Equine Groundworks Solutions is a team of equestrians lead by Mary Elena Moran and her mounted patrol partner, Kim Bryson. Recently Unbassador Program Lead CJ Millar of Unbelts had the chance to catch up with Mary Elena and Kim as they hosted a clinic near her home in the Catskill mountains of New York State. Hosted by Stonewall Farms in Jeffersonville, NY, the clinic had a great turnout and was a wonderful way for equestrians across all disciplines to work with their hoses alongside experts Mary Elena and Kim to improve their relationship and trust.
The clinic was a wonderful and inspiring day of learning really useful groundwork tools to find a calm connection, overcoming spooky and high anxiety situations, learning about positive reinforcement, as well as confidence and trust-building using obstacle training. Participants left with some great tools and self-discoveries about how much we can positively or negatively influence our horse’s confidence with our responses to their stress or negative behaviors.
Imagine working with your horse to build confidence through a variety of obstacles and other challenges. Thanks to Unbelts Unbassadors Mary Elena and Kim of Equine Groundworks Solutions, you can learn how to approach these challenges with calm confidence! Photo by Justine O’Hanlon of participant Emma Jean Moran and her QH mare Barbie.
From various obstacles such as giant beach balls, pool noodles, the ribbon wand, and so much more, there was plenty to work on for each horse and handler combination. The focus was on building positive experiences together for horses and their handlers to help them overcome challenges, face things that may make horses “spook” and work together to improve confidence. The benefits of great groundwork exercises such as those hosted by Mary Elena and Kim are that they not only help how the horse and handler communicate together, but also improve the horse’s confidence on their own. This can help them learn to deal with new and potentially scary situations in a calm manner. Since horses are flight animals, often when confronted with new and scary things, their first instinct is to run. Through a foundation of groundwork filled with positive and confidence-building experiences, horses can learn to overcome that flight reaction and respond with confidence both with their handler/rider and on their own.
When not teaching clinics, both Mary Elena and Kim are mounted patrol officers for the New York State Police and can be seen at various events on the East Coast. Recently they rode assisting the NYPD Mounted Unit in the “Trail To Zero” ride to bring awareness to Veteran Suicide. Tools and training exercises such as those that were used in the clinic are a key part of any mounted patrol horse’s training, making Mary Elena and Kim both expertly qualified to help other equestrians.
Kim & Mary with Ne-Yo and Madison in New York City assisting NYPD Mounted in the “Trail To Zero” ride to bring awareness to Veteran Suicide. Photo by CC Photography.
In addition to focusing on horse and rider communication, being a part of the NYC mounted patrol, working with rescue horses, and so much more, both Kim and Mary Elena are very safety- and environmentally-conscious which is part of what brought them to Unbelts. They love that the belts are progressively made and that the Intrepid in heathered slate matches their uniforms while the Classic Belts in royal purple and black match their trail riding and fun event colours.