I've been very fortunate that I've almost always had at least one horse in my life. From the time I
was a child I've enjoyed horses in many aspects, from someone to share my secrets with and just
pure pleasure, to competition, and now to a breeding venture. If you're interested in visiting my
herd of Egyptian Arabians, click here to go to our sister site, Empire Egyptians.
I first became a true student of the horse when I met my new best friend and teacher, WW Night
Shift+. At the time, he was a green broke 3 year old with a reputation for "a bit of an attitude" about
working. He and I became fast partners over the ensuing years as he explained to me that all I had
to do was ask him correctly, and he would be more than willing to oblige. We've been together now
for 19 years, and he's still teaching me daily about the Language of Equus.
I've ridden horses from the time I was a child. Some 30+ years later, I met Night Shift, who was
quick to tell me I didn't know very much. Of course, he was not very experienced about saddle
work, so it took a while before I really started listening. I think maybe I was bit deaf for the first few
years! At the time, I was trying to compete in Western Pleasure. I was told by my riding instructors
and trainers to get out the spurs because he wasn't forward enough, to bit him up and stand him in
the stall for an hour a day, and to ride him through his adverse refusals. In each instance, he just got
more resistant. Spurs sent him directly into the air. I was getting more and more frustrated with
him. The horse I started out loving to ride was turning out to be my nemesis.
Ultimately, I quit taking riding lessons and left my trainers. I had to find a way to communicate with
this horse. He and I worked quietly at home together - and step by step we both went back to basics.
I removed all the equipment we had gathered - including the saddle. I learned to move with him
instead of against him. I felt how, with each turn of his head, his balance changed. I learned to ride
his instincts and understand his natural mechanics. He gave me the foundation for the MEA way.
When I put the saddle and bridle back on, we were a whole new pair - We were a team. That year we
went on to win championship after championship in both western and english seats, along with trail
classes. As it turned out, he already knew everything I needed him to know across the disciplines! It
was me who didn't know how to ask him in a way that he would immediately and automatically do it!
I was a college professor before I "retired" to breed and study the horse. I enjoy teaching, and want
to share the information I've gained with interested owners. I follow an educational philosophy,
rather than "training." If you listen carefully, your horse will train you to understand - and willingly
engage with you.
The MEA Programs
Copyright 2010 The MEA Programs
6927 Oxford Rd Timberlake, NC 27583
The Natural Horse
I started my breeding program some 15 years or so ago. The horses live as natural a life as I can provide for them. The numbers have varied
from 30 to 55 over the years. They enjoy rolling hills, ponds, creeks, and woods! Mares and foals live among the other horses. Our stallion lives
with a mare and most of his breeding is the good old-fashioned way - Natural cover. His field overlooks the mare and baby fields, so he can tend
to his herd role - protector and guardian. He's a very happy guy.
The amount of information these horses have given me over the years is immeasurable. Each day, they're still teaching me what it takes to
communicate - on their terms. Essentially, they taught me their language and I've found that it's a much better way to go than to try to teach
them our human language. They simply don't understand humans very well. We're mostly unaware of our body language and silent signals.
Those unintentional signals confuse the horse, and unwanted behaviors appear as a result.
Training in Equus
My philosophy is to teach owners why certain behaviors appear, and then coach them to effectively engage with the horse. My recipes are not
"how to" oriented. By teaching owners to understand the "why," they can work through any problem they encounter. From trailer loading to
clipping to riding, owners learn how to get willing cooperation from their horse.
My programs are not focused around what I can do with a horse. What matters most is - What You can do with Your Horse!
By nature, the horse is not a resistant creature. We humans accidentally and unintentionally create resistance and refusals.