses letting them know they did a great job.

Bobby Moynihan

Bobby Moynihan

To learn more about the All-In-One Bitless Bridle visit or call toll free (888) 406-7689.

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My Horse is Afraid of Me – the Result of the Hegemony Culture of Horse Training

My Horse is Afraid of Me

An Arab mare arrived for retraining with a disturbingly common problem of fear and distrust of people.   My barn is often the last stop for horses before being sent to auction or euthanized due to dangerous behavior, and this mare was facing the same fate if I failed at connecting and retraining her.  The owner of this beautiful horse was grief stricken and disillusioned after bringing her once sweet, trusting mare home from a six month stint with a professional trainer.  She now has a dangerous horse that spooks, bolts and is afraid of her owner and people in general.  Sadly what happened to this mare is a common problem among horses that I work with – how did this happen to this once trusting mare?   The answer – Hegemony.

Arab Mare

What is Hegemony?  A quick definition is the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group[i].  The culture of training a horse by use of force, pain and painful devices continues to pervade our TV shows, training videos, horse expos, clinics and even among the natural horsemanship trainers.   In my opinion this culture of hegemony has its roots in the belief of “dominate the earth and all its creatures”.

Before the industrial age horses were a main source of transportation, weapons of war, tools for ranching, farming, logging, gambling and sports competition.  Just get the horse under control and working was the order of that day based on the additional belief that horses have no feelings, animals don’t feel pain etc.[ii]  Today in some cultures horses are still used in many ways as tools, but mainly horses are used for sport and personal gratification.  However, people within the horse industry and the public at large are questioning whether it takes force and pain to train a horse as the hegemony stronghold begins to unravel.

The Arab mare had been the victim of our hegemonic culture of horse training unnecessarily!  Instead of approaching the mare with gentleness, respect and compassionate herd leadership, she was given the choice of “do it or else you will feel the lash” methodology.  The mare could not emotionally nor physically cope with the either/or methodology, therefore became afraid that ALL humans will inflict pain invoking her flight response.  In this case I understood the mare’s fear and allowed her to step out of her stall into the paddock whenever I entered.  She was not displaying disrespect by walking away; she was simply removing herself from the potential of pain which I had to respect and meet with compassion.

In the hegemony culture of horse training a trainer would have run her out of the stall as she stepped in that direction making it the trainer’s idea she moved her feet (he who moves the other’s feet first is in control).  However, with the awareness of her sentient nature and her resulting behavior due to her training experiences, I simply met her exactly where she was emotionally with compassion and did not command her feet – instead I gave gentleness and respect by simple touch-retreat that felt good to her with NO pressure!  I soon gained her trust that I was not going to hurt her and she willingly cooperated with my requests.  Within 30 days I had her running on mountain trails with her tail held high and freedom in her hooves.

Today’s knowledge and plethora of examples that horses WILL respect, respond and cooperate when treated with compassionate herd leadership and patience, should be a prevailing practice among ALL horse trainers.  In my opinion any trainer that does otherwise should be shunned and excluded from the industry wholly, not just the soring and doping trainers.  I challenge the horse trainers that use bits, spurs, force and pain to reconsider their training as an obsolete style in light of today’s knowledge.  Step out of the darkness and embrace the possible!  Gentle horse training truly does succeed with patience patience patience, and is well worth the time to have a horse that is excited to see you, respects you, does not fear you and enjoys living their life with fun and adventure alongside you.

As an internationally recognized Gentle Horse Trainer and member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators, Missy pioneered the WHOLE horse training methods on the foundation of DO NO HARM.  Missy is the producer of the famed, “free for viewing” Training the Whole Horse® and Starting Under Saddle video series plus founder of DO NO HARM Productions and creator of the All-In-One Bitless Bridle.  For more information visit Missy Wryn’s website at or call toll free (888) 406-7689




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Tell Me How You Really Feel – the Clinton Anderson Controversy Continues

I continue to receive messages from folks asking what I think about the statements Clinton Anderson made recently: “Now the women who are watching this, you know, I make fun of these tree-hugging idiots that ride in a bitless bridle, and you know, they trail ride, and and, they’re close to nature. They hear what I just said and they say “that’s barbaric”, they’ve never trained a stud horse in their friggin’ life. And I wish they would, cause they’d get killed and that would get rid of most of these people who bug the shit out of me. Okay? So they’ve never trained a stud horse in their life. They’ve never trained one. Their, their whole idea of accomplishment is the horse stands still at the mounting block. Like “oh my god, he stood still so I get three mounting blocks, one on top of the other and climb up with my fat ass up there and get on.” Clinton Anderson

I may not align with Clinton’s style, his character and opinions, but some of his techniques are useful when applied with gentleness and compassion…………… For some people they need to feel in control by using intimidation through force and pain, but then there’s YOU and me. We have discovered horses are willingly cooperative when given the opportunity to learn under gentle patience, guidance, and compassionate herd leadership!

The world is changing with a compassionate sensibility, and for some it is very uncomfortable since it does not align with their “old guard dominance” programming. Things are being said out of fear which often expresses itself in the likeness of anger, rage and arrogance. This expression from Clinton only resolves me to look beyond the man and embrace the source of his comments with compassion.  Missy

Let me know how I can be of support to you in any way.  Email me or call toll free (888) 406-7689 visit


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Gentle Horse Training – Remember Your Manners

Horse Body Check

There’s a fundamental paradigm shift within the horse industry to tone down the forceful methods of horse training and incorporate gentler methods in recognition of the horse’s sentient nature.   As the pendulum swings from the use of force, pain and devices to non-device gentler methods, professionals such as farriers and veterinarians are struggling with ill-mannered horses due to what they refer to as the “pet mentality” some horse owners have embraced.   As I’ve written before there’s nothing wrong with your horse being your pet, but as horse owners we have a responsibility to train our horses to respect people and be a SAFER pet for all those who handle and/or visit our horses.

Using gentle horse training methods incorporates time, patience and positive reinforcement without the use of food, but it does not relinquish herd leadership that horses are genetically required to have at all times.   You can learn how to train your horse to have good manners using gentle methods by watching FREE my Training the Whole Horse® video series below:

As an internationally recognized Gentle Horse Trainer and member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators, Missy pioneered the WHOLE horse training methods on the foundation of DO NO HARM.  Missy is the producer of the famed, “free for viewing” Training the Whole Horse® and Starting Under Saddle video series plus founder of HorseMAREship™,  and DO NO HARM Productions plus creator of the All-In-One Bitless Bridle.  For more information visit Missy Wryn’s website at or call toll free (888) 406-7689


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I Will Not Be Swayed – JOIN the GENTLE Horse MOVEMENT

Missy Wryn Gentle Horse Trainer

Missy Wryn Gentle Horse Trainer

I will not be swayed from my position that GENTLE and BITLESS horse training methods make for a SAFER more responsive horse, and a relationship you’ve always dreamed of between you and your horse. To the status quo horse industry that uses force, pain and fear I say “WAKE UP the change is HERE! Understand there’s no cosmic or woo woo about the effectiveness of GENTLE horse training. We stand united and will no longer tolerate the inhumane abuses”.

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Wendy and Paige w-Missy and Paco web

“I am afraid my wife won’t come home one day from the barn.  I just want her to get rid of that dangerous horse”, Wendy’s husband said to me as he pulled me aside.  “I’ll do everything I can to help” I replied trying to reassure him.  Wendy first contacted me explaining that her horse had become violent for no apparent reason.  She explained that she’s been checked out by veterinarians and trainers, but no one can figure out what’s wrong.  Wendy went on to explain that every time she visited Paige, her six year old Paint mare, Paige would charge, rear-up with striking hooves and gnashing teeth chasing Wendy out of the paddock and arena.  Wendy was broken hearted over this unexplained change in her mare – she had rescued Paige at the tender age of 6 months old from an auction and they had been best friends and riding companions for the last 5+ years, enjoying trail rides and various styles of riding.  But suddenly, without explanation Paige had become dangerous whenever Wendy tried to work with her.   What happened?

I have a lengthy intake form for every new horse that comes into my barn which consists of questions ranging from medications, feed and supplements, to recent vaccines and injuries old and new.  As Wendy and I sat at my dining room table going through the intake form nothing out of the ordinary was coming up.  There were no injuries, no recent vaccines or medical issues and no changes in feed or supplements.  Paige’s overall physical health was good, so I asked her “were there any changes in Paige’s lifestyle before her behavior changed”?  “Yes” Wendy said, “I moved her to a new barn which she was struggling fitting into the herd and then a herd mate died three weeks later”.   I asked “did Paige seem to be sad or depressed”?  “Yes she was” Wendy went on “and then I left for three months to take care of my mom in Hawaii who was dying of cancer.  When I came back Paige had changed and I don’t understand why”.

I put my pen down, leaned back in my chair and gently said “I’m so sorry you lost your mother, but you need to apologize to Paige.  You abandoned her in her time of grief where she didn’t fit in except with one horse that was now gone.  I need you to go out to the barn, put your left hand on her forehead and your right hand on her neck and tell her you are sorry that you abandoned her.  Explain to her what happened and that you had no choice at the time, but that you now understand her anger and that you are going to make it right with her.  Use your words since the vibration from your words will tell Paige everything she needs to know.  Once you do this I can undo the habitual behavior she has wrapped herself in”.  Wendy and I walked out to the barn where I stopped at the door and left Wendy to her task.  Wendy did just as I told her without question, we hugged goodbye as I said “I’ll call you soon”.

In dealing with a charging horse I knew I best practice first short circuiting Paige’s brain by twirling a lead-rope in one hand and shaking a flag in the other.  Horse’s see independently out of each eye feeding their brain information separately which has helped them survive in the wild for thousands of years.  If Paige charges me violently it is my intention to short circuit her brain by overloading her with two conflicting images, then gaining control of her feet all within seconds!  I stood in my living room practicing twirling and shaking until I had it down – it was like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time, but my life depended on me getting it right!

The next morning I set out to do a Wholistic Joining with Paige, lead-rope in one hand and a training stick with a flag in the other – not my usual tools for a Wholistic Joining……  I opened the stall door and Paige came out meandering about the arena checking out the various buckets and gates familiarizing herself with her new surroundings.  I kept a watchful eye as she pranced about and shied at times from the scary wheelbarrow and horse eating tractor gate.   I took a deep breath releasing it slowly as it was now time to start moving her feet launching into a Wholistic Joining.   The very moment I approached her to move her feet she came charging at me rearing and striking with an open mouth, teeth bared.  I stood my ground waving the flag and twirling the lead-rope hoping this worked – to my relief she stopped in her tracks and in a split second I growled loudly and ran towards her shaking the flag and twirling the rope.  She turned and ran off as I chased her a few steps moving her feet, then turned and walked off keeping her in my peripheral vision.  She turned and looked at me, then came charging again only to be stunned with two images she couldn’t process, the twirling lead-rope and shaking flag.  Paige stopped abruptly at which I growled gruffly running towards her chasing her off again, then I turned and walked off.  Paige stopped running, turned around and looked at me puzzled, then dropped her head in submission, licking her lips (a sign of thought) – in that moment I knew she understood I was her herd leader.  I approached her gently, my eyes cast down, countenance soft as she buried her head in my chest with relief as if to say “finally I have a herd leader”.  I stroked her neck and praised her – explained what had happened to her and how sorry Wendy was all the while comforting her in her grief.  Paige blew a big sigh and signaled that she was done terrorizing and was ready to be a part of the herd again following me at liberty around the arena.

Wendy and Paige were reunited without incident and came back to my barn two years later to participate in a clinic together.  It was a deeply touching sight as Wendy and Paige rode with no reins through a labyrinth and bridge crossing now bonded as ONE.

Wendy & Paige Crossing the Bridge with No Reins

Wendy & Paige Crossing the Bridge with No Reins

Let me know how I can be of support to you in any way.  Contact or call 888-406-7689.  Wishing you a great day!  Missy

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A Star Reborn Part 3

The change in Star was amazing after his chiropractic adjustment!  His eyes softened along with his countenance and attitude.  I had not realized he’d been subtly trying to tell me he was in pain.  For instance, after his chiropractic adjustment he stood quietly for saddling with no fuss or fidgeting.  I thought the fussing was a training issue for which I continually corrected him, but all the fidgeting and fuss went away along with the raised head and hollowed back after the adjustment.  Star was ready for the next step to carrying me as a rider.

Every time I ride any horse, even my “been there done that” school horses, I run each horse through my Five Fundamentals.  This re-establishes my leadership and flushes out any issues I want to address on the ground before I get in the saddle.  Star had been learning my Five Fundamentals all along with his ground training and now it was time to translate what he’s learned under saddle.  As I snapped on my reins to the All-In-One Bitless bridle I flexed his head on his near side with my left hand drawing his nose towards the girth resting my hand on the saddle.  I held the rein until he nodded his nose and softened then I instantly released “good boy”.

Typically it only takes about 10 minutes to run a horse through the Five Fundamentals and Star was no exception as I completed each step.  Now it was time for our first ride.  From Star’s near side I tipped his nose slightly to the left, grabbed rein and mane with my left hand and the cantle with my right and stood up in the stirrup.  I held myself there watching for any reaction, but Star was calm and confident with the exception of a step to balance himself.GHT#19   Slowly I swung my leg over and gently lowered myself on his back.  His eyes widened a bit so I took a deep relaxing breath and stroked his neck, and he sighed.  I cooed over him drawing his nose towards the girth (partial one-rein-stop) while leaning down to rub his forehead.  This was a reminder that nose to the girth is the safe and loving place we go when we are in trouble.  I had established his one-rein-stop on the ground as the safe and loving place before I mounted GHT#16 and now I’m reminding him that the one-rein-stop under saddle is still the same safe and loving place we go when we are in trouble.

GH TIP #16 – Upon mounting it is important to gently pull the horse’s nose towards the girth (the safe and loving place) and reach down to love him up.  This helps the horse understand you are the same leader in the saddle as you were on the ground.  This is the beginning of the one-rein-stop in the saddle, your horse’s emergency handbrake.

After rubbing Star’s head I slowly leaned back holding the rein resting my hand on my thigh waiting for him to nod his nose towards his girth and soften before I would release the rein.  He wasn’t sure at first what I was asking so he started to disengage his hindquarters moving in a circle.  I patiently stroked his neck with my right hand saying “whoa, whoa” in a soothing voice keeping my legs off him, and not releasing his nose: do not release the nose until the feet have stopped moving (GH TIP #13 Part 2).  Soon his feet stopped moving and I waited holding his nose until he nodded and softened. I instantly released the rein saying “good boy, good boy” while I stroked his neck.  I then gently pulled his nose to the right, held the rein with my left hand, reached down with my right hand and loved him up on his forehead reminding him this was the safe and loving place on this side too.  When I sat back, he instantly nodded his nose and I immediately released the rein praising him for the right answer.

I continued flexing Star in a partial one-rein-stop (nose towards the girth) from one side to the other as he learned to nod his nose and soften.  If Star was going to get silly I needed to be able to shut him down using his emergency handbrake, the one-rein-stop.  Now it was time to add the final step to the one-rein-stop; disengagement of the hindquarters.  I began by flexing Star’s nose towards the girth, then I added heel pressure just behind the girth, as I had done on the ground with my thumb to move his back feet.  Star immediately responded by disengaging his hindquarters (inside hind foot crosses in front of outside hind foot), but he tried to pull his nose out of the flex.  I held on to his nose firmly with the rein while releasing all foot pressure and stroked his neck to help him relax.  Once he stopped moving his feet I praised him, but held his nose until he softened and nodded then I opened my hand instantly releasing the pressure, “good boy” I said.   At times Star moved his back feet before I asked him so I made it my idea by adding my heel pressure; remember he who moves the other’s feet first is in control (GH TIP #1 Part 1).  Soon Star was flexing and disengaging softly in a relaxed frame of mind and body GHT#17.

GH TIP #17 – When working with your horse it is not important that you get perfection the first day when teaching something new.  What is important is to keep your horse engaged in learning without getting frustrated.  If you are getting frustrated then you need to quit.  If your horse is getting frustrated take a step or two back in what you are training and find a starting point that he can be successful at and then end the session.  Always end on a good note as described in NH TIP #9 Part 1.  Once I feel comfortable that the horse understands the basic concept of what I’m teaching I will quickly move on to another learning experience.  Often times at the end of a session I will come back to a prior concept I was teaching and do a little refinement so long as the horse’s mood is still willing and he’s not feeling overwhelmed.

I now know the emergency handbrake is working for Star, phew….  It’s time to move his feet forward under saddle.  I squeezed gently with both legs while leaning forward imposing a forward motion in my body language.  Star instantly moved forward so I released my pressure by removing my legs and relaxing my body saying “good boy”.  He immediately stopped at the “good boy” so I squeezed again and he instantly moved off the leg pressure.  As a high energy Arab, Star was going to be fairly easy to teach walk, trot and canter.

Star’s forward motion was excellent, but he struggled balancing me at first, even when mounting.  It is not natural for horses to carry humans so there is a time of adjustment working out the balance when teaching them under saddle – you have to give your horse time to learn to balance you in each gait, walk, trot and canter.  Some horses learn very quickly, but Star struggled for a better part of a week.  He sometimes staggered a moment when I mounted shifting his weight to balance me and I’m less than 140 pounds.  (I note my weight because I believe it is important to be fair to your horse and ride the appropriate horse to your body weight).

There is a huge difference between a horse that wants to move around when you are mounting and one that has a balancing issue.  To help a horse with a balancing problem, before I mount I will position his feet squarely and then I flex his head slightly so the horse can reposition if needed; sometimes a horse will move the outside front leg to adjust his balance, that’s ok.  Always work on mounting from both sides helping your horse to improve his balance. Remember your horse has two brains what you train on one side of the horse you must train on the other side (GH TIP #14 Part 2).  Mounting and dismounting is the most vulnerable position we can be in as riders.  If your horse moves when mounting and it’s not a balancing issue you must fix this immediately for your own safety.GHT#18

GH TIP #18 – Keep in mind all the discipline described in this tip is done in an All-In-One BITLESS bridle so there is no bit in the mouth!  Mounting Issues: If you horse is moving around when mounting and you know it is not a balancing issue; you need to rule out pain before you apply any discipline.  Sometimes horses are trying to tell us they are in pain when we mount so seek professional help for your horse if you are in doubt.  If pain issues have been eliminated you need to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing uncomfortable (GH TIP #9 Part 1).  Here’s how: Did you check saddle fit and desensitize with the saddle? If not, check out the saddle fit and always desensitize first to eliminate any saddle issues. GHT#19

Using the process of elimination I’m going to breakdown my mounting into steps to flush out the specific action that triggers my horse to move.  The first step is to flex his head as if I’m going to mount, but not lift my foot for the stirrup.  If the horse moves I will repeatedly make short jerks on the rein upwards backing him up making the ssshhh sound.  I will do this for about 3 seconds, stop and stare at the horse until he drops his head in submission and licks or chews as described in GH TIP #11 Part 2 (he who moves the other’s feet first is in control).  If the horse didn’t move when I flexed his head I then lift my foot as if to put it in the stirrup.  If he tries to move away I make short jerks on the rein in an upward motion and make the ssshhh sound backing him up making the wrong thing uncomfortable.  After I’ve disciplined for movement when I picked up my foot that tells me I need to desensitize my horse for that.  I will march around my horse lifting my knees high using nurturing techniques until he settles down and stops moving.  Once I have desensitized my horse to my leg lifts I am ready to try mounting again, but this time my foot will make contact with the stirrup.  I have flexed his head, praised him for standing quietly, and now I have rein and mane, praised him for standing, I’ve lifted my foot, praised him, and have now made contact in the stirrup.  If the horse starts moving his feet I immediately release my foot from the stirrup, take the rein that is in my left hand and repeat the short jerking motion upwards while making the ssshhh sound backing him back-up making the wrong thing uncomfortable.  I try it again, praising for each benchmark and now toe to the stirrup, but if he moves his feet I immediately repeat making it more uncomfortable by jerking upwards on the rein backing him up further while making the ssshhh sound.  You can see a pattern of consistency in my discipline. Typically it only takes a few discipline moments and the horse “gets it”, but if not I stick with the consistent discipline and praise for each benchmark.  You must remain consistent upping the pressure for each infraction, but don’t get mad or frustrated; be patient and giving with praise for the slightest try and smallest change; it will work.  By now I have my foot in the stirrup and I’m praising my horse and stroking his neck because he is standing quietly.  As I begin to stand up in the stirrup I continue to praise him if he’s still standing quietly, but if he starts to move I immediately drop out of the stirrup, jerk the rein driving him back making the ssshhh sound.  Rarely have I had any further problems once I’m standing in the stirrup; by then the horse has “got it” and found it to be pleasurable standing quietly.  Break the problem down into baby steps and praise your horse for doing it right and make it uncomfortable when he does it wrong.  If you use a mounting block the same techniques apply, but make sure you have desensitized your horse to the block if it scares him.

GH TIP #19 – Saddle Desensitizing: I include saddle desensitizing every time before I ride.   For instance I like to flap the stirrup leather closest to the saddle not hitting the horse and repeat both sides.  I start by tipping the horses head towards me slightly with the lead rope while I stand at a 45 degree angle at his shoulder.  I have the lead rope in my hand that is now on his neck to nurture him.  I begin by lifting the stirrup and slapping the upper portion against the saddle and saddle pad.  If the horse tries to move away I am able to pull on his nose towards me which disengages his hindquarters so he can’t run off.  I then stroke his neck and nurture him, but continue slapping at a reduced noise level until he stops moving his feet.  Once I have a starting point I can increase the slapping noise until it no longer bothers him.  I do this on both sides of the horse.  Then I will use the end of my lead rope to tap the saddle rhythmically.  I repeat holding the lead rope tipping his nose towards me standing at a 45 degree angle at the shoulder in case he gets frightened by the slapping sound against the saddle.  This position gives me safer control if he was to try and get away.  You’d be surprised how many horses get spooked by the slapping sound.  Repeat as you did with the stirrup finding a starting point if your horse gets frightened and work up to the horse not caring about the slapping.  Make sure you do not slap the horse, just the saddle.

Time and patience with Star resolved his balancing issues and soon he was walking, trotting, and cantering athletically carrying me in the saddle.  We had our moments of sticky feet, but I simply flexed him, disengaged his hindquarters and bumped his outside shoulder pushing him through a turn on the haunch.  It works beautifully every time a horse gets stuck.  Soon we were on the trail where he amazed me with his confidence and trust.  By our second trail ride it was just the two of us where Star could explore the woods yet listened to my every cue from running up a hill to a complete stop the moment I asked; I was so very proud of him.  All this was accomplished in less than three months since his arrival.

Star whinnied to everyone as he departed with his owner to head home.  A twinkle in his eye, Star was no longer a jaded angry ex-stallion, but a regal confident partner trusting in the human herd.  My throat tightened and tears swelled as I waved goodbye.

Let me know if I can be of support to you in your journey of gentle horsemanship.  Email or call toll free (888) 406-7689.  Learn more by visiting my website

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