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Misty grew up with horses in rural Western Washington. She began riding at the age of 4 and competed in local county fairs in pewee and youth division games for most of her youth with the instruction and guidance of her 4-H leader. Most of her time with horses was spent on daylong trail rides on the never-ending logging roads in Kitsap County.

The second phase of Misty’s horsemanship was based in natural horsemanship. She spent a total of 16 weeks studying at the Parelli centers from 2005-2006 where she learned to read horse behavior, respond according to a particular horse’s mental and emotional needs, and to use ground work and body language to communicate effectively with different types of horses. In 2006, Misty was invited to participate on the Parelli Savvy team, and in 2009, she received her Level 3 in Parelli Natural Horsemanship. She also studied horse behavior, ground work, and reining techniques with world-class natural horsemanship and reining instructor Vaughn Knudsen. Vaughn, who studied with Ray Hunt and the Dorrance brothers, used his “Create a Connection” program to train the Reserve World Junior Reining Champion at the World APHA show in 2007. Studying with Vaughn taught Misty how to blend natural horsemanship techniques into competition and helped her begin to understand the physical needs of the horse. In 2007, Misty attended a 3-day Karen Rohlf, “Dressage Naturally” clinic, which sparked her interest in Dressage.

In 2008, Misty began studying dressage with local classical dressage instructor, Danielle Koeppen, who has competed and won in recognized shows though the Prix St. George level. Danielle also studied with Vaughn Knudsen when her Prix St. George horse began having behavioral problems. She combines her 20 plus years of classical dressage training with her natural horsemanship studies to teach from a “natural dressage” approach. Misty has also attended several clinics and taken private lessons from Jack Lieser, another instructor with both a natural horsemanship and dressage background. This third, dressage-focused phase of Misty’s horsemanship combines what she has learned as a student of natural horsemanship about the horse’s mental and emotional needs, ground work, and body language with what she has learned as a student of classical dressage about strengthening the horse’s body and using the training scale in a logical, step-by-step manner in order to teach the horse new things with the least amount of stress.

Misty’s goal in all of her endeavors with horses is to meet the horse’s mental, emotional, and physical needs with a holistic approach to horse training. She takes her time with every horse in order to show him the love that can exist between horse and human; to build a language for communication that goes both ways; to become a trusted and respected leader for each horse every time she’s with him; and to help the horse become as light as possible in everything he does. In all of her endeavors with students, her goal is to find out what kind of learner they are: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic, and also to teach them what she has learned from her mentors in a step-by-step, logical manner that makes the most sense to them.