Well I have had the most amazing week of learning with Michelle Dennis and her herd of 23! We played with every horse every day! Often in groups of 5 or more! Started a couple of colts along the way, learned trimming hooves with power tool, learned a bit of leading horses in harness and generally had a ball! Did nothing but horses from dawn to dusk, taking short breaks for food and water. Michelle is possibly the best natural horse trainer that I have ever come across. Her reading of horses , her sense of timing, the way she keeps her herd and is really part of them is incredible! I could easily have spent a month with her. The way her horses took me on and included me as part of the herd was humbling. Even standing over me when I sat down waiting for Michelle and following me to the toilet! I will miss those guys! I have learned so much and have lots of ideas on how to change a bit what I do to include more group work. Michelle started her journey with Parelli in the late 90s and then used bits and pieces from other training methods but mainly observed her horses and let them teach her! She asked her horses to assist her to assist them to get what they needed in order to live and support themselves financially! If you ever have the opportunity go and spend time with Michelle. There is really no one else like her!
Michelle Dennis started and worked a 5 year old Australian stock horse gelding for me. This gelding had been over-handled as a youngster due to early health problems and was quite pushy and arrogant. He responded well to Michelle’s stress free, kind approach and has become a happy, forward-moving riding horse with a “can-do” attitude. I am sure he will carry this attitude forward into his competition career, and the fact that he is relaxed and unfazed by anything can only help him to succeed.
I have been riding horses for over 30 years, since the age of three, and was fortunate enough to grow up on property and to work in the rural industry all my life. I have had a variety of horses and always thought I could get a horse going pretty well. Just recently, three 3 year old horses that belong to the pastoral company I currently work for, returned home from being broken in. They had had very little done with them, and I was having trouble getting anywhere with them. Whatever I taught them today, was gone tomorrow. My frustrations grew, and no amount of work could get through to them. That led me to look for some help. A search on the internet turned up quite a list. Michelle Dennis wasn’t too far from me so I contacted her and arranged a couple of private lessons. Within two one hour sessions working with Michelle, there was a complete turn around in the horses. I was so impressed with the transformation of one particular filly that I was having the most trouble with, I purchased her for myself a few weeks later.
I was then given the opportunity to start the next lot of 10 two year olds. They have a reputation for being a little spooky and slow to mature. With little handling behind them, I started on the first four. Michelle’s methods made a huge difference to the starting process, including having the horses stand with no headstall or bridle to accept the saddle for the very first time, accepting me walking around them a full 360 degrees whilst cracking a stock whip and also flicking it all over them. Three of the four were ridden outside the yard on their second ride, including opening the gate off them. The fourth horse, due to an incoming shower of rain, I rode out of the yard on the first ride, which included opening the gate, to go and stand under the shed. Due to a hectic work schedule, the horses only had approximately twelve rides before being turned out for three months. I recently got them back in and rode the four of them again with no dramas at all. They hadn’t forgotten anything they had been taught.
For anybody looking to improve their horsemanship, their relationship with their horse, or their horses, or all of the above, then I highly recommend getting in touch with Michelle and discovering a better way.
I have been struggling to find the words to do you justice or to explain the “other world” that you have opened me up to. You have changed my life! I approach everything differently now and my horses can’t thank you enough. You are 100% committed to the best interest of the horse and your holistic and spiritual approach is amazing and you are not afraid to tell it straight. I needed to hear everything you had to say but coming from you, like my horses knew the minute they met you, I knew I could trust you. I am still in awe of how connected you are to your horses and how mine instantly opened up to you. Birdie had the privilege of spending a month with you and your herd in May this year and Sunny spent a three day clinic with you in September. Since these experiences and with my new understanding of both of them thanks to you, they have both let me into their secret world. The most amazing things keep happening and our connection just keeps getting stronger. I have found my inner cowgirl and I am doing things I never thought I could do like bridle-less riding. I can not recommend you enough to anyone whose heart and mind is ready to let go and truly experience how amazing our horses are and what the can teach us.
Michelle truly understands animals and they understand her!
The fact that they are at ‘liberty’ means that they are free to leave if they don’t like the game. No round yard or ropes to keep them close, it’s their free choice to perform.
I always knew I understand horses and I had a very special bond with my childhood horse, so that’s why I had trouble getting into natural horsemanship. It was the most friendly method I could find but my horses clearly didn’t enjoy it.
However, meeting Michelle and her herd was absolutely amazing! She is an outstanding teacher and has a great team, her herd, to support her.
In my very first lesson with her she began by showing me what it feels like to be a horse with no understanding or motivation for what is being asked and then she showed me what it feels like to be chosen by one of her herd members to interact and move together. I will never forget the joy I felt when one of the donkeys walked with me and even jumped a log on my request.
Michelle’s teachings gave me a great foundation of understanding and the directions to the path I wanted to walk with my herd.