“Steve has amazing patience and knowledge” – Patti Bertram – Patti’s Show Horses – Minden Nevada

 I have been a breeder of Appaloosa’s and Quarter Horses for 35 years.  I have never owned less than a dozen and more like 20+ at all times.  Many champions in several disciplines have been dreamed of, bred, raised and/or promoted by me.  When it comes to trainers I’ve had my share!  Let me say in their defense;  a few have given me World and National champions.  They got the results we were after and within the AGENDA. 

Patti with World Champion - Curves
Patti leading World Champion Curves

I had heard of “Natural Horsemanship”, but only recently did I investigate it.  It has changed my whole life and especially that of my beloved horses.  What a blessing and my good fortune to have found Steve and his wife Terrah.  They PLAY with my horses using their quiet ”Natural” and humane methods.  Steve has amazing patience and knowledge.  His . . .principles of ground work has eliminated hundreds of laps around the round pen.  Steve shares and explains this . . . knowledge in ways that are easily understood, a lot of details of “timing and feel”.

Besides starting my youngsters- he has taken my gang of broodmares and is giving them confidence outside the herd with trust in the handler as a strong leader.  Surprisingly they are becoming riding horses after all these years.  I am so impressed with Steve.  With him there is no demand and bullying into compliance.  He uses encouragement, compassion and respect.

Patti Bertram

Horses and Art,  Minden Nevada

“Steve is able to mentally challenge the horses” – Judy Holt – Kids & Horses

I’ve known Steve since early 2007, primarily through his volunteer work at the Kids & Horses Therapeutic Riding Center where we both continue to work. I’ve watched his skills grow as he has consistently (and persistently!)  pursued his passion for horses, and people.  

I never appreciated him more than this last year when a health issue kept me from being able to ride our therapy horses, or even do any basic exercising.   As the Equine Manager for the Center, this was a most difficult situation and I relied on Steve heavily to keep the stable “working sound”.  People tend to think that therapy horses have it made in that they “don’t work much”, “only have to pack around little kids”, and receive “the best of care”.  The reality is that our students, with their anxieties, lack of physical stability, and interpersonal issues, provide huge mental and physical challenges to our horses.  Keeping them emotionally (yes, horses have emotions!)  healthy and happy in their work is difficult, under the best of circumstances.

Steve is able to mentally challenge the horses with his unique approach to horsemanship and keep them fit for classes and willing to partner with our instructors and students. 

Specifically, Steve focuses on exercises designed to build each horse’s confidence and soften their normal “flight or fight” instincts. As a result, horses become less resistant and more comfortable (desensitized), to new or unusual events or surroundings. 

The same rules apply to people, and Steve was, and is, able to teach other volunteer horse handlers similar techniques.  The change of pace he offers on the ground and under saddle, to both horses and humans, goes a long way towards making Kids & Horses a happy place for, well, all of us!

I wish him well in this endeavor, and would recommend him as a breath of fresh air in the equine world. We need more folks with balance, love, and in Steve’s case, the ability and desire to give 110% to all the right things!

Judy Holt

Kids & Horses

A PATH International Premier Accredited Center – Formerly NARHA

“Steve Is A Wonderful Teacher” – Laurie Roberts – Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy (NEAT)

I met Steve several years ago when we both were learning about a new equine therapy program.  I was immediately impressed by this big man with the kind and gentle way of being, not just with humans, but with horses too.  Though I was new to the field, Steve had been volunteering for another program that did similar work.  He willingly shared his knowledge and experience, helping me find my way in a new field and helping me to see my relationship with horses in a fresh and more creative way.

Though we were all learning about “Natural Horsemanship” through Pat Parelli’s 7 games, Steve took it a step further and studied the teachers that came before the Parelli’s;  the teachers they learned from.  But more than this, Steve has incorporated what he has learned into his own unique and effective way of addressing the horse/human relationship.

What’s more, Steve has helped me to be a better partner to my horses.   One example comes quickly to mind.  Like many horses, my Andalusian gelding Kody does not like to be “cinched up” too quickly.  Though I would try to be gentle, his response could be extreme – backing up till he breaks a rope or cross-tie and even falling on the ground – luckily he never hurt himself!  Steve was out visiting and was actually going to ride Kody. So I warned him, telling him that frankly I was about to “get tough” about this behavior, as it was unacceptable and dangerous.   I got busy with my own horse and the next time I saw Kody he was all saddled up.  Steve said he had no problem, “He likes wheat thins.  I just made it something that was good (tighten a little – get a wheat thin) and he was cool with it.”  What an “ah-ha moment”!  I was all set to punish him for reacting to something he didn’t like, but Steve showed me how to change this to making it something he did like.  In this way we both win – he stands while I tighten his girth (though I still am thoughtful about how quickly I do it) and he gets a reward for standing.  So much better than what I had intended!  I now keep a supply of wheat thins on hand  (low sugar  – so better than traditional horse treats and less expensive too!)  and all the horses get wheat thins during tack-up.  I know that Steve didn’t intend for me to give treats while girthing consistently and forever but . . .

Kody goofing around, as usual

To this day, when things aren’t working with a horse, I stop and ask myself, “what would Steve do?”

He is a wonderful teacher and a role model for those of us who want to truly build partnerships with the horses we work with.

N.E.A.T. – Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy

Laurie Roberts, Co-founder