Visited HoofbeatZ USA for a ten day course: "Few ways are as deeply genuine as riding, working, and being with horses. Hoofbeatz USA does not just teach kids and adults a skill but discipline, self knowledge, courage, physical strength, fitness and all round authentic self-esteem. I loved the creative communication, the superior, complementary skills of all "teachers" ..the family oriented atmosphere at HoofbeatZ USA.. ..and of course the exceptional beauty and skill of the horses."
Catherine White, 75
I was looking for a place where I could learn what I needed to learn to ride my horse. I sent him to a trainer to make my horse safe to ride–which he did–but what happened was I wasn’t confident, so he wasn’t confident. I wasn’t his leader, I was more his playmate, so therefore he would take over. You try to learn from what people tell you, but you learn from doing. I got up on the EZ Ride and was like, “This is exactly what I need.” I can’t learn by getting up on a horse that has its own mind, and I didn’t know what to do. So here at HoofbeatZ USA, they not only tell you how to do it but physically show you how to do it. You can control your own body without worrying about what the horse is doing. So i can get on a horse and think about, “I’m bouncing..how do I stop” and they would tell me how.I didn’t have to worry about controlling the horse, controlling my feet, what direction we were going. I just had to focus on my body. …So i brought my horse here so we can learn together.
I was amazed by the change in my horse, Rusty, from the first day. When I would open the stall door he would rush me and I would say “back! back! back!” Then when Roz worked with him she made him backup in his stall and wait. And I was amazed, I looked at his face and could see he understood that she wanted him to stand there, and he’s doing it for her, how come he doesn’t do it for me? And then I watched that he was a horse that had this vibration that was like 10 ft high, to a calm and thinking and understanding horse. Then, she let me work with him while she stood there and taught me how. [In the past] I was so frightened of him at times when his energy was so high that I would always stick my arm out because I was afraid he was going to run over me. Now, he walks by me, right next to me, and his energy level is a 1. My fear and anxiety is gone, and so his fear and anxiety was gone. I can back him up with my finger, he says okay, and then he smiles and thinks “I did it!”
I am so happy with this program because it has made a difference in my life. I made a commitment to my horse, and people told me I had to be strong and knock him around, or give him away. I knew that was not right and it doesn’t have to be like that. And this program has proven it.
[The] staff is amazing. They are kind and gentle to the horses. They understand where the horses come from , why do they what they do, and they work within that zone that they don’t have to whip them or hit them with the lead rope. It’s so amazing for me because I watch the horses and their faces, and to see them think and do it without fighting….I haven’t found that anywhere else.
Emily & Family
Emily and her two children attend HoofbeatZ USA for lessons
Emily: I can truly say its been phenomenal. I have been a horse owner and rider for many, many years. Recently my confidence was lost, and a friend suggested I come to [HoofbeatZ USA]. I needed to learn how to connect with the horse more than just be a rider on the back. In just the few short months that I have been here my seat has improved dramatically. I am getting my confidence back much faster than I ever thought I would, and I’m learning to connect with a horse in a way I have never done before. It empowers me to really be a horseman, not just a rider.
I think anyone that’s into horses should be in this program because horse ownership and riding is more than just riding; it’s actually connecting with an animal, especially given the prey-predator relationship. You want to form a partnership, and that’s not really doable unless you learn Speak Horse here.
Their children’s experience:
Emily: My kids have both throughout the years been through different horse camps. They genuinely love this because it’s different than anything they have ever done. They are learning how to sit properly and to take the fear factor out of [riding], and do everything properly by starting on a mechanical horse. They are also getting an education on how to connect with the horse, which is exciting, and then just being able to ride in a safe environment where they don’t have to worry about anything other than themselves and focusing on their seat; and that translates over to being able to ride independently with confidence and also being able to handle a horse with confidence.
My kids always ask, “when are we going again?”
Scott (father & husband): That’s how i know it’s working. Being the dad and not being a rider, I can appreciate the sport and passion my wife has and I think with riding it may not be something my kids pursue as a lifelong goal, but what it does is help them with every other aspect of their life; confidence, the ability to keep at something, and that you won’t always get it right away and it takes time to really learn and that a part of learning is failing–but like my wife said in a safe, controlled environment.
Emily: They are also learning to control their emotions through this program, so its a very therapeutic thing. You have to learn to not react when you’re not getting the result you want and to not take it personally.
Scott: We can collectively say that’s not only a great way for approaching riding but approaching life. They are very actionable lessons.
Emily: And learning empathy is important too. Whats great about this program is you actually see horses transform and learn to trust and become working partners. For the kids, to see that they have an effect on that and what they are doing transfers to the horse, it teaches them kindness, patience and it teaches them empathy and essentially emotional [intelligence].
Scott: Watching the different programs my family has been through throughout the years, I noticed this program is something that’s consistent, repeatable, and when you can measure that you measure your results. Other programs would be ad hoc, and it would prove to be very inconsistent and the results be inconsistent. With any good program whether its horseback riding, whether its soccer, whether its baseball, is to have a consistent lesson throughout the teachings and that is something kids can really learn from and build upon their knowledge.
Emily: Speak horse for example isnt easy to get, but learning how to do it and repeating it every time, it starts to become natural to you and you become empowered. Unlike other programs, you can walk away from this program [at HoofbeatZ USA] and you learn how to be horsemen. Horsemanship is a huge thing that is overlooked. Someone can hand you horse, you get on, you get off, but then what about all the other stuff? The connection keeps you safe. If your horse knows you can be a leader, then they know they can trust you and respect you, and your success with that horse down the line is going to be immeasurable.
I think a lot of people get stuck in this industry from [the lack of horsemanship]. They rely on a trainer, they rely on somebody to get them past the hard part with a horse, you can only take them as far as they’re willing to go with you, and if you don’t know how to handle those nuances with the horse, you’re not going to succeed. So for me this is empowering me in a way that no other program can.
Scott: I think its translate-able to any leadership position. You have to have confident leadership that knows the full foundation of the business. My family is learning this and I think horsemanship helps them learn that.
When asked about their thoughts on our staff:
Emily: I have rarely found a more welcoming, warm, humble staff that’s willing to work with their clients to have them reach their goals. The partnership between the staff and their clients, you see that they want to develop your long term goal. They really are passionate about forging that connection between their clients and horses.
You can tell they are frustrated from people falling out of this industry because its hard handling 1000 lb animals, its hard being independent in this sport with a horse and not rely on trainers, and so a lot of people fall on the wayside–whether its from bad experiences, being in dangerous situations, falling off horses, being forced to show before even developing your own technique and just seeing the horse industry as a money maker. This is not what this program is about .
You feel the passion here that, “we’re in this to help you get better, and it makes us happy to see you happy.”
Scott: The success of it is because of the ability to train people to be successful. I know my wife being in a lot of programs before this, she would come home and be frustrated by what the trainer was pushing them to do which was 20 steps ahead of her. So in that frustration she would feel defeated, and that takes away the love or enjoyment for riding. Not everyone is looking to compete or show and the environment here that is provided is “tell us what you want to do and where you want to go with this and we can help you get there”
How has your experience been with HoofbeatZ USA?
I was in a rut. I have been able to time travel back to my childhood and be around horses. I love Speak Horse because you get very close and very connected. I like the way the different exercises are affecting my body because i was pretty much a “recliner rider,” and my body didn’t want to work anymore. So the different exercises they have us do…I can feel it reshaping my body as well as my mind.
I think the staff is very good at….I’ve been around horses all my life, but I’ve never been around Speak Horse, and they are very patient and what they say makes sense and they are very patient and friendly and effective. I enjoy Speak Horse. I like being around the horses.
If you have horse experience in your past you get to reconnect with that. If you don’t, you get to have a new adventure.
The Werneck Family
Their daughter Mila attends HoofbeatZ USA for lessons
Jen: My daughter loves it. It’s wonderful. I like that they are teaching all aspects of horsemanship, not just throwing the children on a horse in a regular saddle right away on day one. They are teaching how to handle horses safely and the balance aspect of it, which is so important before they teach them other skills. She loves spending time with the horses and learning all the aspects of horsemanship.
The staff and Eileen are wonderful.
Mila: I have learned a lot of new stuff, like learn how to balance and find a seat on the horse. I wish I could come here everyday.
Elisa & Rich Rusche
Elisa: My experience has been amazing, I have never seen anything like [this program]. The three stages have totally improved my riding skills. My very favorite is the liberty work in Speak Horse. I absolutely love it.
Rich: Mine is also [Speak Horse]. I never understood a horse before, never understood their mannerisms and what they meant; and in just this short amount of time it has opened my eyes considerably. It’s wonderful, it’s absolutely wonderful. It increases your enthusiasm to do it because there is no fear in this program–completely gone.
Elisa: We can’t wait to get back every week. It’s true, we love it.
Experience with the staff:
Rich: Everybody has been spectacular.
Elisa: Wonderful. They all have their specialty and are so good at what they do.
Rich: I can’t say that I’ve ever run into it because nobody is a wrangler here. Everyone is well involved with the horses, so when you get involved with everybody and the horses it’s a well cohesive group.