How I got from there to here...
I guess like everyone else I am a blend of my parents in both personality as well as heritage and in that I feel very blessed.
My father was a research psychologist for the government and I got my love of research from him. He is also a kind and gentle man who is always willing to help anyone in need.
My mother was a social worker with a heart of gold. She always went the extra mile to help someone out, no matter what their situation.
My mother is where I get my ‘bleeding heart’, my love of animals, and my strong will to help the underdog. In my case it has become all about helping give horses a voice as well as helping their owners understand them better.
My love of horses was irresistible
I loved trying and learning all the different disciplines
I got my first horse when I was six years old, a little Shetland pony called Farnley’s Notable. He came home with me after being abandoned and lived in my parent’s garage until we could build a barn in our backyard.
Click here to read about my first riding lessons
Like most horse-crazy girls I spent as much time around them as I could. I competed in many English disciplines, winning ribbons and trophies in Jumping, English Pleasure, Show Hunter, and Classical Dressage.
Eventually it was time to enter the adult world so I went to a University where I earned a Bachelor’s degree and a Master's degree in Behavioral Psychology and later went on to receive my Doctorate.
I worked for one of the nation’s leading mental health facilities. I helped autistic children, elderly patients, and later was a private therapist for Alzheimer's patients. I really care about my patients.
However, my first love has always been horses and after studying with some of the well-known names in the industry, I became a horse trainer myself.
I am the granddaughter, and namesake, of the former Maryland Governor Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin!
Meeting my greatest teachers
Shortly after I moved to California I purchased Jazz, a quarter horse, who had been trained Western and as a Cutting horse. I tried to do English disciplines with him but he obviously preferred Western so I worked with Western disciplined trainers and we competed together in Western Equitation, Western Pleasure, Cutting, and Team Penning.
I bred Jazz and he sired Apollo and apart from a brief period, the 3 of us have been together ever since. Jazz is now 33 and Apollo, 29. In 2016 I acquired another horse, D'Artagnan, who I quickly discovered was my heart-horse.
I have learned so much from these guys over the years, it has truly been an extraordinary privilege to have been in their lives and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.
Click here to read why D'Artagnan will always have a special place in my heart
Over the years I have taught basic horsemanship, safety, relationship and behavioral training, groundwork, and given riding lessons to both adults and children.
However, it always intrigued me why some people got results while others didn't, and why some horses reacted in certain ways and others did completely the opposite.
So after a while I started studying equine science and doing research like my Dad taught me. What I discovered surprised me as it often went against much of what we are taught about horses.
Click the button to get my 5 Horse Myths PDF Poster.
You don’t have to follow the herd...
I added these findings to my own personal experiences, my knowledge of behavioral psychology, and my Mom’s compassionate heart-guided ways to come up with my own unique approach to training horses.
I guess I always knew it instinctually and it still feels right today to let horses have a voice and allow them to take part in the conversation we are having together.
They in turn appreciate it instead of always being told what to do. And when you allow them to have a say, you begin to observe a noticeable change that you can see in their responses, their demeanor, and the spark in their eyes.
Above all, what I have learned is that every horse and every human is different and so whatever research and standardized training tell us, it always needs to be adjusted for each individual situation.
This blend of understanding and compassion that I have developed has provided me and my students with a flexible 'blueprint' that can easily be modified and adjusted to each individual horse and owner. Making the connection, communication, and companionship they have always wanted now possible.
Let your horse be your teacher
Why I do what I do
My burning desire is to help both humans and their horses to get to know each other better and become the partners for each other that they have always wanted.
My softer, more sympathetic approach naturally resonates with women like myself and I taught it on the road with great success for over 2 decades.
However, since moving back to Maryland in 2017 I have entered a new phase of my life.
I no longer wish to spend days and weeks away from home which is why I have developed a series of self-directed, online programs anyone can succeed with.
And for those who want to get there quicker and appreciate regular, direct, positive feedback I also now offer a concierge-level, coaching program.