Louise grew up on an orchard and can’t remember a time when she wasn’t horse crazy. Her family wasn’t horsey but they had plenty room for horses and a pony, Happy, entered Louise’s life when she was eight. Ponies, horses, donkeys and mules, have been a part of her life ever since. She started working on a horse breeding farm when she was fifteen and has been involved professionally with horses ever since. In 1985 she graduated from Hollins University, where she was on the Intercollegiate Horse Show team. On graduation she began her career as a trainer-manager on a thoroughbred breeding farm. In the 1990’s, with two young boys, Louise pulled away from horses, but not completely, to teach elementary school for a few years. In 2007 Louise accepted a position at Sweet Briar College to be a riding instructor and coach, where she coached the Field Team and taught riding, concentrating on field riding, natural horsemanship, and Equine Facilitated Leadership. Louise became fascinated by the field of Equine Facilitated Learning- Therapy and pursued her Epala Instructor’s certification which she completed in March of 2018 and currently is in the process of achieving certification with PATH, as a Mental Health Equine Specialist. Louise’s mission is to empower people through assisting them to form inter-personal relationships with horses that teach awareness, confidence through understanding, compassion, and leadership, that starts with self-leadership.
Dare to Dream, or Csilla as her friends call her, is queen of Bent Post Farm and herd leader. When Louise met her, as a three-year old, she was an opinionated teen. She was defiant and didn’t want to listen or be told what to do. She also hated change. The first year, Louise and Csilla were together, was a rocky one but now more then 10 years later, the two are team and have a joyful heart-felt connection.
Louise and Grace were brought together when a kind-hearted woman saved Grace from an owner who believed that, sparing the rod spoiled the child. When this generous woman got Grace (then 4 years old) home, Grace decided the best way to protect herself was to not let another person touch her. That’s when Louise met her. After a month of trust building, it was decided that Grace should stay with Louise and for a decade the two have been a team. For many years, Grace was leased by Sweet Briar and there, not only excelled as a performance horse but taught numerous riders confidence, on the ground and in the saddle, until she retired to be an equine partner.
Roxie came from Tennessee and is an exceptionally lovely mule. For those who don’t know, mules are hybrids, half horse and half donkey. Roxie’s mom was a big Belgium mare and her dad a Mammoth Jack. Roxie is not only lovely to look at but has a sweet attitude and just can’t get enough scratching and loving. She seems to live to show people what a heart-felt connection feels like.
Gypsy was living tied in a backyard, and had a seriously infected hoof. After being nursed back to health, she went to live with a kind couple who took great care of her but didn’t try to ride or train her. In 2017 Gypsy came to Bent Post Farm, when the folks she lived with could no longer care for her due to health concerns and because they wanted Gypsy to have a horse family, something she’d never had before coming to Bent Post. Sweet Gypsy still worries, even though it has been many years since she knew food scarcity, about getting enough food.
Omar is a dear, sweet donkey that always has itchy ears. Until the spring of 2019, Omar’s job was being a livestock guardian donkey, where h is job was keeping coyotes and dogs out of the goat’s field. Although Omar was born ion a sheep farm and raised to be a guardian donkey, he didn’t like his job so it we decided to let him be an equine partner. He loves his new career and is one the happiest donkeys you’ll ever meet.