Meet Board Member Robin Payne-Ryan

I have been a horse lover from the first moment I knew what horses were!  I grew up in suburbia, not understanding why my parents couldn’t fit a horse in our backyard.  When I got my first job at age 16, before even buying a car, I bought a horse.  I was so certain that I would know what to do with my horse (an unbroken range mare) because I had spent my childhood reading horse stories.  All I needed to do was show it love, right?

Details

What Does “Natural Horsemanship” Mean?

Words get in the way. At a demo at a horse rescue, I struggled to find words to express myself to the crowd to be truly understood. I didn’t want any misunderstandings of what I was doing and why. Horses help me focus, so I relaxed into the rhythm of the horse in front of me, and spoke freely to the spectators. The terrified horse ran frantically back and forth in the round pen, crashing into the panels, trying to escape the predator who was in there with him, me. I spoke of how I listened to what the horse was saying: about me, about his past, about the horse he was born to be. I read him, breathed with him, looked into his soul. He calmed down and finally stood with his head down, licking his lips beside me. There were no words between us. I worked with him for an hour while he freely told me his story. And I listened.

Details

A Reason to Lead

I’m fascinated with the concept of leadership.  Some people believe that great leaders are born with the inherent skills and personality traits that predispose them to becoming effective leaders. Others say that leadership is a skill (or set of skills) that can be learned, and thus taught.  Perhaps there’s some merit to both theories. But my horses have shown me there’s something much more important than either, and it’s simply this: 

In order to become an effective leader, the individual must have a compelling REASON to lead. 

Details

Romeo Has a Future

“I dream’ed a dream to-night,” said Shakespeare’s Romeo: a dream of love reviving life. When Kim Meagher came across Romeo, a terrified three-week-old sorrel bay with his dam at a kill auction, both with gaping wounds, she too dream’ed a dream – that the safe haven she had previously provided for 200 horses would give them both a chance for a future.

Details

What Does it Mean to Listen?

If someone were to ask my horses the question, “What does it mean to listen?”, I’m pretty sure they would say: “Everything. It means everything.” Although horses have the ability to vocalize, their primary modes of communication are behavior, body language, touch and energy. We humans, on the other hand, tend to rely almost exclusively on spoken and written language to communicate. Because horses cannot speak or interpret our complex spoken languages, those of us who want to train and/or ride horses must learn to use body language, touch and energy to communicate with them.

Details