I've read your books since I began
with horses and that's, well, a long time...let's say OVER 20 years...and I have
all of your DVDs too. I visit your website all the time and I've written you before
- you are the first place I go to for information and help. I know there are many
more people like me.
I hope you don't think
I am being too personal but why don't you travel around giving clinics and have
a TV program like some of the other trainers. Come to think of it, I should have
said like all the other MALE trainers because I don't know of a woman celebrity
trainer out there.......do you?
Thank you for
everything you do,
Wow, this will be fun to answer and could be
quite long so I'll try to get right to it.
I've been in the horse training and education field for a long time. You can read
more about that on my bio
page but the long and short of it is that I started judging horse shows and
teaching college equine courses in 1975, then wrote my first book in 1988 and
have had 30 something books
and DVDs since then.
I taught college and university
equine courses full time for 10 years and probably experienced a little burn out
from all the lectures and "labs" I had to give day in and day out. So
when I started writing magazine articles and books, I had no desire to do clinics.
I just wanted to stay home and enjoy my own horses here in beautiful Colorado.
After judging horse shows for about 25 years, I must
admit, I just got tired of the traveling. It usually took three days to judge
a one day show: one day to get
there (we live 2 1/2 hours drive from the airport), one day to judge, and one
day to get home. And if you saw where I live, and you do see our place in most
of my books (most especially in Horsekeeping
on a Small Acreage, 2nd edition), you can understand why I would rather spend
time at home in the Colorado foothills, with my wonderful husband Richard Klimesh
and our horses and cats.
So although the education
aspect of giving clinics fits me to a T, the traveling part of being a traveling
clinician has ever appealed to me.
Also, (it's hard
not to notice) traveling clinicians need to have sponsors, commercial companies
that help pay expenses. Well, from the beginning of my career, it was important
to me to be a free agent. I've never wanted to endorse any product or be tied
to a particular company. I want to be an unbiased advisor.
is a definite conflict of interest if someone would ask a horseman for advice
with barn design, training equipment, feed or so on and that horseman had a contractual
connection with a particular barn, tack or feed company. The trainer would feel
obligated to, and often required to, answer a certain way, even if there was a
better barn, blanket or supplement. In order for some clinicians to keep the sponsors
that enable them to travel around the country, many of the them have become walking
billboards, their clothes covered with logos. They are required to hang banners
at their clinics and allow their images to appear in magazines endorsing all kinds
None of this is inherently bad - it
is just the way the world works today. We live in an era of superstars that started
in Hollywood but now can be found everywhere from sports to politics. In your
letter, you used the word "celebrity" and yes, the horse world is full
of its own brand of VIPs and they range from very humble master trainers and instructors
to ego-driven, money-making entertainers - and there are all types in between.
It is very fortunate that there are so many very good trainers and clinicians
traveling across North America year round - the opportunities to learn and get
help is there. My hat is off to the good clinicians for their dedication, stamina
just a horsewoman who enjoys sharing through my books
and DVDs what I've learned over the years. Because I continue learning, about
horse behavior, training, facilities and horsekeeping, I always have something
in the works. I'd really rather not be called a horse whisperer or horse expert
or horse authority or the best this or that. Sometimes I have to allow my publisher
to say certain things in association with the release of my books that I would
never say about myself. I'd like to be thought of as an educator and advisor.
My reward is helping horses and their people through my books, DVDs and this
One final topic that you brought up
kind of as an aside - about all the clinicians being males. Well Richard and I
just had a conversation this morning over breakfast about that very thing. It
seems that, indeed, the vast majority of the traveling clinicians ARE male and
the vast majority of clinic attendees are female. There might be a story there
but we'll save that for another day. But I did want to call your attention to
one very excellent female clinician that I know of whose work is very honest and
practical and helpful. That is Julie
Goodnight. I've watched her programs on RFD-TV and am impressed with her ability
to help horses and people. She is a classic style trainer/instructor and what's
more, she rides both English and Western.
for your question. I'm glad you have found my books helpful - I'm working on two
more right now that will be out in early 2010.