From Kasia Wilusz, Burlington, CT

For the past 10 years I have had the opportunity to observe Kirsten Lee work with young Pony Clubbers on often unsuitable mounts.  Her natural ability to effectively communicate to these aspiring riders is unsurpassed.  It’s amazing how quickly positive change happens with just the adjustment of seat and hands and positive reinforcement. These kids come out of the ring happier and excited for their next ride.

I’ve become so impressed with Kirsten I now trailer over 6 hours to have her work with me as a rider and the retraining of my mare.  In just a few sessions, she has my mare rounding and coming onto the bit in a more balanced carriage-something I thought I would never get.

The most obvious difference in Kirsten’s methods from other trainers I’ve worked with is she takes the time to assess and get to know the animal as a “person.” She’s not just applying 1 method for all of her charges.  She gets into each of their heads and figures out what will work with this horse in this moment.  Then, she takes the capabilities of the rider and brings them together in a way that is just magical.

Thank you, Kirsten, for me, my daughters, their horses, and many Pony Clubbers and their mounts!

Kasia Wilusz, Burlington, CT

 

 

A new testimonial from Joann in Charles Town, WV

“I found Kirsten by word of mouth from a family member and started to look at her Facebook page and business website. My first thought was that I could never afford such a lovely place, operated by such a well known, skilled equestrian. I soon realized that we had many mutual friends and I asked a few about Kirsten and loved everything that I heard. Prior to our time at Kirsten’s farm, I had no hands on horse experience. My eight year old son had taken riding lessons but I never paid attention to anything except for him riding so this world was foreign to me. My son was given a lovely, well trained and beautiful horse and it was an opportunity that I could not pass however I had no idea what to do. I was very honest with Kirsten and quite frankly, I was not sure if she would accept us given the fact that I was clueless. Well, the opposite happened. Kirsten took me under her wing as a new horse mom and went above and beyond to help me make sure that the dream of owning a horse became a reality. I have learned so much and she has taught me with so much patience, love, and understanding while always encouraging me that I could do it (and never a hint of laughter or frustration even when I put the saddle on backwards). My son has blossomed under Kirsten and his love of the other horses, cats, beautiful scenery and Mr. Mark’s heavy farm equipment has made his experience even more enjoyable. Words cannot adequately express my sincere gratitude for Kirsten and Mark. We are beyond blessed to be a part of the farm family.”

From Samantha Stilley in Harpers Ferry, WV

Hi Kirsten it’s Sam Stilley from yesterday. 

I just wanted to thank you so much for your help with Leo. I worked with him again today and he was phenomenal! It took him less then ten minutes to load into the open trailer, then less than five more minutes after that to load into it with the one side closed. He even self loaded for me twice! By the end of our hour long session he had loaded multiple times and the last time he walked right in like a champ with no hesitations and no pauses what so ever! I think within a few more practices he will be loading this way every time and will self-load in no time as well! He is so calm and comfortable in the trailer as well which is something I never thought would come this soon. I was able to load him, give him some treats and love, and then walk away from him to shut him in and close the rear bar all on my own! He never even got uncomfortable or tried to back out when I left his side to walk around and shut him in. I feel like your training method really clicked with him, and for me too! Now I can be excited about taking him places and not worry about how I’m going to get him there and home safely. Thanks again so much and I’ll keep you updated on his progress.

Sam

2nd Update & progress report!!!:

Hi again! Just thought you might like to know that I practiced with Leo for about 15mins today and he probably loaded over 8 times in that time span! He is really doing better and better every day and is almost pulling me to the trailer when he sees the ramp is down. Thanks again so much!

Sam

Riding Instruction/ Horse Training Testimonial From Theresa Johnson, Shepherdstown, WV

Riding After Fifty

I came to riding later in life than most.  I had always wanted to ride but never had the opportunity.  As my children left home, I found that I had the time to explore riding.  My first experience with lessons locally was not what I what I had hoped for as I was riding with young children under the age of ten; after a few months I decided to try another riding center. Along the way, I found a nice little horse, a Quarter horse and bought him.   And where I was learning  to ride him, I found that I wanted more-I wanted to know him, what motivates him and  how to better communicate with him.

I was introduced to Kirsten and felt that she had the personality that would work well with me.   She  has provided me with riding instruction along with information on the personality of my horse,  With that information, I can better work with him as a teammate.  I found that riding is not controlling a horse but working together.  Kirsten has provided me with professional instruction.  To begin with, she has encouraged me in all my lessons, and rather than feeling that I will never “get it” when it comes to riding because of my age, Kirsten acknowledges all improvements in my quest.  Any one who is older or who rode as a child and is a little nervous about returning to riding, I encourage you to work with Kirsten as she is  positive and patient. As an educator, I find that Kirsten possess the skills of  great teachers.

Kirsten’s knowledge of horses, horse care, and training is amazing.  I also like that Kirsten is experienced in different areas of riding;  jumping, dressage and trail riding, just to name a few. You won’t find yourself preparing for jumping if your interest is in dressage.   She knows both the English and Western disciplines.  She has me riding in open fields with confidence.  When riding with Kirsten, you feel energized, confident and pleased with your work.  For those of us who are new to riding or are returning to it after a number of years, I think you will find  that Kirsten is the perfect instructor.  I hope you have the opportunity to work with Kirsten Lee as she will take you and your horse to a level of riding that I found no where else. Good luck to you and enjoy the ride.

From Pam Hughes, Hagerstown, MD

I bought my gaited horse Flash in the fall of 2006 and he was a handful for me a novice rider. He would not stand still for mounting, he did not lunge on a line and my gosh if he saw a squirrel or cat he jumped a yard. Even though he was a mature horse at the age of seven he had not been taught to do any of the smooth gaited walks or rocking horse canters gaited horsed excel at and are bread to do. I even had one trainer I tried tell me, “I should find another horse”.

How lucky I was to have met Kirsten! What a difference Kirsten made in his training, her ability to see outside the box and see all the great things Flash was capable of really encouraged both of us to do better. She picked up on our bond immediately and figured out ways we could better work together as a single unit rather then just a horse and owner. Flash and I had an immediate improvement in communication after only one lesson with Kirsten.

Kirsten is an invaluable resource for any horse and owner, her patience knowledge and kindness would work well for any one with a desire to listen and succeed in any equestrian activity. She has a special way with horses and they respond to her almost immediately. She does not use force or any harsh training methods but rather relies on the unique bond between the horse and rider in a gentle yet disciplined way.

I am happy to say because of the training my horse Flash and I received from Kirsten, we now are winning blue’s in the show ring, doing running walk, canter, trotting, and racking. We ride on trails fearlessly just for the fun of it, and the trainer who said I should pick another horse, well lets just say the last time she saw us in the arena I thing I saw her jaw drop to the ground!

Thank you so much Kirsten,

Pam and Flash

Testimonial From Jennifer Jones, Shepherdstown, WV

First, let me say that Kirsten Lee is magical with horses. I am in my fifties and returning to being with horses and riding after a 30 year break. I met Kirsten through her website and knew that her philosophy about the ways people and horses can be together was very aligned with mine.

I thought that I had some basic skills after having ridden for much of my youth, but quickly learned that I knew nothing about training completely green horses. From the beginning Kirsten grounded our time with the horses around respect, safety, and fun for both me and the horses. My two horses had been worked with for a few 30 minute sessions over a two year period before being introduced to Kirsten. In about an hour Kirsten loaded them both onto the trailer masterfully and, most importantly, without the horses feeling trauma or force.

Over the past few years the key things I have learned, and continue to learn from Kirsten are to give the relationship with your horses the time it requires, be fair and patient by allow horses to work through the things we are asking of them, be present every moment, and set appropriate boundaries in order to be a respected leader. I am still learning from Kirsten every time we have a horse interaction as she makes everything a teachable moment. Kirsten also taught me that every interaction is a learning opportunity for the horse. She brings wisdom, kindness, and an immense amount of knowledge into each training experience. Whether you are looking for natural horsemanship training methods, or riding lessons at any level, I would recommend Kirsten Lee as a master teacher, trainer, and mentor.

From Jessie Doernberger, Globetrotter

In 2007, I left the country for half a year, forcing me to find a barn for my four-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Volly. As I’d owned this horse since he was a fetus, I was outstandingly picky: he needed tons of turnout; he needed a place where he would be cared for properly, and he needed correct, classical riding that would keep him progressing towards being a respectable dressage horse without pushing him too hard. Also, I needed to be able to afford board.
I had no idea where I would find such a place, until I had the idea of tracking down Kirsten. She had taught me from when I was eight until I was eighteen, from when I couldn’t canter until I could comfortably perform in eventing, dressage, and showjumping. I had always respected and enjoyed her methods of teaching both horses and riders, and I knew she was someone I could trust to provide superb care for my horse and to train him excellently.

I managed to find Kirsten, and I shipped Volly from Connecticut to West Virginia so that he could stay there for the half-year I was away. (In the end, he stayed closer to a year). The first time I visited him, I was thrilled: he was soft, responsive, and full of impulsion; he was receiving correct, balanced training; he wasn’t being asked to do more than a four-year-old should. Most importantly to me, Volly was obviously incredibly happy: he was calm, composed, and confident.

I’ve recently had to move Volly so that I can ride him more than occasionally. Because of his time with Kirsten, he is now a pleasure to ride: light, responsive, impulsive, correct, and, most importantly, happy to do his job every day.

My Favorite West Virginia Horse Trainer

It never ceases to amaze me the twists and turns life takes when you least expect it. Who would have thought that I would be where I am now? If you had told me two years ago that I’d be living in the West Virginia Panhandle, married to the best natural dressage, natural hunter-jumper, natural horsemanship trainer, and all around incredibly talented wife Kirsten, I’d have laughed at you and gone about my business.

But then, here I am. Now, I’m getting valuable hands-on experience as a natural horseman and learning to ride while learning to teach my horse curiosity, friendliness, and courage. Dolly Madison and I are taking every opportunity to ride in our large grass arena, and are frequent visitors to the pole bending/Saracen head game row where we weave in and out of the poles like champs. That is an amazing feat of horsemanship for a guy with such a late start.

I’m also really blessed to be a part of the turnout board operation. Daily walks amongst the pastures are relaxing and fun, and watching the play of horse politics at feeding time is the source of endless hours of amusement and discussion. I’ve had the opportunity to turn an open field into structured pastures, creating order out of emptiness.

I’ve been gifted with watching new horses arrive unsure and uncertain of themselves and their surroundings, and be completely transformed by the open fields, good grazing, and natural environment we have here in the wv panhandle. And I’ve been blessed by seeing horses riding through farm lanes and trails that have existed since the Civil War, on land granted before the founding of our Country. Our horses graze on the very same grass grazed on by Stuart’s, Jackson’s, and Lee’s horses. How cool is that?

But best of all, is the time I get to spend with Kirsten working with the Horses. They’re a part of our daily lives. So many major operations, the people you speak to are not the person who manages the barn, who stays up all night with the sick horses, or shovels out the barn after the horses. Here, on this farm, we’re it. We’re as close to the animals on a daily basis as possible and horsemanship and horse care is integrated fully into our daily lives. I’ve learned so much in so little time, and she is the best horsemanship teacher I’ve ever met. It’s an honor to board my own horse here, and a privilege to learn from her teaching.

And it’s a privilege to be 15 days older than she is :=) Happy Birthday, my Love!

From Mary Antinozzi, Boston, MA:

From Mary Antinozzi, Boston, MA:

“Why Kirsten is so cool”

When looking back on all the years of my childhood, they are filled to the brim with riding lessons, pony club clinics, camps and lectures. While I remember the knowledge I gained, it is sometimes hard to remember who taught it to me. Although, there is one person who stands out above the fuzzy memories of the others, and that is Kirsten Lee. Continue reading “From Mary Antinozzi, Boston, MA:”