rw: As horse trainer your style of training is unique
Pam: I really enjoy helping horse owners understand where their horses are coming from. Most of the time horses aren’t being stubborn, they're just confused or afraid.
I love to help as many people as I can with my method:
I’m not a horse whisperer, I’m a horse listener.
I listen well. I’m kind, but I can be really tough. Over the years I’ve learned how to avoid fights with horses: you turn them out, you let them run. Give your horses free time; don’t just keep them in a box stall and then expect them to only work and train.
I found I love the blend of lower level dressage and trail riding. It makes people happy, and also makes the horses happy. Dressage is like yoga for horses, while trail riding is like giving back to the horse by giving them a break from the technical and demanding practice of dressage.
rw: Tell me about a favorite horse you’ve worked with.
Pam: Shady was my first horse I got when I was 13. She was a thoroughbred and was wonderful. I bought her for $400 in 1974 and trained her myself, winning rows of ribbons at shows. Just 4 years later I was offered $15,000 for her by a famous trainer. She was a giving and kind horse, who taught me what a good horse should feel like. I bred her and kept her daughter, Astar, who I just lost at the age of 31.
Shady gave me the confidence to get into the business of horse training. Her daughter, Astar, had so many issues that after ten years of training her, I knew I could handle any horse. My clients’ horses fall in-between those two horse personalities.
rw: So, it seems you’ve always been, on some level, a trainer. Did you ride competitively?
Pam: I showed Hunter-Jumper from the early 1970s through the mid '90s. At the age of seventeen I was an ETI Queen and went to Nationals with my crown. In my 20's I studied dressage which led me to compete in Three Day Eventing for a couple of decades.
rw: Who’s easier to train: the horse or the rider?
Pam: The horse. I’ve been doing it for so long I can adapt to the horse. People will want to pretend they know more than they do, but I understand that and can work with them.
rw: What advice would you give to someone who’s never ridden before and is interested in starting?
Find a safe and kind instructor. I find out what my clients' goals are: pleasure riding or competitive riding. If they like a horse with a lot of energy or just a slow horse. I don't have an agenda for anyone; I want to help each rider find a horse that fits their needs. I am a coach for the rider, as well as a trainer to the horse. Not many horse trainers do both. I’ve developed my own philosophy with this combination.