They say they say the best teacher to help you learn to ride a horse...is the horse! Ginny had the rare opportunity to grow up with a herd of 125 horses at Colorado Trails Ranch, a guest ranch outside Durango, Colorado. Ginny, who taught 80 guests a week for 25 summers, racking up an astonishing instructional record helping them to enjoy a safe, proficient experience on horseback. During a lifetime of equine advocacy through teaching, public speaking and writing, Ginny has shared her firsthand knowledge of the nature of the horse as well as her insider's perspective on the organizations that promote equine activities.
Ginny's quest for knowledge and understanding horses never ends.As a lifelong student of classical riding she has studied with some of the finest horsemen of our time, such as Charles de Kunffy, Arthur Kottas and Dr. Gerd Heuschman. In 1988 Ginny was certified by the American Riding Instructors Association and is qualified to teach to advanced levels in several disciplines. She is a Practitioner with the International Society of Equitation Science and has taught both Western and English riding, including jumping, dressage and driving. Ginny was the recipient of the Rosemary Ames Award from the American Humane Association for outstanding work in the field of humane education.
Ginny believes in teaching her students far more than a proper seat, good balance and quiet hands. Her students gain a deeper awareness of the horse’s view of the world, along with the application of appropriate training theories and an understanding of the human's ethical responsibility for the well-being of all animals. She is known for her passionate love of horses and her enthusiasm in sharing her knowledge with students committed to gaining more rewarding horse-human relationships.
“I was born a horse lover and never outgrew it! Being a military brat, I had to create my own opportunities, but fortunately almost every base had a riding stable. I took lessons and volunteered to clean stalls just to be near horses. I went to high school and college in Hawaii. I worked on the Kuuloa cattle ranch, galloped polo ponies, and showed Quarter horses all over the islands. I graduated with a degree in Recreation Management and moved to Durango to work on a dude ranch. It was an opportunity that defined me as a horseman. As the Head Wrangler, I was in charge of managing over a hundred head of horses and the riding program. We had 80 guests a week that had continuing lessons in the arena and on the trails. Colorado Trails was nationally known as the best horse outfit in the business because of our quality horses and outstanding riding program. Those horses taught me how to ride, and working with the guests honed my teaching skills.
I immersed myself in learning as much as I could about every aspect of the horse world. John Richard Young, who wrote "Schooling of the Western Horse" and "Schooling of the Young Rider", became my first mentor. It was with his encouragement that I began to study the principles of classical riding. Our ranch horses were started with classical training principles. The cowboys used to laugh when I wrangled the horses in every morning riding in my flat saddle that is until I offered to let them try it!
In the early 80s I met a British riding instructor who said: “Do come over for a jumping lesson”. As they say, the rest is history. I loved jumping. I got into the hunter/jumper world when I purchased the best horse ever ,a wonderful schoolmaster named “Pinto Bean.” But it was discovering 3 day eventing that had the greatest impact on my equestrian career. I soon found myself at a clinic with Jimmy Wofford, and there was no turning back. I had the opportunity to take clinics with Torrence Watkins Fleishman, Michael Plumb, and Karen Stives. I threw myself into learning as much as possible with an intensive short course at Molly Siverwright’s Talland School in Cirencester, England. I continued the quest for education by attending many clinics with people like Vi Hopkins Linda Tellington-Jones and Reiner Klimke, among others, which gave me the opportunity to observe many different riders and teaching styles.
I bought an advanced level three-day horse named Cobblestone. He became my next schoolmaster. Shortly after I purchased Cobblestone, I rode in a clinic with Charles de Kunffy. Charles became the greatest influence on my riding. Charles polished my riding skills and taught me classical equitation and principles. He taught me to always put the horse first in every way. But it was my fascination with his ability to teach that perhaps most inspired me to become the best teacher I could be. De Kunffy’s Riding Instructor Courses (of which I attended at least six) covered not just riding and teaching, but were steeped in classical knowledge and history.
The ranch was sold in 1997. My new home base in the winter became Santa Ynez, California where I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Charlotte Bredhal and riding her Olympic horse “Monsieur”. At Monty Roberts’ Flag is Up Farm, I saw firsthand the rehabilitation and training of horses. I taught classes on The Nature of the Beast and Ethics in Horsemanship. For several years, I audited and attended clinics with Arthur Kottas at Alix Kendall’s Angels Landing Farm. In 2007, I had the privilege of spending a week at his training stable in Vienna, Austria.
I then moved to Cave Creek, Arizona for the winters, where I took up driving! I also returned to my Western roots and judged several Craig Cameron’s “Extreme Cowboy Races” at the Rocky Mountain Expo.
In recent years my good friend Tim McGaffic, and I have collaborated and worked on several interesting horse projects. The latest being a research project on Heart Rate and Emotionality. We developed a series of clinics designed to improve rider’s skill levels with a progressive comprehensive program that incorporates sport skills, developing new mind and body habits and delving into the nature of horses. All designed with the idea of developing better horsemanship that in turn makes life a little kinder for horses. We are currently working on a video project to introduce our work on Heart Rate and Emotionality.”