Joe and Andrea moved to Wellborn in 2000, after 5 years in Wisconsin. Prior to living in Wisconsin, they lived on Sanibel island, FL. Wisconsin was too cold. Sanibel was too hot. Wellborn was just right.
Andrea spends a lot of time on her computer managing "the oasis", putting together clinics, and working on various market research projects for corporate clients. But, from time to time, she gets to enjoy her mare Secret (left), her equine partner for 14 years and counting.
Despite two colic surgeries in 2004, and a fractured forehead in 2010, Secret (at age 21) is sounder, happier, and healthier than ever. Due, in large part, to the unparalleled "gymnasticizing" program taught by Mark Russell, author of "Lessons in Lightness". After many years (decades, really) of riding with other trainers and clinicians, there is no doubt that Mark has forever changed the way we approach and "train" our horses.
Joe always had fun with his horses. Joe was 40 years old when he got his first horse Dancer, a Buckskin gelding (photo, left), who at age 30 is still sound and having fun. Yes...age 30. He has all his teeth and, after 21 years with shoes he has been barefoot for the past 9 years. (Dancer, not Joe).
Interestingly Joe didn't have horses growing up, so he learned as an adult, and credits Wayne Perkins and John Harms for starting him off on the right path. Instead of making, Joe learned about asking. Joe teaches each horse to follow a feel (first in a round pen) and then on our obstacle course. Since a horse trailer is just another obstacle, any horse will load (and unload) quietly and easily, even when the handler is on the roof! But the horse must be rewarded for each "try" even if the try was barely perceptible! to the human. Joe teaches his students to be alert for the smallest "try", and once this is accomplished, the horse and human are true partners.
But, it isn't just about us. We open our farm to people who want to learn, and those who truly appreciate and respect horses. Can you spot our little Charlie (mini) in amongst the wheelchairs?