Why We Do It
Not only why we do it, but how we do it, and why we are proud of the ways we do it! I am talking of course about our programs.
My name is Jenn Bruner, I am the owner, the full time barn staff, the head coach, a horse rescuer, a horse trainer, classical dressage rider (and student of course) and basically the sticky glue that holds this barn together. I’ll admit it, it’s all me, this is my dream, and my passion. I started out as a kid taking weekly riding lessons at an affordable barn. If I hadn’t found that affordable barn I wouldn’t have been able to start back then. I wouldn’t have made it to where I am today. I am thankful for my parents for getting me involved, and for the barn that was able to offer lessons to kids who really couldn’t afford this luxury sport. This is why, regardless of the quality of lessons I bring to the table we aim to keep our prices as affordable as possible.
Many of my clients are young students who pay for their lessons themselves and are just thankful to their parents for driving them each week. These are the students who try the hardest and who get the most out of riding, they try so hard and they want to be there. Riding is excellent exercise, and it is a great confidence builder. Often when you get on a horse it feels like nothing else matters, the worries of your day are gone and you are able to focus on the now. I want everyone who wants to experience it, to be able to.
My first horse was an untrained rank two year old. With patience and lots of mistakes along the way, I turned him into one of the best lesson horses we have today. My second horse took me through my dressage levels and now is one of the top school masters that riders beg me to have the opportunity to ride. He is difficult and sensitive but he puts his heart into every ride regardless of the level of rider. Since then I have owned many horses, 80% of my horses have been rescued. We take them out of a sale where the majority of horses go for meat, sometimes we find them in people’s backyards before they are sent to the sale, some come to us in better condition than others. You don’t always know what you are getting into, it’s a risk but it’s a risk that allows that one horse to live. When ever I purchase a horse, I go into it with a job for it in mind, whether it be a beginner lesson horse, or a hunter show pony.
Sometimes that horse isn’t suited for the job I had envisioned. When that happens we just shift plans, it is rehabilitated, retrained, and then sold to a home that is suitable. Some horse’s vet bills cost much more than it would cost to buy a healthy already trained horse by the time they are healthy and ready to work. If you are at the barn and want to know a horse’s story I am always happy to share, a lot of them have come a very long way and have had very interesting pasts.
People often ask me what is dressage. I always find it hard to answer, because the simplest and easiest thing to say is training, because that is what it is. It’s basic training principals which allow you to effectively communicate with your horse. Its the same ideas that all types of horse riders use in their training. They are asking the horse to give to pressure, to engage specific muscles, to move in a more balanced way, and to do it without force. To me the classical principals of dressage are the closest thing to being able to truly build a language of riding between the rider and the horse. What I want to say, when people ask me what is dressage… It is dance, it is a partnership of you and your horse performing movements together, it could be set to music, it doesn’t have to be, it is magical, it is the feeling of literally feeling every muscle in your horse and feeling your horses willingness to connect and to try what ever it is you are asking for. When a horse is trained through classical principals they are trained to carry themselves, like a ballerina, to have good posture. They are encouraged to relax and bend even while developing new muscles. Eventually the horse has the muscles it needs to carry the rider more correctly. I have found that horses trained through classical riding stay sounder longer. There are no short cuts, but the end result is worth while.
I am passionate. In many ways. I want to bring along students who understand the horse, and who are able to think like trainers themselves and help the horses they ride improve with each ride. I strive to bring up great horses as well. I teach my horses manners and ground work so they know what is expected of them, they understand their role thoroughly and they can be happy and enjoy their job, just as I enjoy mine.
International Plowing Match 100th anniversary. Jenn Bruner with Zeus performing without a bridle.