My life is devoted to horses.
I grew up on Winters Run Farm in Harford County, Maryland. My mother, Sylvia Hechter, and I trained and rehabbed “problem horses.” As part of the training, we started 50 – 70 yearlings and two-year-olds each year. We also fox chased and showed hunter/jumpers some went on to participate at the Olympic level.
My mother attended the legendary Porlock Vale Riding School in the UK, and was the first civilian and first woman to attend the cavalry school in Saumur, France. She was a true equine savant, and the greatest gift to me.
I grew up learning to ride a wide variety of top-flight horses that we were training and rehabbing. I also had the wonderful opportunity to regularly attend the Olympic qualifying shows and watch the world’s best riders work to get the best out of their horses, on the ground and over the jumps. I had a front-row seat to watch how horses reacted to the moves and techniques of their riders.
After my mother’s death, I took a several year detour through marriage and other occupations, before returning to my first and greatest love – working with horses. I was able to acquire several horses, including Chumley, whom I call my PhD horse. Chumley was a fabulous horse, but in order to communicate effectively with him, I needed to learn techniques beyond what are conventionally taught.
As part of that learning, I became certified in Reiki (Level II). At one point, Chumley had a pasture accident, which left him with a severely bowed tendon. It was a tendon that had previously been injured, and my very excellent vet predicted, based on ultrasound, that it would take 6 – 12 months to heal. As part of helping him through that recovery, I made extensive use of my Reiki skills. After six weeks, my vet confirmed with another ultrasound that he was completely sound!
That was a transformative experience for me. Among other things, it led me to become a dedicated “knowledge sponge” as far as non-veterinary therapies for horses are concerned. It has been very gratifying to learn parts of excellent techniques such as Healing Hands, Tellington Touch, the Masterson Method, and Somatic Education and to incorporate elements of those therapies into my own approach to helping horses. I have learned so much from pioneers in related fields – Buck Brannaman, April Battles, and Tad Coffin to name a few of my most important influencers.
I’m now privileged to take care of my five-equine herd in Royal Oak, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Three of them are off-track Thoroughbreds, whom I have re-trained as fabulous riding horses. These horses are also my teachers. They give me the opportunity to continually learn and refine techniques for identifying and addressing the physical “baggage” horses acquire throughout their lives.