Recently I found myself looking for a little inspiration for the next step in  my horsemanship journey. I tend to reflect a lot, and most of the time those  reflections do provide a spark of inspiration. But there are other times when I’m  just not feeling inspired, at all. It is in those moments that I will usually decide to  go looking for a little inspiration. It could be going out and doing something  spontaneous, or revisiting whatever inspired me in the first place. Some of my  recent reflections helped me realize that I needed to revisit inspiration from  years past, and rather than keeping it to myself, I thought I would share that list  with all of you. Today’s inspiration list is about some of the people who inspired  me before, and during the start of my horsemanship journey. 

Steve Irwin – The Crocodile Hunter 

I can feel your confused looks already. How does The Crocodile Hunter  relate to horses? Well to be perfectly honest I don’t remember anything about  Steve Irwin in relation to horses. However, Steve significantly influenced my  desire to learn everything I could about any animal I encountered, and his passion  was infectious! I never had any aspiration to hold a snake, wrestle a crocodile, or  do even one third of the things Steve did, but it was his care and passion for all  animals that had me absolutely hooked on The Crocodile Hunter tv show. I could  tell Steve loved what he did, and he loved sharing it with the world. He inspired  me to passionately pursue the things I loved, especially animals, the same way he did. 

Clinton Anderson – Downunder Horsemanship 

The first horseman to inspire me was Clinton Anderson of Downunder  Horsemanship whose motto happens to be: “To Inspire The Dreams of Horseman.”  A little over a year before I started working with horses I was watching a video  series on YouTube documenting the training of a rescue horse named Fancy. In the videos, trainer Scott Downs kept mentioning Clinton Anderson, and The Method.  Being curious, and really impressed by the drastic improvement I saw in Fancy  during her training, I started watching Clinton’s videos.  

For me, a big part of what inspired me to pursue a career working with  horses was the way that Clinton teaches horse training in a step-by-step  progression, providing a solid training foundation for the horse, and rider. Not only was I able to see the results, but he made the process, and horses, easy to  understand. Something that was extremely helpful when I started working on a  farm where, most of the time, I was the only person on site. What I learned from  Clinton’s videos gave me confidence around those horses that I might not have  gained otherwise. 

Natasha Althoff – Your Riding Success

The next inspirational person in my horsemanship journey has been Natasha  Althoff of Your Riding Success. Though the start of my ground work foundation  with horses was a little sporadic, my first couple years of riding went fairly well.  For the most part I had little to no fear, even with a few spooks, and a sometimes  stubborn trail mount. But after a spook and bolt incident, I found myself scared of  riding. Heartbroken at the thought of not riding, I began looking up any video on  how to get over my fear of riding. The first video to pop up was Natasha Althoff’s  video, “How To Overcome Your Horse Riding Fear.” In the video she did not hold  back any punches! She drew the line of how yes, to a degree, fear is designed to  keep us safe, and comfortable, but you need to draw the line when that same fear is costing you progress.  

What has inspired me the most watching Natasha over the years is her  passion to not only succeed, and reach her own goals, but how much she loves  seeing others conquer their fears, and succeed as well. You can really feel how  much she enjoys sharing her knowledge, and helping riders and their horses reach their full potential. She is also a Grand Prix Dressage rider who is amazing at  teaching dressage in a way that makes it fun, and understandable for everyone. 

Dan James – Double Dan Horsemanship 

Speaking of fun, if you haven’t seen Dan James’ Freestyle Reining ride as  Tonto on his horse Smart Little Elan you need to! He set the competition bar so  high incorporating liberty work, riding bareback, and at times backwards! But as  awesome as everything Dan can do with his horses is, his “My Story” video is the  one that inspires me the most. Dan James never quit. He sprung back from that  accident, and got right back on not just to ride, but one month after the injury he  decided to compete. Seeing his story, and his determination to get back up, really  inspired me to push myself to keep riding, even during the times that just the  thought of riding caused me quite a bit of anxiety.  

If those two videos were all I ever knew about Dan James that would be  enough, but in typical Dan James style there’s so much more! Dan James has  literally done everything you can think of, and then some! He is the closest  example I can think of when I say in order to be an all-around horsewoman, I want to learn as much as I can about horses and riding. 

A Little Inspiration Can Come From Anywhere 

This is a short list, there are many others who have inspired me along my  horsemanship journey. Whether I was riding English, or Western I have always  tried to surround myself with the voices of people who inspire me to never give  up, to keep learning, to keep riding, and to keep conquering my fears. 

Leave us a comment about who inspires you to be the best horse person you can  be!


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Brittany Madonia

Hi everyoneI grew up in a small town in New England, and later moved to the Carolinas where my dreams of working with horses became a reality. Not long after that I spent a couple months earning a certificate as a Barn Manager/Professional Groom at the Equine Management Training Center in Axton, VirginiaI have worked in a few places since then, and even though I haven’t found a permanent place to land just yet, I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey! Some of my passions include learning everything I can about horses, dogs, mental health, and a couple foreign languagesI look forward to hanging out with everyone here as we learn and grow together!

February 11, 2022
February 11, 2022