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  • butchdunlop

My Personal Bio

Like many of you, my love of horses began at an early age. At four years old, I frequently talked about riding and owning horses. By the time I was nine, I had the opportunity to hang out at a local stable. I became that "annoying" barn kid who spent every possible moment there. Four years later I was asked to work at the stable leading trail rides. My main lead horse, Snickers, became my very own that summer! My parents allowed me to purchase Snickers (with my own money) thinking I would become bored going to the barn everyday. Little did they know!

Two years later, my beautiful Babe came into my life. Thus the journey began: trail riding, showing, jumping and passing Parelli Level 1. Opportunities began to unfold including a few training horses, lessons, and the highlight of co-hosting the first PNH clinic in our area when I was 18. This is where I first met Barb Apple. She invited me to Oregon as a working student at her ranch. Here I first heard the saying, "frog legs on a ball." Little did I know that saying would become a staple in my horsemanship years later. After three months of 'working to learn,' I returned to Michigan and completed my RN degree. I then relocated to Wisconsin, eventually marrying a man who loved me enough to tolerate my passion.

In the winter of 2009, Steve and I opened Breezy Acres Stable in Oconto, WI. It was here that one of my boarders introduced me to Connected Riding. While auditing a clinic and seven months pregnant for child number three, I was blessed to meet Peggy Cummings and learn the words neutral pelvis. Again I had no idea the impact this would have in my horsemanship.

Natural horsemanship was my main focus at this time with Connected Riding being an interesting thing to do. I had wonderful Natural horsemanship teachers, Molly Mueller and Lee Smith who gave me the gift of understanding what horses need from us and how to be a leader for them. Gypsy, my second heart horse, reinforced this concept immensely. Gypsy had a solid foundation but had lost trust in humans due to poor treatment. Through the work of natural horsemanship, we were able to help her regain her trust in people.

A year after meeting Peggy, Debbie Davies presented a clinic that I audited. She amazed me with her vast knowledge of the horse physically, mentally and emotionally. Although I had come so far with Gypsy, we still had missing pieces. I was beyond humbled at a clinic 4 years ago when Gypsy’s attachment to another horse became the focus of the clinic. Debbie was teaching this clinic and under her watchful eye, I had no choice but to do only connected groundwork exercises. After a long ten minutes of attempting to release endorphins by simple mouth work exercises, Gypsy finally breathed out and truly relaxed. I went home and committed to doing connected groundwork for two weeks straight. The changes I saw were beyond amazing and I have made this the focus of my horsemanship.

I wanted to be a horse trainer since I can remember. My parents couldn’t see that as a career and I was “forced” to go to college. God has a plan and my nursing career has tied in perfectly with my passion for the equine body. The idea of becoming a connected riding practitioner still seemed out of reach. But in 2018, I was able to take my first course in preparing to do just that- become a practitioner! My third course will be in August. In addition to these courses, I’ve had the opportunity to host Debbie at our barn for numerous clinics. I've also taken a passion to the study of equine anatomy. I am certified in equine massage therapy and myofascial release. There is always something to learn and I cannot wait for my next endeavor. My desire is to continue to seek knowledge in order to educate and help horses and humans. Watching my students and children grow and learn this type of horsemanship is truly an honor.

The greatest moment is when I’m with a horse, especially a horse labeled as difficult, and they’re able to release. I feel the horse simply say, “thank you” and there is an emotion with that moment that is hard to explain.

My goal is to share this passion with others. My workshops and lessons offer a combo of equine anatomy, human anatomy, and simple exercises to release bracing patterns, and how to ride our horses in order to enhance their physical well being.

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