Kelly, in For the Love of Horses, you share the story the love you and your sisters have of horses. Your passion was the catalyst into the care of Wild Kaimanawa horses destined for the slaughterhouse. What do you think made you take a personal passion to such a public project?
We have always believed in improving horse welfare and saw a desperate need for the wild Kaimanawa horses to gain a public following to ensure their ongoing survival in both wild and domestic environments. We are very lucky that we have gained recognition through our success in Show Jumping, television appearances and now with our book to be in a position to help these horses that don’t deserve to end their lives in the slaughter horse... By working alongside the charitable trust Kaimanawa Heritage Horses we have been able to make some very positive changes in recent years.
Many people thought Wild Kaimanawa horses were untrainable. What is the secret of your success?
We have no set formula... There is no ‘one’ way to train a wild horse. Every horse must be treated as an individual and be worked in their own way, in their own time. If what we do isn’t working we search for new ways of doing things, forever growing and adapting who we are as people and as horse trainers. Quite often the horses become the teachers and every horse has taught us something new – we have to be willing to listen to what they are trying to tell us.
Alongside your sisters you were awarded the FEI Solidarity Award for your compassionate work with wild Kaimanawa horses. You have dedicated a tremendous amount of time, skill and effort and have been rewarded by providing a second life to horses. What lessons do you think we can learn from your efforts when it comes to looking after people that may feel at times less than wanted?
One of the most fundamental things we have learnt through our work with horses is that they generally don’t misbehave on purpose and we have learnt to search for a solution rather than punish the symptoms. With people it is exactly the same – if they are lonely or sore they can show symptoms of anger or depression but those reactions are not the problem... They are just the symptoms for an underlying issues. If you discover and address the root cause of a problem it can dramatically affect the overall wellbeing of both horses and people and they can lead a far greater life.
From Pony Club onwards you have been involved with a diverse range of people in the equine sector. Do any older people stand out for you as being particularly influential in the success you have enjoyed in life?
Anyone and everyone that gave us a chance or believed we were capable of greatness has played a significant part in who we are today, including our parents – words of affirmation and encouragement are some of the greatest gifts we can give to others.
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