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Profile On: Nathan Harvey, Para Equestrian

Para Equestrian Nathan Harvey was kind enough to answer some questions about his love of horses and his riding career.  Read on!

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Every day I am with my horses. They are a full time job because I also go to farms and Horse Studs to volunteer my labor in return for a contribution to my fund-raising to compete to Boneo Spring Championships. After my volunteer work, I come home to work both my competition horses, I spend a lot of time with my horses besides riding, and I love hugging them both in their paddock. Dom and Flip have very loving personalities.

Para Equestrian Nathan Harvey Riding Kiteroa Dominic

Para Equestrian Nathan Harvey Riding Kiteroa Dominic

What is it exactly that you do?
I ride both Open Official competition Dressage as well as Para equestrian Dressage which is much more difficult – I am Grade V which is equivalent to Elementary Medium movements.

I love riding Open official, I don’t feel disabled, my horses are my eyes, I train in an arena all the time so I memorize every inch. My Mum calls the test in a way so I know when the next movement and letter is coming up. I just love the sport and I love my horses.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Eventually I want to make an income from what I love doing.  I stick pretty well to a horse, and have been taught from the best – Tor Van den berg – Tammy Stephenson – Sue Hearn – Brett Parbery – Sue Cunningham – Linda Treur – and my regular coach Nicole MaGoffin.

Para Equestrian Nathan Harvey Riding Aquabatic

Para Equestrian Nathan Harvey Riding Aquabatic

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I want to train horses and I also want to become an Instructor. Up until now this was impossible because I could not see the work for the theory – now my eye-sight has deteriorated to B1.

Consequently, I now qualify for a grant to buy an Electric magnifying digital screen, this allows me to see the letters of a document and be able to do courses and may go to university. But nothing beats training and teaching.  This is what I want to do and like anything – if I work hard I will succeed.

Nathan Harvey Riding Kiteroa Dominic

Nathan Harvey Riding Kiteroa Dominic

Favourite horse memory?
My favorite horse memory is the Pony Club Camps when we were kids, I used to sneak to the stable with my sleeping bag and sleep with my horse. I loved jumping when I had sight – but most of all, now I don’t have sight I can feel so much more of what my horse is capable of and I know what they are thinking. I am achieving better results this year.

Future goals?
My goals are to achieve high scores in para Equestrian FEI tests, Open tests against able bodied riders.  I would also like to get my horses to Intermediate and ready for Big tours; that would be fabulous! My ultimate goal is to ride internationally for my beautiful country. I have an 8 year plan.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about my sport and profession is the support from my sponsors: Kieffer, Noble Outfitters Australia, Peter Williams Riding Apparel, ShowStoppers Equestrian Apparel, Earlwood Equine, Prestige Horse Transport and Euro Horseware.

The best thing is having people wait for me at Dressage Events, I have met so many people who have disabilities that come especially to watch my horses and I perform. I have made lifelong friends.

Profile On: Henrietta Purvis, Purvis Feeds

Henrietta Purvis, of Purvis Feeds in New Zealand was kind enough to answer some questions about what she does.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Every day of my week is related to horses.

Henrietta Purvis of Purvis Feeds

Henrietta Purvis of Purvis Feeds

What is it exactly that you do?
My husband and I started Purvis Feeds Ltd in 2005 and we make lucerne (alfalfa) chaff which is primarily for the equestrian market. We supply the main retailers in the south island of New Zealand.  We grow our own lucerne and also buy in from Central Otago which has an amazing climate for growing premium quality lucerne.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Year on year our business has grown. My husband also pregnancy scans sheep, cattle and deer and as sales of chaff increase, he downsizes the amount of scanning he does.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
We are passionate about our product and are always looking at ways to keep up to date with the new innovations in Europe/Australia/Canada.

Henrietta Purvis of Purvis Feeds

Henrietta Purvis of Purvis Feeds

Favourite horse memory?
We own 3 Quarter Horses and compete in rodeos countrywide. My husband is a team roper and I barrel race.  I have consistently been in the top 4 during the past 10 seasons. My favourite horse memory was winning 5 barrel races in 5 days!

Future goals?
Our aim is to grow our feed business further and maybe look at cutting other products such as Timothy grass and Oats. We employ one man on average 2 days a week to help with packing and tractor duties.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
It is awesome to be able to go to rodeos and see bags of Purvis Lucerne Chaff in competitors’ trucks.  This is also a great way of keeping in touch with our customers.

Profile On: Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
The awesome thing about this question is there is rarely a day that goes by let alone a week that isn’t related to horses in one way or another. I can be on the road working as a Certified Saddle fit Technician for Schleese Saddlery from early mornings till late at night.  Still somehow I end up at the barn where I board my horse even if it is just for a quick brush or ride.

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

I am also a Registered Equine Massage Therapist.  When I am not fitting saddles or with my own horse, I might just be found at another barn treating a horse.

What is it exactly that you do?
Being a Certified Saddle Fit Technician, my role is creating the optimal saddle fit for horse and also rider. So there are certain territories that I travel along with a client success manager.  In Ontario I take on both those roles. I am responsible for booking all my appointments in Ontario and servicing the saddles.  Some are refitting existing saddles or helping new clients find the right saddle for their horse(s) and themselves. I spend most of my time on the road travelling from barn to barn.  I also work trade shows and do lectures in barns. The lectures are on the areas where a saddle should sit and also where it needs to stay clear from to allow for optimal long term riding to prevent any long term damage.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
This has most definitely become my full time profession. I would say “yes” you can earn a liveable income.  It is just like anything, the more you put in well of course you can see the more comes out!  My response to this question as it is the same for Alexa and myself, is the same answer.

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Saddlefit4Life is a non-profit organization that provides education and certification in the assessment of saddle fit for horse and rider. I encourage anyone interested in assessing and fitting saddles to research Saddlefit4Life, the fitting philosophy, and upcoming courses and events.

Saddlefit4Life offers a range of educational opportunities.  This is from introductory seminars to intensive courses for those interested in learning more about pain free saddle fit.

Favourite horse memory?
When the Obrigado model came out and I was able to take it for a test ride.  I can’t really put into words what the feeling was like, I will try though… It is like that feeling when you just become one with your horse. With the shorter pommel sitting over the horse’s strongest point of their back lets you feel like you can lift them up so lightly with every stride and just float.

I feel blessed to have a technical feeling when it comes to saddle fit. Horses can feel a fly land on their skin.  So when I can make what might feel like a small adjustment, to them it feels so big. I have such a large box of great memories.  Especially during every saddle fit appointment when you can see that horse moves more free, taking that bigger stride, and the rider saying the “shoulders feel so much freer” just makes my day!

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

Julia Dixon, Saddle Fit Technician

Future goals?
I am always looking for ways to better myself and learn ways to help horses. My goals are to help as many people suffering with lower back pain, something I have had in the past.  Knowing what I know about how saddles can help with that, drives me to help anyone that has maybe stopped ridding and could possibly ride again. Which in turn follows our saddle fit 4 life in protecting as many horses and riders from long term damage as possible 🙂

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Working with the horses and people I get to. Most people may think “horse people” are sort of their own breed.  They may not be far off, but I wouldn’t change for a minute to people I have met over the years.  And seeing their horses change in positive ways over the years.

Every time I measure a horse and get to go over the numbers with the owner is such an added bonus. Most times it shows how well the owner has ridden the horse.  And how positive the changes are and with that is its weight in gold. The smile on their faces, knowing how well all their hard work has paid off is just an awesome feeling.  I am so lucky I get to share that with them.

Profile On: Alexa Frye, Regional Client Services Manager, Schleese Saddlery

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I am happy to be able to say that the vast majority of my week, both professional and personal, is related to horses. When I’m not traveling to barns for my job as a Regional Client Services Manager for Schleese Saddlery, I am working from home and spending most of my free time riding my own horse.

Alexa Frye, Regional Client Services Manager, Schleese Saddlery

Alexa Frye, Regional Client Services Manager, Schleese Saddlery

What is it exactly that you do?
I am a Regional Client Services Manager for Schleese Saddlery. I travel to different territories on regularly scheduled Saddle Fit Clinics.  We provide saddle fitting services to new clients seeking an optimally fitting saddle for horse and rider and to our existing clients in need of routine saddle fitting adjustments.

My primary role is to create and maintain lasting relationships with our new and existing clients and with equine professionals to promote Schleese Saddlery and our saddle fit philosophy of pain free riding for horse and rider. I travel with a teammate who is a Certified Saddle Fit Technician, and together we provide thorough assessment, education, and offer solutions to saddle fit needs.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes! We work hard and love what we do, and we are fortunate to be able to make a sustainable income doing something that is really a lot of fun.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Saddlefit4Life is a non-profit organization that provides education and certification in the assessment of saddle fit for horse and rider. I encourage anyone interested in assessing and fitting saddles to research Saddlefit4Life, the fitting philosophy, and upcoming courses and events. Saddlefit4Life offers a range of educational opportunities from introductory seminars to intensive courses for those interested in learning more about pain free saddle fit.

Favourite horse memory?
It’s safe to say that most of my favorite memories are horse related! Personally, my favorite memory with my own horse was showing our fourth level freestyle test that we prepared. The whole process of choreographing the test and arranging the music with a wonderful clinician, to schooling the test and finally culminating the experience in showing the test was a wonderful goal that we achieved together.

I also have many wonderful work related horse memories. One that particularly sticks out in my mind is when we were consulted on a horse that refused to move forward in his current saddle. The saddle was restricting his shoulder movement and literally blocking him from moving forward. We identified the problems and provided him with a well-fitting saddle. The immediate, drastic difference in the horse under saddle was incredible. He became a completely different animal; moving forward freely, happily and relaxed. I am lucky to have many other memories just like this in my job.

Alexa Frye Riding

Alexa Frye Riding

Future goals?
My goals focus on continuing to promote pain free saddle fit for horse and rider. I look forward to continuing to provide educational opportunities to Equine Universities, groups and events to reach those in the equestrian community that are in search of safe and comfortable saddle fit.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about my profession is that it allows me to spend every day in the barn with horses.  I can’t imagine a better place to spend my time! We get to provide helpful, integral, important information and solutions to riders who want their horses to be happy, healthy and also comfortable in their saddles. We have the opportunity to watch our clients and their horses grow and progress in their training together and to be a witness to their journeys.

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Profile On: Bob Bilger, Horse Trainer

Horse trainer Bob Bilger was kind enough to answer some questions about the work he does at Horse Training with Bilger.  You can find his answers below.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
All of it, and many weekends as well.

What is it exactly that you do?
Education and truth about working with the horse and also how to quickly be respected and a leader by any horse.

Bob Bilger of Horse Training with Bilger

Bob Bilger of Horse Training with Bilger

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes, especially if you are an expert at what you do, a good listener and also a great teacher.

Bob Bilger, Horse Training with Bilger

Bob Bilger, Horse Training with Bilger

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Apprentice with someone that is a true expert in their field. This is not something to be learned from our educational systems in place today.  Or from the Internet, CD’s, DVD’s, Etc..

Favorite horse memory?
Last ride in championship jackpot sorting cattle against the clock, 2 men, 10 cattle, 34 seconds start to finish, in order, to win the whole thing! Best part, was riding my favorite paint mare out of the pasture, bareback with spurs on and sand flying 🙂 !

Future goals?
STOP the USA Bureau of Land Management from removing, traumatizing, killing and stockpiling Wild Horses and Burro’s that Federal Laws were passed to protect!

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The rewards every day of working with a horse and also developing a true partnership that allows the horse to choose to respect the human as a leader.  This makes a safe and excellent learning experience for both!

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ― William Shakespeare

Profile On: Marilyn J Agee, Horse Property Real Estate Agent

What is it exactly that you do?
I am a Real Estate Agent specializing in horse property, farm, ranch and land. I own 5 horses so I know what it takes to purchase property that suits their specific needs.

Premier Town and Country Realty Logo

Premier Town and Country Realty Logo

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes it can be very lucrative. But my focus is more about helping people.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Over 600 hours of study and a state exam and license approval by the Texas and National Association of Realtors.  Plus continuing education each year to maintain my license.

Favourite horse memory?
That’s a hard one. Was it my first ride when I was 3, was it when I won a first place ribbon for jumping when I was 12? Or was it when I bought my first horse Chochese an Appaloosa when I was 21, was it when I purchased my heart horse KoKo 10 years ago?

Or when I decided to take a new softer approach to training because she had shut down. It took about a year and a half to gain her trust but when I first saw her with a big swinging walk and a very confident tail lift as if she owned the world. I think that was it.

Future goals?
My future goals are to help people find that perfect horse, farm, ranch or land to build their dream home. I love helping people find the right fit for their specific needs.

Marilyn

Marilyn Agee, Horse Property Real Estate Agent

Buying a ranch or farm or next home is usually the largest investment people will make in their life. I want to help make that investment/home for their families and animals be everything they want. Most of my business comes from referrals and I’m proud of that.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I get to work with horse people mostly, I understand their needs. It’s not just a home to them it’s a home for their horses and horses have special needs. I know what they are.

Being outdoors showing properties in the country is something I love. I also love talking about horses but any farm animals, or crops or whatever their focus is. I have a Farm and Ranch Certification, I am a preferred Texas Veterans Agent, I have a GREEN certification, and am a Premiere Luxury Marketing Consultant.

Profile On: Blair McKissock, Director of Education at Strides to Success

Blair McKissock was kind enough to answer some questions about her work with Strides to Success.

Strides to Success Logo

Strides to Success Logo

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
60+ hours of what I do every week is related to horses. This includes direct service with clients, the marketing and training program coordination, proctoring online coursework and facilitating training programs.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am the director of education for Strides to Success in Indiana. My job is to implement and coordinate special programs.  I write the programs up to be published as curricula and resources for the industry, and facilitate the HorseWork Education training program.  I also coordinate the online courses, provide direct service in equine assisted learning and therapy.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes!! If you create a diverse stream of income.  Also, collaborate with other organizations in your area, do your homework on the program planning process to accurately match your programs to the needs in your community.  And if you are passionate enough to persevere through the hard stuff.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Certification through a credible program, experience and skill with both horses and humans, good partnership with a barn or barn of your own, desire to never stop learning!

Favourite horse memory?
There are so many it’s hard to choose.  This one in particular was the foundation for the Equiyo-yoga on horseback book so is it special to me.

I had been working with a client with multiple sclerosis.  She would get on her horse and proceed to canter lap after lap. She was very high energy but would never talk about her diminishing ability to maintain balance and her decrease in strength as the disease progresses.

Every lesson it would take her a long time to mellow out and encourage the horse to walk. You could tell that the horse was clearly reflecting the excess energy and whirlwind that must have been in the rider’s head. One day we spent time focusing on breath work and talking about her situation before she even got on.

After she mounted we moved through some basic yogic breathing and posture work so she could feel the horse move under her. She began to talk about her fear related to her decline. As she talked, the horse took a huge breath and immediately the horse calmly walked. Once she acknowledged that she kept herself busy so she intentionally didn’t notice or pay attention to what was going on in her body, things changed between her and the horse. It was amazing to see!

A Workshop at Strides to Success

A Workshop at Strides to Success

Future goals?
My goal is to continue doing what I am doing but take it to the next level. My professional goal is to continue supporting the industry through committee work with professional organizations.  The aim is to develop guidelines so that as we move forward, we will be on the right track to protect the integrity of what we do.  This will help keep both clients and horses safe.

I also want to create more curriculum and resources that have been on the back burner for a while.  As well as take this work and teach more on a regular basis at the University level to help establish academic programs for training and certification.

Currently I teach online courses through Strides to Success including an online therapeutic riding apprentice course.  I want to expand those to make continuing education as affordable and accessible as possible. My hope is that things are set up for the next generation of equine professionals to take the reins and go further than we have dreamed of.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing is that it is just the beginning. We are learning more and more every day about how interaction between horses and humans can be so beneficial to both. There is so much more to learn and explore.  And lots of opportunity for people to jump into this industry and help blaze trails! This can also present quite a challenge to people who are just starting out and are trying to figure out how to get the training and experience they need to do the work safely and effectively.

Every person who hangs a shingle and facilitates equine assisted learning and therapy as their profession represents the entire industry. Since we are growing and becoming recognized, that means we are under ever greater scrutiny.  Therefore we need to take our ethical and professional responsibilities seriously.

There is very little oversight or accreditation within our industry currently. There are organizations beginning to go through that process and things will change. But it is highly recommended to new professionals that they do their homework on those they get training through. There is a great resource on the PATHIntl.org website on equine assisted learning competencies and guidelines. These can be a great benchmark to compare the content and outcomes of a training you are considering before you invest money.

Debbie Anderson, the executive director of Strides to Success and I spent years working with PATH International.  This was alongside a fabulous team of industry experts to develop those and hope they become a resource for the industry moving forward.

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Profile On: Elena Bajona, Equine Behaviourist and Therapist

Equine behaviourist and therapist Elena Bajona was kind enough to answer some questions about what she does at Animantia. Her answers can be found below.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I am dedicated to horses 24/7

Elena Bajona, Equine Behaviourist and Therapist

Elena Bajona, Equine Behaviourist and Therapist

What is it exactly that you do?

  1. Experienced Equine Manager – Charming and friendly with excellent management skills and very good understanding of the variables in the horse breeding industry.
  2. Equine applied behaviorist & therapist – Specialized in equine welfare, in cognitive behavioral therapies and massages for horses.
  3. Talented trainer with extensive experience in the horse industry and multiple residences abroad.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
In Italy is very difficult, that is why I want to relocate.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Have excellent experience.  Be honest, love animals and have a lot of compassion.

Favourite horse memory?
My first horse I saved who passed away a few days ago. She has filled my life with huge emotional moments.

Future goals?
Work for a high – end professional breeding center, stud, training center, horse rescue center. I am willing to relocate because in Italy the Horse Industry is decreasing each year and nowadays my experience and expertise are more sought-after and appreciated outside of Italy. Furthermore I would like to put my expertise into the hands of people who can appreciate my expertise including my total respect for the nature of the horse.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I am feeling satisfied and happy when I know I can use my expertise to help horses and people.

“A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.” ― Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Profile On: Marty Clark of Major’s Horse Massage

Marty Clark runs a horse massage business, Major’s Horse Massage.  She has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about what she does.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Half of my week is taken up with horses, as I do not own a horse and I only do this work on a part-time basis.

What is it exactly that you do?
My name is Marty Clark, I do equine bodywork, and the name of my business is Major’s Horse Massage.

Marty Clark, Major's Horse Massage

Marty Clark, Major’s Horse Massage

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
I do this only on a part-time basis, but I believe if you worked much harder than I do, you could make a living in this business.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I became certified through Equitouch Systems a few years ago, which gave me a certification in Equine Sports Massage Therapy. I am currently seeking an advanced certification in the Masterson Method. The latter is not required (though extremely desirable), but some form of professional certification is required.

Favourite horse memory?
I am afraid that I do not have a favorite horse memory. Although I volunteer at a therapy barn, I do find that rewarding. Therapy horses are put through the paces due to the varying types of clients who ride them; I derive a sense of satisfaction knowing that what I do helps the horses serve their students better.

Future goals?
My future goal is to obviously grow my business, but more to obtain a Masterson Method Practitioner Certification, an arduous, but rewarding journey.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Best part of horse massage? There is NO stress and it is all about standing right next to your best friend!

Profile On: J. Alonzo Cavazos of Ooh La Leche

J. Alonzo Cavazos was kind enough to answer some questions about a unique horse business – Ooh La Leche Mare’s Milk – set up in the United States. You can read the answers below.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Being as to how I am at the helm of our company and online store, I spend approximately 30 hours a week in the business.

Ooh La Leche Mare's Milk

Ooh La Leche Mare’s Milk

What is it exactly that you do?
We are producers of mare’s milk and mare’s milk products right here in the United States.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
In this profession it is definitely feasible to work full time and earn a great living. The Mares Milk Industry is booming in Europe and Asia.  We are also on the rise here in the United States.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
First and foremost, the owner/founder of our company worked hand in hand with an Amish Community for several decades before being able to start the business. He traveled to Europe and met with Mares Milk business owners in order to learn all about the Industry. A lot of time and preparation took place before opening our online store.

Ooh La Leche Mare's Milk

Ooh La Leche Mare’s Milk

Future goals?
Our future goals are to introduce several new products to our inventory. We will be adding 100% All Natural mare’s milk capsules and mare’s milk pouches in the near future. At this very moment we are also seeking investors. Business oriented individuals that will not only invest money into our company, but individuals willing to partner with us and help us in our future decisions.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about this business is that I’ve learned so much about mares and the entire industry that revolves around mare’s milk.

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