Category : News

Newsletter – March 2017

March 2017

We have exciting updates to share. Click here to sign up for the full monthly Newsletter!…

Follow us on Facebook or visit our website
Joy is a 5 year old pony approximately 14.2 hands high. Joy was rescued by the Georgia Equine Rescue, arriving at their facility with a body score of 1. She received care and nurturing. Nancy Faulconer of Cloud 9 Ranch acquired Joy. Nancy and her team gave Joy a natural training restart. Joy was restored to health and happiness.

Nancy Faulconer made Joy available for purchase and an anonymous donor provided the funds so Wild Horsemanship Center (WHC) could acquire Joy for more specific training, hoping to make her available for work in a therapeutic riding program.

Today, Joy is working at Special Equestrians in Fort Myers, FL. We reached out to Jan Fifer, Executive Director of Special Equestrians, and asked her to share her thoughts on Joy and the impact Joy has made on their program. Jan was very enthusiastic, and we had to share her story:
“After having a rough year where we had to retire three of our best horses, Special Equestrians was in a herd building phase like we had not experienced in 5 years. We needed horses but were not sure if we would be able to use such a young horse quickly enough to satisfy our needs. Some of our instructors and our volunteer coordinator made the decision to go meet Joy and Chris Cook at WHC in Reddick. This was the beginning of a great partnership in so many ways.
We got a demonstration that day that blew us away. This young horse was not only loving, kind and totally charming, she had riding skills that were amazing. The demo was impressive, but we needed to know if she could be comfortable with a leader and support people on each side of her, which can be claustrophobic to a horse. At Special Equestrians, we have a wide variety of riders with many different skill levels. Our horses must be so versatile as to be ok with all levels of riders with many different disabilities.

On October 28, 2016, Special Equestrians took a group of board members and horse leaders to WHC for a Horses Helping Humans workshop. We also took a horse trailer to bring Joy home in. Joy was very curious about everything she encountered and very eager to check out her new home. She took herself into our large mounting ramp (for persons with disabilities) shortly after her arrival. Most horses are wary of this large structure so Joy’s reaction was unique! In our sensory trail and our riding arena, Joy wanted to touch and put her feet on everything. She had no fear of “stuff”.
After simulated rides with instructors and volunteers, it was time for the real deal. Because of her young age, we were hesitant about putting her into the classes, however the first day we made that move, we realized that she could handle a lot of variety! Wheelchairs, big toys, walkers, nothing worried this girl. She is very social and she enjoyed the attention from everyone! Some of the students were counting the days until they could ride Joy.
Joy’s first rides were with two very different riders. The first rider was an advanced rider who rides independently. It went very well! Joy was happy to be in the mix and the young man was in horse heaven. He had been hoping to ride Joy for weeks! Her next rider needed a leader and two sidewalkers. Joy did an amazing job with this young man as well. She is honestly not bothered by anything. She is a pro at following the horse leader’s feet staying in tune with their steps and stopping when they stop. To have a horse who knows how to follow the feet of her horse leader is a fantastic thing for a horse leader in a therapeutic riding class. Because of her training at WHC, Joy came to us with this skill down pat!
I truly believe that Joy likes her job and Chris Cook knew that therapeutic riding was her destiny early on. We love Joy and we are proud to have her in our horse herd. Thank you WHC for this wonderful gift of Joy. Along with Joy, we have a partnership with WHC that has helped us to train our horse leaders and horses in the best way possible. Our training from WHC in sympathetic training techniques has been invaluable and it is our new standard of excellence for horse leaders at Special Equestrians. We have learned to be more natural and effective horse leaders. In this process, we are all winners…horses, volunteers, staff and most of all, our participants.”
We are grateful for the opportunity to help Special Equestrians fulfill their mission.
Please enjoy the video of Joy at work when you subscribe to our monthly Newsletter!

Newsletter – February 2017

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter here

Energy Work – It Works!

Horses are naturally intuitive to the energy around them. The Wild Horsemanship Center (WHC) team is very conscious of this reality and uses it to help them to connect to their horses in training. A true connection with a horse creates a safer horse for the human. There is no more important place for the need of a safe horse than in a therapeutic riding setting. Chris Cook is working extensively with Special Equestrians of Ft. Myers, Florida to help the humans understand and identify the skills and energy levels needed to develop this connection with their horses.
The success they are enjoying is remarkable. Please see our story about Kyler below! The fact that his therapy horse, Wishy, progressed to the point that Kyler could trot Wishy independently brought about a dramatic change for this young rider.
Horses Helping Humans
Chris Cook successfully addressed issues with this therapeutic riding horse at Special Equestrians. Amy Oxendine, one of Special Equestrian’s PATH instructors is riding the horse which is now ready to be ridden independently by students. This equals a new job and productive life for the horse and expanded therapy opportunities for the riding center.
Your Support Makes All This Possible!
Wild Horsemanship Center appreciates YOU. With your support, we are providing programs that make life better for people and horses.

Follow our progress, share what you learn and like!
It costs $40 per person to provide the Horses Helping Humans 101 Workshop conducted at WHC or $50 per person when Chris travels to a therapeutic riding facility. Please consider sponsoring a workshop or a participant with a gift today.
You can have a direct impact on the ability of therapeutic riding programs to provide safer, more satisfying services for people and the horses which provide this exceptional therapy.
We are committed to organizational transparency and using donation dollars wisely to fulfill our mission. Please visit and view our profile under Wild Horsemanship Center, Inc.
Kyler’s mother wrote to Special Equestrians:
“This picture is so priceless. It literally speaks one thousand words. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see it. Kyler won’t read for ANYONE, but he read to Wishy tonight. The moment was truly amazing. I will never in all my life forget this moment. ”
Wishy is a therapy horse at Special Equestrians in Fort Myers, Florida.
Chris Cook and Amy Oxendine, of Special Equestrians, have been working with Wishy to help her respond with less pressure, turn and change directions with softness and stop with intention and lightness.
Special Equestrians has a reading program and Kyler would tell his sidewalkers that he couldn’t read. The last time Kyler rode, he was able to trot Wishy independently because of her improved responsiveness. This new found independence grew Kyler’s confidence immensely. Kyler was encouraged to try to read a page in a book while on the horse. He did so in a quiet manner. When he dismounted, he was asked to read something to Wishy. Kyler did so with improved confidence and strength in his voice.
We at WHC are so proud to be able to assist Special Equestrians in their riding program, and we wish the best for Kyler – you have a great future ahead of you!
Wild Horsemanship Center is hosting Garrick Pasini April 21-23, 2017
Learn the progression from Hackamores to Bridle Bits and the secrets of this beautiful tradition!
All levels of riders and horses are welcome
Contact Chris for registration:
Wild Horsemanship Center Hosted Patrick King February 17-20, 2017
The event was well received as confirmed by one of the attendees:
“This was great! You gave me some good pcs to use. I will keep in mind ” The seat initiates… the leg motivates… the rein validates” and I really like the idea of not babysitting with my legs. Great job, guys.”
Wild Horsemanship Center would like to extend Special Thanks to the leadership at Special Equestrians,Inc. of Fort Myers, Florida
Key Supporters of our Education Program include: Dee Hollander, Head Instructor Justin Parchen, Instructor Amy Oxendine, Instructor
Executive Team: Bob Murray, President Erin Houck-Tool, Vice President Sarah Lacy, Secretary Fredia Jones, Co-Treasurer Brenda Morrow, Co-Treasurer Jan Fifer, Executive Director Sherry Gilbert, Board Member Priscilla Kopalsky, Board Member

Newsletter – January 2017

January 2017
Welcome to the Wild Horsemanship Center (WHC) Email Newsletter. We have exciting happenings to share. We will be in touch each month but follow us on Facebook or check out our website anytime!

WHC is Building Relationships & Making a Difference

WHC is building a special relationship with Mending Fences, a residential substance abuse treatment facility in neighboring Morriston, FL.

The mission of Mending Fences is to help each client learn to live a happy and fulfilling life free from addiction. Mending Fences uses Equine Therapy to help individuals build trust, confidence, social skills, impulse control, perspective and learn boundaries.

This is where Chris Cook and WHC have been able to assist. Chris has demonstrated strategies for working with challenging horses at the Mending Fences facility, and Mending Fences clients have come to WHC to expand their equine interaction. The clients are referred to as the Mending Fences Crew.

With the guidance of Chris, the Mending Fences Crew has had the opportunity to evaluate horses to use in their program and to help with their own therapy. Crew members have the opportunity to experience firsthand how being persistent with a horse pays off, and are also able to make parallels to their own lives. While working with a very dominant horse, a crew member became frustrated. Chris encouraged the crew member to keep working with the horse, and reminded the crew member that even if it takes a few days to change the horse’s mind, that’s okay. Eventually, the horse yielded to pressure and cooperated. The crew member made an important observation stating, “I have given up so often in the past when things got hard”, she learned that if she is persistent and she sticks with something even when it is difficult or frustrating, as she did while working with the horse, things can get better.

Other crew members observing an upset mare acting out in the round pen at WHC were guided to take a new perspective on this challenging behavior.  This mare was not a bad horse, she was simply  dealing with fear and a poor beginning. She is at WHC to have a second chance – to learn new behaviors and respect. Crew members made connections to their own situations!

Click here to subscribe!!! WHC Newsletter

Annie – Looking for a forever home!


Annie was donated to WHC by a couple of very accomplished horsemen in the area. She had a great start and is spending some time with Chris to further her education under saddle.

She’s a 10 year old AQHA mare with Peppy San Badger and Doc O Lena in her lines. She is very confident and athletic and can be a great ranch/ranch versatility horse. Chris is really enjoying his time with this girl and says she is a pleasure to ride.

Annie will be looking for a forever home in the near future.

If you are interested in meeting Annie please contact us at or call us at (352)620-0477

Horse Development Program

Pilgrim is a 10 year old 14.3hh Spotless Appaloosa that recently graduated our Horses Helping Humans horse development program. She is a rescue from the Horse Protection Association of Florida (HPAF) that our program has developed into a solid therapeutic and recreational riding horse.

We are very proud to announce that Pilgrim has found a forever home thanks to the great effort from the WHC Development Team and HPAF staff

WHC has been helping HPAF with staff education and business leadership as a effort to support horse rescues and therapeutic riding program further their missions.

If you would like to donate to our Horses Helping Humans mission please click the Donate button and invest in our efforts at the top of the page.

Horses Helping Humans

Joy is a coming 5 year old pony approximately 14.2hh.  Joy was rescued by Georgia Equine Rescue, She came to them with a body score of 1! Nancy Faulconer of Cloud9 Ranch and her team gave Joy a natural restart and got her back to being healthy and happy!

She was then adopted by Wild Horsemanship Center to continue to live our mission of supporting certified therapeutic riding centers with natural horsemanship through our Horses Helping Humans program. The goal is for WHC to donate Joy to a therapeutic riding facility! She would make a great kids pony for a center certified with PATH.

Joy is available

If you are interested in Joy for your therapy facility please contact us! email:

Stirrups N Strides Therapeutic Riding Center

Ranch came out Wild Horsemanship Center (WHC) from Stirrups N Strides Therapeutic Riding Center with confidence and saddling issues.  Stirrups N Strides is a PATH accredited therapeutic riding program that helps disabled riders achieve higher levels of physical and mental health.

Ranch needed a broader foundation to be a safe and confident therapeutic riding horse as his previous training had only been in driving. He came to our Horses Helping Humans horse development program very unconfident about being handled or ridden. With in a few months of being with our staff and in our foundation training program, Ranch showed huge changes in confidence and understanding. He graduated or therapeutic riding program with high expectations of returning to Stirrup N Strides.

Due to navicular changes in his front hoofs WHC and Stirrups N Strides agreed to retire Ranch from therapeutic riding.

He found his forever home with a PATH certified instructor that works at Stirrups N Strides. He now does light trail rides for the family with confidence.

We wish Ranch and his new family well and WHC continues to work with Stirrups N Strides in the areas of staff education, horsemanship and business leadership through our Horses Helping Humans program