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Ellen DeGeneres, NRHA Champion, Quarter Horse Congress Record, Road to the Horse Winner – Stacy Westfall Has Done It All

Elise’s guest on today’s Because of Horses podcast is the renowned trainer, clinician, and competitor, Stacy Westfall. Stacy’s remarkable style of riding without a bridle or a saddle has set the bar for true horsemanship. Though the list of championships and purses is far too long to detail, here are just a few highlights from Stacy’s incredible career: in 2003, she won the National Reining Horse Association Freestyle competition riding without a bridle; she went undefeated for two years...


Passing It On with George Morris, McLain Ward, and Isabell Werth, Danny Forbes & DMF Productions

Elise’s guest on today’s Because of Horses is Danny Forbes, founder and owner of DMF Productions. Danny regularly produces phenomenal clinics featuring some of the world’s finest equestrians, including George Morris, McLain Ward, Scott Brash, and Isabell Werth — the most decorated Olympic equestrian in history. No stranger to the competitive equestrian world, Danny himself enjoyed a long career in the industry, both in and out of the saddle. He spent the majority of his life as a...


Harder than Navy SEALs: What It Takes to Be a Police Horse, with Sgt. Michael Hunter and Sr. Corporal Bobby Favors

Elise’s guests today are Sergeant Michael Hunter, who leads the Dallas Mounted Unit, and Senior Corporal Bobby Favors, who selects and trains both the horses and riders. It takes a unique horse to successfully join a police department’s mounted unit. From the selection process to the physical and mental components, making it through training, and actually going into service are major accomplishments that few horses can achieve. In the US, the success rate for horses going into police...


Cavalia Aerialist and Rider, Claire Beer

Elise’s guest today is Cavalia aerialist and rider, Claire Beer. Cavalia is a show that calls for superlatives — It’s the biggest touring show in the world, held under the largest big top in the world. It is a show inspired by the ancient alliance between horse and human, combining practically every mythos involving horses ever known to mankind. Over 5 million people worldwide have seen the show since its 2003 debut. And it's the dream, come to life, of Cirque du Soleil's creator, Normand...


NCEA Co-Chair, The Plaid Horse Podcaster, and Dad to a Powerhouse Equestrian Family, Tom O’Mara

Elise’s guest on today’s Because of Horses podcast is Tom O’Mara, Co-Chair of the National Collegiate Equestrian Association’s Advisory Board, as well as a frequent guest on the Plaid Horse’s Plaidcast, where he keeps listeners updated on the latest NCEA news. He’s also a horse-show dad — and husband — who knows the competitive horse world like few others. Tom has three daughters and a son; Casey, Abby, Meg, and T.J. — all of whom have ridden competitively. The family of six have traveled...


Saving Wild Mustangs and Inmates Through the ‘Wild Horse Inmate Program,’ with Randy Helm

Elise’s guest on today’s Because of Horses helps save hundreds of wild Mustangs every year, in the process also providing life skills and hope to the prisoners who volunteered to gentle them. Randy Helm heads up the Wild Horse and Burro Inmate Program within the Arizona Department of Corrections. Randy supervises and trains about 40 prisoners, and over 500 horses and burros, ensuring the animals' careful gentling and making it possible for them to leave BLM's holding facilities and get...


The Heartwarming Hill Country Equestrian Lodge, with Dianne Lindig Lovett

During the week between Christmas and New Years, Elise had the opportunity to stay a week at the Hill Country Equestrian Lodge, just outside Bandera, Texas. While there, she met Dianne Lindig Lovett — a talented equestrian in riding, training, and competing; and the lodge's co-owner. Taken by her story, wonderful hospitality, and love for horses, Elise asked Dianne on the spot to be a guest on Because of Horses — and very happily, she agreed! This episode, join Elise and Dianne as they...


Equine Health, Journalism, and a Three-Legged Pony Named Molly, with Fran Jurga

In this episode, Elise talks with award-winning blogger and journalist Fran Jurga, who has devoted her career to writing about horse health, covering Olympic equestrian events and World Equestrian Games, and sharing delightful stories about veterinarians and farriers for her wildly popular – at more than 3.75 million visitors – Jurga Report (for EQUUS Magazine and AIM Equine Network) and The Hoof Blog. And then there's Molly, the abandoned three-legged pony who survived Hurricane...


On AQHA, NCHA, Hall of Fame, and a Life Well-Lived, with Al Dunning

Today’s guest on the Because of Horses podcast is iconic western horseman and trainer, Al Dunning. Since 1970, Al has owned and operated the Almosta Ranch, a Quarter Horse training facility, in Scottsdale, Arizona. He’s received countless honors, including the American Quarter Horse Association’s Professional Horseman of the Year and the National Cutting Horse Association’s Trainer of the Year. He has also served on the United States Equestrian Team’s Formation Committee to make reining an...


Taking Equestrian Sports to the NCAA, College Scholarships, and Competing in the Big 12, with Oklahoma State's Coach Larry Sanchez

Elise’s guest today is Oklahoma State University’s equestrian team Head Coach, Larry Sanchez. Coach Sanchez has been essential in gaining varsity recognition for equestrian sports and currently serves as the spokesman for the Varsity Equestrian Steering Committee, which is responsible for the development, organization, and implementation of the NCAA’s recognition of equestrian sports. As one of the most respected equestrian coaches in the US, Coach Sanchez has guided OSU’s equestrian...


Cowboy, Author, Mustang Advocate, and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's Brother, Alan Day

Elise’s guest today is Alan Day -- author, owner and operator of the first sanctuary for wild Mustangs, and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's brother. As a third-generation cattleman and rancher, Alan’s upbringing branded him a cowboy from the day he was born. Growing up on his family’s historic 200,000-acre Lazy B Ranch cemented his love for the land and for horses. And his love for books and a story well-told led him to become the best-selling author that he is today. Ranching and the...


Life at Full Throttle: Sports Reporter and Analyst, Catie Staszak

If you're a fan of international-level show jumping, chances are you already know today's guest, Catie Staszak. Throughout the show season, Catie leads broadcasts from top horse shows and jumping events across North America, working for FEI TV, the NBC Sports Network, Carr-Hughes Productions, and the digital company ShowNet, among others. She also serves as the media and public relations manager for EQUILINE America, and has worked on the TV and radio teams at ESPN West Palm. Though...


No Limits Training and Life Lessons with Brandi Lyons

Renowned trainer and clinician, Brandi Lyons, joins Elise Chand on today's episode to discuss her "No Limits" training and the life lessons she's learned along the way – some heart-lifting, some heart-breaking, but all are incredibly inspiring. Brandi is known not only for her expertise, but also for her incredible poise, patience, and kindness. And yes — she is also the daughter of “The World's Most Trusted Horseman,” John Lyons. But she doesn’t just carry on with one of the most...


Our Parallel Evolution and the Horse-Human Bond (aka Why We Love Horses), with Wendy Williams

Elise’s guest this week is science journalist and author, Wendy Williams. Her writing has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including; Scientific American, Science, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, and Audubon Magazine. She is a lifelong equestrian and is legendary for her love of horses. In her New York Times best-selling book, The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion, Wendy chronicles 56 million years through extensive research...


Finding the Beautiful in the Mundane with Equine Photographer, Bianca McCarty

Elise’s guest today on the Because of Horses podcast is Bianca McCarty — an up-and-coming, truly gifted equine photographer. Bianca was born and raised in Germany, but now lives with her husband on a beautiful Lusitano ranch in Colorado. Bianca shoots a wide array of subjects within the equine category — from competitive events and portraiture, to candid shots for veterinarians, saddlers, breeders, and even equine massage therapists. Bianca has a rare gift for composition and perspective,...


The Power of Therapeutic Riding with Equest’s

On this week’s Because of Horses podcast, Elise talks with a guest panel about equine therapy — Founder of Equest Therapeutic Riding Susan Schwartz, Equest’s CEO Lili Kellogg, and Jeff Hensley, Director of Clinical and Veteran Services of Equest’s Hooves for Heroes program. Equest is a nonprofit, therapeutic riding center in Dallas, Texas. For 37 years, Equest has helped people live fuller, richer lives by connecting them with horses. Historically, their focus has been on special needs...


Holistic Horse Health Care with Beth Daniels

While there are legions of talented female farriers around the globe, it remains a predominantly male profession. So, it’s especially fascinating that the Executive Director of The American Farriers Association happens to be a woman — who, having attended Mount Holyoke College and Yale School of Management, also happens to be incredibly well-educated. With terrific insight and a wonderful sense of humor, Elise’s guest today, Beth Daniels, takes the old adage, “No hoof, no horse,” to...


Country Music Performers Keep the Dream Alive, Templeton Thompson and Sam Gay

Elise’s guests this week are country performers and songwriters, husband and wife, Templeton Thompson and Sam Gay — who are currently on tour together, performing at venues all across the U.S.A. Sam is a longtime veteran of the music industry, starting out in Memphis, playing guitar and singing in local bands. After moving to Nashville, he signed on as a staff songwriter at the legendary Acuff-Rose Publishing Company, where a number of his songs had tremendous success. Templeton...


Distinguished Former Jockey and Accomplished TV Correspondent, Donna Barton Brothers

It’s not always easy to spot the path you’re meant to take, even when it’s laid out, right in front of you. Sometimes, you just can’t see it… and yet, your instincts tell you it’s there. So when you’re provided with a shot to give it a try, you somehow know to take it. And, once taken, it’s abundantly clear that you’re exactly where you’re meant to be. This is the path Donna Barton Brothers took to become one of the most successful female jockeys of all time. The daughter of one of the...


From Childhood Dreams to the Largest Western Apparel Supplier in the World with Suzi Vlietstra

As even the most passionate horse-crazy kids grow up, life frequently takes them down career paths that don't include the animal that dominated so many of their childhood dreams. But Suzi Vlietstra's professional life couldn't have been crafted more meticulously if she'd created a blueprint in the very moment she laid eyes on her first pony, Brian -- a Christmas present from non-equestrian parents who recognized how deeply she connected with horses. That family love and involvement would...


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