Thursday, January 27, 2022

Get to Know Gemma!

Q: What is your role/job title at Bridle Ranch?
A: Instructor

Q: What's your favorite treat?
A: Frozen blueberries are the!!

Q: What's your favorite color?
A: Blue!! Specifically turquoise blue.

Q: What hobbies do you have?
A: I love dance, boxing, running, working out, going for drives, hiking. Anything physical activity, outdoors, and high adrenaline!!

Q: Where are you from and what was your life like growing up?
A: I was born in Pullman, Washington and grew up in south Utah County. I grew up as a middle child and my life was packed full of dance competitions and Arches National Park.

Q: Where are you in life now?
A: I graduated high school several years ago and am currently working a few jobs to save up money and taking all the opportunities I can to adventure and live my early 20's to their fullest!

Q: Any big plans in the future?
A: I plan on building a horse ranch and training facility of my own, hopefully off grid in Montana one day!

Q: What is your experience with horses, animals and/or ranches?
A: I was your typical horse girl growing up! Always loved horses and was around them as often as I could. As I got older I started riding and now I work with horses here at Bridle and many other animals at a veterinary clinic up north.

Q: Can you explain what you've gotten out of Bridle Ranch?
A: I have learned a lot both about myself and horsemanship in my time here at Bridle so far! I've gotten the opportunity to grow as a person and as a rider and I made many new friendships both with employees, horses, and even students that I've met!

Friday, January 7, 2022

Welcome 2022!

Hello Centaurs!

Happy New Year!  

I’m supposed to be writing about how horses and humans are similar.  Someday, I’ll get to that.  It’s a really interesting discussion, actually.  

But it is the new year.  And I just turned 39, which means I’ll soon be turning 40.  (I’m so good at math!)  I feel like I have learned just enough, at this point in my life, to have some fun without being too dangerous.  

Let’s make some changes.

Let’s have some fun.

Let’s think in new ways.  

Let’s share our joy.

You with me?

I hope so, because this year, we will unroll some really fun changes to Bridle Ranch.  Stay tuned!


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Favorite Breed?

Hello Centaur Friends!

Which horse breed is your favorite?

I get asked, sometimes, which is my favorite breed.  

Is difficult.

There are so many fantastic breeds!  For instance, have you ever seen one of these beauties?

These horses are called Gypsy Vanners, and they are amazing.  So, so pretty.  They used to be used to pull the carts for Gypsies.  They’re typically a little taller than ponies, and stocky.  Seriously.  They’re built like draft horses, minus the height.

I had the fortune of working with a Gypsy Cob, which is a close cousin of the Vanner.  This little guy was a 4-year-old therapy horse, which gives you an idea of their temperament.  They are calm, steady, sweet little workhorses.  And gorgeous to boot.

They have two big problems:  The first is their cost.  A typical Gypsy vanner goes between $10,000 and $40,000.   Sadly, that is probably more than I will ever justify paying for a horse.  Well, maybe not.  :)

The second issue is their feathers.  Guys.  I am such a sucker for that long hair around the big breeds’ legs.  I just love it.  Trouble is, it requires a lot of care.  If it’s not cared for right, it can cause some real problems, including infection.  I want a horse with feathers so badly.  And, I am so afraid that I won’t be able to care for them well enough and my horse will get sick and then I will have hurt this sweet animal and learned a $10,000-$40,000 lesson.  I’m pretty sure that was more than my entire college education...

Of course, then there is the Thoroughbred, which holds a special place in my heart.

Thoroughbreds are the epitome of the sport horse.  They are typically known as racehorses, but they also excel at jumping and dressage.  I’ve ridden a few of these guys, and there is a power and grace to their movements that is incomparable.  Their strides are long, their paces smooth.  Often, they are very sensitive, which is a glorious thing for an experienced rider.  They are also very intelligent, which makes them fun to train.

The biggest downside to the Thoroughbred, in my opinion, is how heavily they are influenced by Arabians, which tend to be a little flighty. (Read, spooky.)  That flightiness means that every plastic bag, every tarp, every puff of wind, portends death in the mind of the horse, and they tend to freak out and run.  It’s a pain in the little Arabian.  When it manifests in a Thoroughbred, which often has 2-3 hands on an Arabian and an extra 500 pounds, it becomes something else entirely.  Now, don’t get me wrong; Thoroughbreds don’t always have this tendency to a dangerous degree.  It’s just… some of them do, and most of them have it to a degree that is noticeable and adds an element of uncertainty to all interactions that I, personally, don’t totally love.

And then, there’s the Quarter horse.  I love these guys!!!

They say the west was won on the back of a horse, and I’m pretty sure it was mostly Quarter horses.  They are usually around 15 hands, and good, steady little workhorses.  They’re generally easy keepers, with a calm temperament.  Much like the Gypsy Vanner, but without the feathers.  Plus, they are supposedly the fastest land animal over the quarter mile (hence their name,) which helps with many jobs that need doing.  

I don’t really have any complaints about Quarter horses.  As a breed, they are just about everything a person needs in a horse.  But, if I’m being honest, I find them a little uninspiring.  I know, I know!  They are beautiful, and majestic, and wonderful simply by sheer fact of them being horses!  I just… prefer something a little more fanciful, I guess.  

Which leads me to my favorite breed.  

Drumroll, please!

My favorite horse breed is…  (any guesses?)

I’ll give you a hint.  

Or a picture…  :)

There she is!  My favorite breed is a Friesian!  Look at that mane and tail!  And the gorgeous black coat!  Those have maybe been slightly enhanced in this picture, but only slightly.  The long mane and thick tail are characteristic of the breed.  So is the jet-black coat.  And the feathers!  Did you see?  They’re just enough to give a hint of that gorgeous long hair, but not enough to be intimidating to care for.  

Also, I love the soft look in this horse’s eye.  That is also typical of the breed.  They are gentle, for all they’re so large.  (Generally 16+ hands, and only slightly less stocky than a draft horse.)  Per my understanding, Friesians are generally used for showy situations, like parades and such.  Personally, I don’t really care.  I would absolutely LOVE to have a Friesian.  I got to ride one for a glorious summer, and it was truly fantastic.  She was sensitive, and kept looking for me to lead her through our exercises.  She had a big motion, but it was smooth.  As a big girl myself, I appreciated that I really knew I was not going to be able to hurt this horse, and I had a very secure seat on her back.  

Oh, my centaur friends, if I could burn through $20,000 on a horse, this would be the one.  I just looked it up, though, and if I opt for a yearling without any special pedigree, it might only cost me $7000.  

Donations, anyone?  :):):)

Smile and Dream, Centaur friends!


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Get to Know Hayley!

Q: What is your role/job title at Bridle Ranch?
A: For now I'm a substitute instructor. I hope to be able to be full time again soon. I had to take a break since I just had twins.

Q: What's your favorite treat?
A: My favorite treat is peanut butter cookies. Let's be honest though, if it's sweet I will most likely enjoy it.

Q: What's your favorite color?
A: For my entire life blue has been my favorite color. Recently however, I've started to really like maroon.  

Q: What hobbies do you have?
A: I have played tennis my entire life. I love it but haven't been able to play a whole lot the last couple of years. I also love to read, ride horses, I try to be crafty but it doesn't always work out.

Q: Where are you from and what was your life like growing up?
A: I'm from a little town in California. I grew up on a cattle ranch. My life consisted of school, church, tennis, and putting the cows back in the pastures when they got out.

Q: Where are you in life now?
A: Now, I'm married with three kids. Three under three, so my life is a little hectic right now.

Q: Any big plans in the future?
A: My husband and I have talked about one day building our own home on some property and fostering animals.

Q: What is your experience with horses, animals and/or ranches?
A: Like I said before, I grew up on a ranch. I love working with animals. We had one horse growing up and then my uncle got another one when I was a teenager. I loved riding them. My sister taught me a few things about how to work with horses and she still is to this day.

Q: Can you explain what you've gotten out of Bridle Ranch?
A: Since working at Bridle Ranch I've learned more about working with horses and people. I never thought of myself as a teacher before, but I've really come out of my shell here and I love it.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Get to Know Julie!

Q: What is your role/job title at Bridle Ranch?
A: I am the Office Manager and Communication Specialist! I'm mostly over phone calls, emails, scheduling, and social media for the business.

Q: What's your favorite treat?
A: Like anyone, I have many favorite treats. At this time though? I'm probably in the mood for classic chocolate chip cookies and milk.

Q: What's your favorite color?
A: I tend to lean towards the cooler colors, like green, purple, and blue. But ultimately and most often, the answer is blue.

Q: What hobbies do you have?
A: I absolutely love to dance! Sadly I haven't done too much of it since high school :( But I also enjoy going on hikes, watching older movies, and don't tell anyone but my guilty pleasure is cleaning haha.

Q: Where are you from and what was your life like growing up?
A: I was born and raised in Provo, Utah, and I was the sixth child out of seven. Fun fact, Bridle Ranch's Barn Manager, Stephany (who you should have read about already, if not go read her blog entry now), is my oldest sister! Anyways, I don't have much to say on my growing up, but I remember most if not all of my memories were spent with family. I love them to pieces!

Q: Where are you in life now?
A: I am coming up on my first wedding anniversary this month! Woohoo! I'm happily married to my best friend, Carter. I pretty much just work part time at Bridle Ranch, and am a homemaker the rest of the time. I love spending time with my family, especially my nephew and niece.
    It may not sound like a super exciting agenda, but life keeps me on my toes during it all, and I love how much I'm learning these days in everything I do and experience.

Q: Any big plans in the future?
A: Usually my answer is no to this question, but Carter and I recently found out he got accepted into the US Navy, and he's got a lot of opportunities lined up in that field already. We are super blessed, and are quite excited to see where this heads.

Q: What is your experience with horses, animals and/or ranches?
A: Well like many little girls I was in love with horses at a young age. Then as a teenager I thought anything country was kind of weird and uncool.
    In my early teenage years my mom put me and all of my siblings into horse riding lessons at Bridle Ranch back in Provo, just to try it out. I stayed with it for a couple of years and enjoyed it all. Eventually dance stole me away, and I had to say goodbye to horses.
    Late after high school and getting married, I was looking for a job and found out Bridle Ranch was hiring. I applied, got hired, and for the last 10 months I've been minorly exposed to ranch life. Even though I'm at the desk a majority of the time, I'll catch myself magically at the arena taking pictures, helping the instructors feed, and now I listen to country music in the car sometimes (teenage Julie would be shocked haha).
    So to sum up, I love horses and the outdoors. No, I have no true experience or knowledge of ranch life, but I have a love for it and a desire to be a part of it now.

Q: Can you explain what you've gotten out of Bridle Ranch?
A: I can definitely say I have a love for Bridle Ranch. Both from the student and staff standpoint. I've said this to people before, but the intent and goal behind everything we do out here is real and genuine.
    I was just having a conversation with Chelsea recently. Bridle Ranch is definitely a one of a kind place. Yes, we offer and teach riding lessons and experiences. Yet our bigger picture is that through those experiences you gain exercise, therapy, skills, and most importantly, character growth. However this is all done subtly and over time. But to make the journey enjoyable, we strive to make the experience for each individual fun.
    And as for the business, we are growing along with all of you. With trying new ideas and activities to achieve that goal of helping you each grow here, we often have our rougher days, silly and fun days, and successful days. And if you look at it a certain way, each of those days is a success in their own way.
    Life is most definitely unfair, crazy, chaotic, but in spite of all of that, it is most definitely a beautiful ride.

I love each and every one of you!
- Julie

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Bridle Ranch Builds People

Today’s topic is a heavy one.  It goes deep.

I have a confession to make.  And really, confession is probably the wrong word.  It implies that I’ve done something wrong.  Recently, I have come to realize that this thing that feels so wrong in my life is not actually my fault.

You see, I fight with depression.  Fighting with it sounds so much more hopeful than suffering from it, right?  And I try.  Oh, I try, so hard, to fight against the weight of it.  Sometimes, I succeed.  

Other times, it is almost impossible to make myself do the things that are required of me to keep my family moving forward.  Usually, I can manage to do the very basics.  I can’t imagine how impossibly hard it would be to function in this world with a case of depression any worse than mine is.  There are people who do, though, and their strength is absolutely astounding.

When I was 21 years old, I got a job working at a Residential Treatment Center.  I had the amazing privilege of teaching troubled youth to ride horses.  The things I learned there shaped my adult life, and eventually became the basis for Bridle Ranch.

You may have noticed that at Bridle Ranch, we do things a little differently from most barns.  We don’t do any competitions.  We don’t have forced timelines for learning. We don’t hire outside trainers.  We focus on building confidence, having fun, and working through problems.  We provide experience with many different disciplines with horses, which helps students to learn a broad base of horsemanship.  We emphasize relationships, patience, assertiveness, and calmness.

Through my growing understanding of depression, I have come to realize how many people are suffering from things that are often unseen.  I have also come to believe that everybody needs more love.  More goodness.  More innocence.  More inner strength.  More simplicity and joy.

At Bridle Ranch, my goal has always been to build people.  Yes, we teach horseback riding.  But underneath the skills and progression are principles of compassion and unity that, hopefully, help our riders to feel safe and loved.  

When people feel safe and loved, they can experiment and grow.  When people grow, they change their lives for the better.  When they are ready, they go out and make positive changes in the world around them.  

That is the reason we ride.  That inner strength and peace we gain from playing with horses translates to better, happier, stronger, more confident people.  

That is why I started Bridle Ranch.  That vision of helping people has been my driving force even when my own struggles have begged me to stop.  That is why I am so grateful every time I see people out there, riding the horses, learning the lessons, finding success, and feeling joy.  

Smile and Ride, friends.  Smile and Ride.


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Get to Know Josie!

Q: What is your role/job title at Bridle Ranch?
A: I am a riding instructor.

Q: What's your favorite treat?
A: I really like caramels and caramel apples.

Q: What's your favorite color?
A: Definitely green, but the natural green.

Q: What hobbies do you have?
A: I enjoy competitive horse judging. I also love anything outdoors from hunting to ATV rides.

Q: Where are you from and what was your life like growing up?
A: I am from Mona, Utah, I grew up very independent and was always looking to be the best I could be. I loved being able to push myself even from a young age.

Q: Where are you in life now?
A: I am currently working towards a future for myself. I am working this summer to help build a resume and more experience in the equine industry.

Q: Any big plans in the future?
A: I am heading to USU this fall to work on building a future with horses. Ideally I'd love to have my own horse ranch but I'm also getting a degree in Agricultural Education so I can continue to teach and instruct.

Q: What is your experience with horses, animals, and/or ranches?
A: I grew up with horses and from a young age I had a passion for them. I have shown competitively for years and I love learning with and training young horses. I have held multiple leadership positions with horses and hope to continue on my journey with horses.

Q: Can you explain what you've gotten out of Bridle Ranch?
A: I have gotten to learn different methods of dealing with horses. I have learned a lot about natural horsemanship and hope to use my gained knowledge in the future. This opportunity to have a job in the equine industry is a dream come true.

Get to Know Gemma!