Susan Shields

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ECC Susan

Name: Susan Shields

Susan has had horses in her life since she was born in 1960. Susan’s grandfather was a Rodeo Cowboy and made a living at breaking and training horses. She was born in the Army so the opportunity to grow up around them was limited. To go and see her Grandma and Grandpa at the Ranch every summer for 2 weeks was something she looked forward to every year. Susan started out with a Shetland pony, when her family was stationed at Ft Carson; she actually got to take trail rides from a Dude Ranch. When Susan turned 13 her family was stationed at Ft Rucker, Alabama where there were stables there and she got her first "real" horse. It was there she began learning how to ride English as a member of Pony Club of America Chapter there. She used to ride her bike 2 miles each way to go down ride and clean paddocks. At the age of 16 her dad retired and they moved back to Kennewick, Washington, where her Grandpa was and she was given a really nice horse that she used in 4-H and open shows. Susan’s Grandpa’s deal with her was to ride Western, which was no problem, as long as she had a horse. Susan has had a passion and love for horses all of her life. When Susan was a sophomore in College at Washington State University, she was selected to represent the Pendleton Round Up as a Princess for the year of 1979. College, career, and marriage slowed down the activity of horses, and trying to make sure she was set up to live her dream one day, became the goal. Susan continued to have a couple of horses, but didn't have much time to ride them like she desired. One day Susan realized what she had wasn't enough without horses, she told her husband she wanted to go back home to the ranch, to begin "living" her dream. Susan’s husband didn't understand the passion and desire she had to return to the equine industry, the two split ways and Susan went back home to the ranch. That is when Susan met and lived with a cowboy who had studied John Lyons method of round penning horses and the new humane way of breaking and training horses. The cowboy had every video and book imaginable and Susan watched, read and practiced getting so excited with the nice results that weren't causing the horse to be fearful. This was in 1994 and Susan has not looked back since. Ten years ago, when Susan’s mother passed, her sister's sold the ranch and Susan decided to move out to Colorado. She found a place in Avondale, and began making her own little horse place. Knowing there was so much to learn, she began watching RFD channel and the top trainer shows it has to offer, found local people to ride with, joined saddle clubs, SCHA, was part of a mounted drill team, barrel racing, and gathering cattle for local rancher friends, and now she is a Little Britches Mom. As Susan continues her journey, she finds that any horse has the potential to do all of this if their partner is kind, patient and understanding. In the time Susan has been here in Colorado, and has turned approximately 40 horses over to others with a good foundation. Susan focuses on the ground work first, asking for willingness and understanding of movement under saddle.

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