• Busy, busy, busy...

    Busy, busy, busy...

    Howdy Folks,

    It's been an exciting summer so far! After all of that rain the horses are definitely enjoying the nice weather and so am I. Over the winter I did a lot of program collaborating with the Dual King Ranch as their volunteer program director and now it's time to shift gears and hit the ground running with Braided Tales. This winter I also had the fortunate opportunity to meet these two cuties! Meet Apache and Cheyenne. They are 23 years old and they are brothers.

    Their current owners recued them from slaughter when they where yearlings and have had a happy, healthy life living on 70 acres in Willits, my hometown. I received a call from their loving owners who are moving out of the country and aren't able to take their beloved horses with them. They have offered to donate them to Braided Tales along with all of their tack and horse trailer. I had to sit down and catch my breath when I got the call. It's been challenging to get Braided Tales up and running and this is a huge contribution to the program. 

    Apache and Cheyenne are very special horses and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them over the last coupe of months. Apache is the investigator and questions pretty much everything...Cheyenne's MO is snuggling and loves his big brother. Their personalities are night and day and I always look forward to my visits with them.

    In preparation for taking them on, I am putting my application in for the upcoming grant competition, Startup Mendocino. If I am able to get this grant, it will allow me to finally launch Braided Tales! It's been a very exciting start to the summer and I can't wait to see what is in store. In the meantime, I am searching for the right location for Braided Tales and visiting these two fellas on a regular bases.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank some of the people who have supported me on this journey…

    My family and friends, my business coach Steve Lamb, The Redwood Empire Trail Riders, JoAnne and Johnny Buergler, the Petersen family, the Bray family, Harmony Gaits, Dark Horse Medicine, my many mentors that I have had over the years, Cathy and Bill Brown and everyone that has watched and supported as Braided Tales has grown. I wouldn’t be able to do this without you!

    From the bottom of my heart, thank you!!!

    Happy trails from Braided Tales!

    Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.

    (John Wayne)

  • Equine Assisted Learning and the art of Facilitation

    Howdy folks,

    Fall has officially arrived and I have been reflecting on the development of the program this summer. The Certification Clinic at Okay Corral has given me the ability to bring new practices into my program, which I am so excited to share with you!

    The most amazing thing happened with a client. I had an adorable 6 year old boy come to the program. When he arrived he kept his eyes under his hat and didn't say much. He did not have any experience with horses and was afraid of them. He clung to me and hid behind me when Cactus Jack came over to inspect the new human in his pasture. After a few moments of uncertainty, I asked the little boy to go introduce himself to one of the horses. He cautiously walked over to another horse and began awkwardly trying to pet her. With a few glances in my direction he began to step a little closer to her. After a while he came back over and I asked him, "Why did you pick this horse?" He said, "Because she is like me." "How is she like you?" I asked him. He replied, "She is small." He picked a horse that was the most like him and in his eyes, the least threatening. Smart!

    A moment later a barn mate came out to the pasture to get a horse and Cactus Jack seized the opportunity to slip out of the gate into the next pasture, because of course it's always greener on the other side, right? I thought to myself, the perfect opportunity to solve a problem just presented itself. So I told the little boy we have to catch this horse. To do this we need some tools. Off to the barn we went for a halter and a lead rope. We came back to find Cactus Jack contently munching away and quite smitten with his little escape. I said, "Okay, you have these tools in your hands and we have to get Cactus Jack back on the other side of this fence. Go catch him." I did not tell the little boy how the halter and lead worked or how to even approach the horse. Off he went into the pasture. I sat at the fence line and watched. You could see the wheels turning in his head. He looked at the halter and then at the horse, then at me and back at the halter. He fumbled with it and examined the chords and how they where tied together. He inspected all of the different shapes and sizes the openings made. He stretched the lead out to see how long it was.

    After a thorough inspection of the tools he had in his hands he began figuring out how to approach the horse with them. He struggled and struggled some more. He looked to me for help and I did something that I have a very hard time doing when I see someone that needs help. I continued to let him struggle. Humans have an inclination to run to the rescue when they see another suffering or struggling. But that is one of the things that is at the heart of facilitation; Giving someone the opportunity to problem solve, find an answer for themselves rather than teaching them to be like you, you teach them to be more like themselves. In this struggle, when in a safe and non-threatening environment, you can find confidence and build problem-solving skills that support creative and independent thinking.

    When the little boy became discouraged and threw the halter and lead on the ground, we stopped and reevaluated our tools and brainstormed different ways they could be used. With that new information, he approached the situation again and within 30 minutes he had caught Cactus Jack completely on his own. He realized he was too short to tie the halter around the top of the horses head but from his intense investigation of the tools he had, he came to the conclusion that the loop that would normally be used to tie, opened up big enough to slide over the horses head. He also realized that he could take advantage of Cactus Jack's appetite by doing this while his head was lowered to grab a mouth full of grass. If he had not had the time to struggle with the task, he would not have had the time to make his own observations about the situation and create his own solution.

    After he very excitedly led Cactus Jack back into the pasture where he escaped from, I asked him if he would like to introduce himself to another horse. He nodded and began looking around at the other horses. He began walking out into the pasture and found himself face to face with the biggest horse in the herd. He did not hesitate for a moment. He slipped the loop over his head and they meandered around the pasture together.

    Within an hour, this little boy went from being scared and hiding behind me to catching and leading the biggest horse in the heard and he did it on his own terms. The aspect of facilitation in this work is so incredibly powerful. This little boy who was intelligent, inquisitive and curious found confidence through problem solving, observation and perseverance. It is these interactions that create opportunities for growth and learning. For me, it was a big learning experience in observation and waiting. I learned so much more about this little boy from letting him learn rather than trying to teach him and knowing when to intervene and when to sit back.

    He walked over to his parents just beaming and grinning from ear to ear. Who would have known all of that was under that little hat when he arrived so timidly. I think I was just as excited as he was. The art of facilitation is a truly magical process!

    Happt trails from Braided Tales!


    Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self-esteem. 
    They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls. They give us hope!

    -Toni Robinson

  • Meet Cactus Jack aka CJ!

    Meet Cactus Jack aka CJ!

    Well...It's finally happening. Meet CJ! Thank you to JoAnne Buergler for letting me "borrow" CJ as the programs lesson horse. While starting this program has been a big struggle, it is slowly but surely coming together. A lot of hard work and help from good friends goes a really long way. CJ is a Curly Mustang and is about 13 years old. He is super sweet,  goofy, loves people (and food) and is just an in your pocket kind of guy with lots of personality. He will make a wonderful lesson horse and takes good care of his riders. I am so happy to welcome him into the program. Welcome CJ! Let the fun begin!

    Happy trails from Braided Tales!


    The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact 
    with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom.

    -Sharon Ralls Lemon

  • A little R&R

    A little R&R

    Hey folks,

    I have been MIA recently to take a little break for some much needed care for myself as well as for Blue.  So here’s an update on what’s going on…

    Last week Blue went to UC Davis. After 2 months of not being able to diagnose her lameness, the vets there took very good care of her and 2 ultrasounds later they found that she had injured two of her lateral ligaments. She will be getting a special shoe, shock wave treatment and 6-9 months of recoup (No riding and confined to a small area) and physical therapy with increased amounts of exercise as she heals. Blue is home and happy to be spoiled with a deluxe double-wide stall full of shavings and is glad to be on her path to healing and feeling better. I would like to send a big shout out to Barb Peterson for transporting us to UC Davis and for her help and support. 

    In other news... I just registered for my Equine Facilitated Learning Certification and I am getting very excited! In just a few months I'll be heading over to Nevada to attend the OK Corral Series and earn my certification with Greg Kersten, founder of EAGALA. To learn more about this certification program you can visit my website at and find links under resources.

    Thank you to those who have been sending me links regarding possible school horses; they are much appreciated. I have been in contact with the owner of the three mares and will continue to have an open dialogue as the program gains financial momentum. A campaign launch party is in the works…more details soon to come!

    Happy trails from Braided Tales!


    A horse doesn’t care how much you know until he knows how much you care.

    – Pat Parelli

  • Needle(s) in a Hay Stack...

    Needle(s) in a Hay Stack...

    Finding the right horse is like finding a needle in a haystack. There are so many variables involved. After my STORY was published in the Ukiah Daily Journal, I received many phone calls, emails and outreach from the community. Among those was an email from a woman who has 3 sweet mares she is willing to donate to the program along with all of their equipment! I continue to be amazed by this community I am so lucky to be apart of and the kindness, love and generosity of others. I am looking forward to meeting these lovelies early next month. Keep your fingers crossed for not just the program but for these wonderful horses to find themselves a loving and fulfilling home at Braided Tales. Though these horses are potentially being donated, it is crucial to have support funding for vet checks, and a probation period for student numbers to increase in order to support the program independently. The expressed need for this porgram in this community is overwhelming, and I see the potential for this program to quickly grow. I have a month to come up with funds to cover the initial vet and boarding fees to bring these girls home. Let's make it happen! Please share my story and my campaign with all of your friends and family. Sharing goes a long way. Who knows, maybe a needle in a haystack isn't so hard to find after all.

    Stay tuned for more exciting news!


    You have three choices in life; you can give up, give in or give it all you've got

    (author unknown)

  • Sad Day at the Vets...

    Sad Day at the Vets...

    Yesterday Mac's integration pen was put up, his stall was ready for him with yummy grains and I picked up a salt lick and a water bucket for him today so he would be nice and comfy for his first night in his new home. We all had such high hopes for Mac and there were so many people involved in his adoption process rooting for us and helping us along the way. I am beyond heart broken to announce that Mac will not be joining our program post vet check. After working with him for two days, we discovered that he has some health issues that make him unfit for the program. He is such a special horse and has the greatest spirit and personality. It was very hard for me to walk away from him after how much we hand bonded in so little time.

    That said, Braided Tales is back to square one in finding a lesson horse. As great as everything was going, it just wasn't meant to be in the end. Mac will find the right human(s) and Braided Tales will find the right horse! And don't worry; we will still be doing the raffle it just won't be with Mac. 

    Stay Tuned for updates-


    Ride the Horse in the direction that it's going

    (Werner Erhard)

  • Rising from the Ashes: Fire Rescue Raffle

    Rising from the Ashes: Fire Rescue Raffle

    Mac is a rescue from the fires we recently had and I have been thinking a lot lately about the irony of using a recued horse in my equine facilitated learning program. There are varieties of Therapeutic and Equine Facilitated programs out there that ONLY use recued horses. The reason for this is that these horses wind up getting just as much from the program and are actually emotionally and physically rehabilitated themselves in the process. How could you ask for a more beautiful relationship between a human and a horse? In light of the fires, Mac coming into the program as a rescue and the timing of this programing launching, I would like to raffle off a free lesson to a fire victim affected by the fires in Sonoma or Mendocino Counties. Both the nominee and the nominator each recieve 1 free lesson. To enter in the raffle, like our Facebook page, follow us on Instagram, share the Braided Tales Go Fund Me Campaign with your family and friends and nominate one person for the raffle. If you have more than one person you would like to nominate, have a friend or family member enter the raffle and nominate them that way. Please, Follow these links to enter in the raffle. The WINNERS will be announced at the end of February!

  • Lesson Horse on the Horizon...

    Lesson Horse on the Horizon...

    Meet Mac....also known as Mustache Mac. He is a Kiger Mustang Quarter Horse cross and I met him yesterday. I got a call from a friend who is in my riding club and he told me about these rescued horses so I thought to myself, well, why not at least see what they are all about. All I knew about him was that he had been sitting for a long time and was previously a husband/grandkid horse. So I drove through an hour and a half of rain to go see him. When I got there, the skies parted and it stopped raining. I was walking to the area where the horses where being kept and Mac and I saw each other from across the arena. We kept each other’s gaze the entire way. I got up to his pen and he smelled me and we checked each other out. He looked at me with such soft, sweet and curious eyes. I walked around to the other horses pens but did not get the same feeling as I did with Mac. 

    So...I went and grabbed my halter and my grooming bag and brought him out of his mucky pen. Once out of the pen, I could see his poor feet were in terrible condition but nothing a few trimmings couldn't correct. He was anxious about being taken away from his friends and it was apparent that no one had worked with him in a very long time. So I got to work brushing him and picking up his feet, which he did so willingly. Once we got a little bit more acquainted we went into the arena. After I got the spunk out of him, he quietly responded to my qs and lunged smoothly. Within a few tries, he was picking up on every groundwork q I was giving him. It became apparent very quickly that that this was a very smart horse and also a very sensitive horse, which is important for the kind of work I will be doing in the program.

    After this I decided to take the next step and see how he moved with a saddle on. While I tacked him up, he barley bat an eye and only gave a couple curious glances back at me. After some continued groundwork and lots of backing up exercises he became much calmer and less worried about being separated from his pals. It took a few tries to get on him until he decided it was okay for me to be up there. I stood in one stirrup and he didn't budge. I stepped off and gave him a good rub. We did it again and still...he didn't I swung my other leg over and got my foot in the other stirrup. At first he was dancing around and we were doing little circles all the way to the other side of the arena until he realized oh, this is okay. We walked around the arena and I just sat with him for a little while. It had been over a year since anyone had done anything with him so I figure we did pretty well. He relaxed his body and I felt like we just melted together. I decided that was a pretty good note to end on and hopped off of him. We went and untacked and of course he got treats (lots of them). 

    I knew right away that Mac and I had a thing. As soon as I drove away, I said to myself, "There is no way I am not coming back for that horse". So...pending a pre-purchase vet check, Mac will be coming home on Monday!!!!!

    Right now almost all of the expenses will be coming out of pocket. We have had a couple of very wonderful donations through go fund me which will go towards helping pay for the pre-purchase vet check. To help support Mac's transition to his new home, please visit Thank you!!!!!!

    When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours, 

    and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your know you are loved.

    (John Lyons)

  • Going live!


    Today the program went live with the Braided Tales Go Fund Me Campaign It was a big step towards future goals! I am beside myself excited and very much looking forward to starting the search for our first lesson/trail horse. 

    "One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go

    fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the

    day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with much less


    (Viggo Mortensen)