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Member Highlight - March 2024

member spotlight Mar 12, 2024

Reata Horsemanship Member of the Month for March of 2024!

Each month, we will be highlighting one of our Reata Horsemanship Members so everyone can get to know each other a little better! 

This month, weve chosen Deb Debolt, who is from: Leduc County,  Alberta, Canada

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m originally from Edmonton, Alberta. I was raised in the city, but always wanted a horse. When my youngest daughter was 11, I bought her a horse.  It changed our lives completely. I then bought myself a horse, sold the house in the city, and bought an acreage so the horses could live at home. I’m now retired from an airline and am fortunate to spend my winters in Arizona, where I met Luke. My passion is horses of course. I love to trail ride at home and in Arizona, but I’m also loving becoming a better rider and creating a better connection with my horse. 

My other passion is my children and grandchildren.

How long have you been a member of Reata Horsemanship? 

I met Luke and asked him to train one of my horses in the winter of 2019-20, I think. I have been a member on and off over the years as I would lose when I came home to Canada. I am happy to say, I’m now a life time member. 

What’s your favorite part of the Reata Horsemanship Membership? 

The resources of all the training videos are my favorite part for now, but I’m beginning to really enjoy the community through Wednesday Q&A and the book club. I’m excited about the future plans Luke and Stacy have to have even more ways to engage with other members.

How has being a member of Reata Horsemanship helped you? 

The Q&A is awesome. Its wonderful to hear the questions and Luke’s live answers. The membership also gave me a discount on a private lesson with Luke that changed EVERYTHING, for me and my horse. 

 Do you have a horse?  If so, what’s his/her name and other information you’d like to share with us? 

My horse is a 7 yr old gelding. He is a replacement mount for my two retired geriatric geldings, coming 30 and 31 in May. It’s been a challenge to replace my old boys. This is the second horse Luke has trained for me, and he’s a keeper. I have learned the hard way, not every horse is a good match, no matter how well he is trained. This is my second winter with “Arthur”. He is also sometimes know as Wart or Andy. You will have to figure out why.

What’s your most important goal for this year of 2024? 

Well, up until today it was loping on a loose rein, but after day 1 of auditing Buck Brannaman’s clinic, I have so many new goals! I want to work toward the type of connection Buck has with his horses. 

What is something unique about you, your journey, or your horse? 

I didn’t start riding until I was 40. I was lucky enough to have a horse crazy daughter and she became my reason to bring horses into our lives. We knew nothing.We joined 4H and learned so much from that community. I’ve always tried to better myself. I wore out a set of John Lyons cassettes, had a set of Pat Parelli VHS, and spent many hours in my back yard learning through trial and error. Green on green. 2 yr old horses, and my daughter and I had nothing but enthusiasm going for us. We were very lucky. 

What achievement (with horses or not) are you most proud of? 

I guess, just working on being a better version of me, everyday. 

What is a recent challenge you have been able to overcome? 

I broke ribs 3 times on my last horse. I was so emotionally invested in him, but we were not a match. I sold him a year ago.  I had lost all my confidence. In January this year, even with my new boy Arthur, I was very close to quitting horses. I was no longer having fun, I was scared on trail rides, and had to push myself to swing a leg over every day. It was getting worse. I had a chat with Luke.  He told me if I couldn’t lope my horse on a loose rein in the arena, it wasn’t safe to take him on the trail. I didn’t believe him. I was NEVER going to lope a horse again. I’m 67!  I had a private lesson with Luke and he had me loping in the round pen by the end.  Another lesson 2 weeks later, and my life has changed. I’m loping on a loose rein in the round pen!  I haven’t felt this enthusiastic about riding in 5 years. I am relaxed and confident on the trail again.  My horse sees me as his leader now. I believe Luke now. 

Any final thoughts? 

If you have a passion for horses, don’t ever give up on yourself. With my last horse, I had to learn the difference between being determined and being stubborn.  I kept hearing, there are no bad horses, just bad humans, so I kept getting back on , ignoring cracked ribs and shattered confidence. I had to learn that some relationships just can’t work. My fear was creating fear in my horse and it escalated. We would never get past scaring each other. He needed a different leader, and I found a wonderful new partner in Arthur. We are on our way to being partners in the dance.