Toni discovered her horse lover gene when she was 8 yo with her first lesson on a tall bay named Thane. It wasn’t long until summer days were spent at the barn, mucking stalls, grooming, and scrubbing water troughs in exchange for riding time and showing with the favorite horse of the month, and joining U.S Pony Club.
Life took new directions, but she managed to keep finding horses along the way, giving lessons and teaching summer horse camps, leading a 4H club, and seeking the woods to trail ride as much as she could. At 35, while busy raising a family in Vermont, her first horse found her, and with a new Arab partner, she discovered Competitive Trail riding and limited distance endurance, learning a new kind awareness of the importance of horse and rider connection.
With a move to Texas and a growing search to find a niche in the horse industry to support her equine habit, she worked as a veterinary assistant, started riding and training at a local eventing facility, and helped manage a small farm of retired show horses and polo ponies. Learning a variety of natural horsemanship techniques gave her a new perspective and more tools to use in lessons and dealing with challenging horses. Over the years, Toni certified her teaching with several organizations, including CHA, PATH International (therapeutic riding), and USEA Instructor Certification Program for eventing. She continues to seek out and attend as many workshops with professional clinicians in dressage emphasizing lightness, jumping, and biomechanics, for the horse and rider as possible.
Throughout her evolution as a horse person, Toni has come to believe that there is no one person with all the answers when it comes to horse care. It takes an owner with an open mind, and a team, each with a different piece of the puzzle, to develop, care, and maintain our horses – a veterinarian, natural balance equine dentist, farrier, chiropractor, saddle fitter, trainer, bodyworker.
The Masterson Method has been the missing link for her that transcends all the other ” stuff” we do for our horses, by addressing their physical and mental well being with soft, non-forceful techniques to help relieve tension that otherwise continues to build into health and behavioral problems. She is grateful to all the horses in her life who have led her to this path, and to the Masterson program for its training and for opening her eyes to a deeper level of communication with our incredible equine partners.