When I was a kid our family had horses... lots of them... I learned that the horses could be my friends. They were friends I could trust. They were honest and for the most part they were trusting of me, that is until I started getting lots of horse advice. Soon I didn't know where or how to move ahead with the horses and I found myself pursuing other things.
Years later I reconnected with horses after meeting and riding with a few truly great horsemen and there began a journey that I have been on ever since.
I know what it is like to experience that really great connection with a horse and now is my time to share the adventure. I believe that connection is possible for everyone. Our desire for a trusting, harmonious and joyful relationship with the horse must be very clear, and that desire must be much greater than the challenges we will face.
I feel fortunate to have met and rode with the late Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance and later with Buck Brannaman back in the 80’s and 90’s. In the 90’s I was inspired to begin to help other horse owners create better partnerships through private and group lessons. At around that time I began to dream about creating the perfect experiential facility to share and develop harmonious partnerships.
I still remember as a child my love for horses. I watched a movie that left a lasting impression upon me about a young boy and his horse. The partnership seemed to be based on trust, and was beautifully touching. This is the basis for my horse journey.
I grew up in the city, yet had ample opportunities to be with horses and ponies. When one has a deep desire, it seems nothing can stop it. At the age of 12, my sister and I bought a horse.
In the later 90’s I was very devoted to dressage. I purchased a Thoroughbred off the track who I later learned was troubled and I did not have the skills to help him. This horse was my ticket back to focusing on the partnership aspect and I was lead to a wonderful teacher, Greg Eliel, a student of Buck Brannaman.
It wasn't long after my commitment with this way of working with the horse that I began teaching horsemanship part time through private lessons and training others horses. I continued teaching horsemanship part time while working full time until Robert and I decided to create a partnership together.
Robert and Janet Phinney
A logical next step for both of us was to create a partnership through marriage and to create new opportunities through building a successful horsemanship business together. In 2006 we began teaching part time together through private and group lessons as well as clinics here in the northwest and began expanding on his dream to create an experiential facility at our home.
Prior to 2010, we both taught horsemanship part time from the early and late 90s’s until 2010. Since 2010, we have been successfully helping folks with their horses build strong partnership through private and group lessons and clinics full time. We are recently taking horses in for training during the late spring-early fall months. Our teaching styles are different which we have found to be a great asset in helping our clients deepen their understanding.
We have been blessed with wonderful teachers, both horses and humans, and continue to be so. We have learned that there is no end to this journey and that it can keep getting better. We want to thank you for reading our website. You are the reason we teach and we are thankful for all that we learn through aspiring to be the best teachers and horseman we can be.
Madison is our boss mare. She is extremely confident and capable of doing almost any ranch task requested. She epitomizes what a lead mare should be in assuming her role as caretaker of the herd. As my partner, she has taught me the importance of being the leader of the dance.
Jasper is a big, strong and personable horse who can get a little worried from time to time, but with reassurance from me , will try anything. He is just one of those horses you always feel good about bringing in, knowing the job is going to be a success.
Cholo is my greenest horse, my most athletic, most forward, very willing, and my lightest horse. He is a fun horse to work with while teaching.
Annie has a huge try in her and a matching zest for life. She is very communicative in her expressions and actions. One of the best things Annie has taught me is not to pull on the reins.
Ruby has taught me patience and honesty. I have taken her from being pushy to creating fear in her, back to a solid ranch horse who likes to jump and is now dabbling in dressage. This picture shows her trying her best what the little girl wants while keeping her safe.
Cricket - in training
Cricket's protective layer is pushy and impulsive. She clearly had a tough go somewhere in her past. She can be incredibly light and responsive when I expect this from her and ask her in a way that allows her to be light and responsive, and has taught me how to gain a better feel of a horse.
Penny - in training
Penny had a lot of fear and distrust in the human. It seems she was pushed too hard in her past and never learned to find peace through moving her feet. She is a love when she is trusted and has a huge try when given the chance, but is often skeptical of the opportunity. She has taught me that one must give trust and respect before one can receive it.