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Riders Winning with “New” Athletic Edge, Dr. Marjorie Sugarman

Riders looking for an added competitive advantage are joining the ranks of nearly every professional sports and Olympic team in incorporating mental training into their regime. Regardless of athletic level – from elite to amateur – athletes recognize that the highest physical achievements can be seriously undermined if your head isn’t in the game. Discussing this topic with Elise is Dr. Margie Sugarman, a leading board-certified psychotherapist and sports consultant, with an extensive...


50 Years of Joy: Special Olympics, with Alex Hubbard, Stacey Johnson, and Martha Johnson

This year, Special Olympics is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It was founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968 and continues to provide year-round training and competitive events to five million athletes in 172 countries. Competitions are held every day, all around the world, including local, national, and regional competitions, adding up to more than 100,000 events each year. Helping to quantify what Special Olympics means to athletes, their families, and volunteers all over the...


The Making of Equus: Story of the Horse, with Emmy-nominated Niobe Thompson

“Not so long ago, all horses were wild. But then we transformed our world with horse power.” These are the opening lines of the exciting new three-part film series, “Equus: Story of the Horse,” and internationally renowned Canadian filmmaker, Dr. Niobe Thompson — Elise’s guest on today’s episode of Because of Horses. Niobe is a Cambridge-trained anthropologist; an Emmy-nominated filmmaker who’s won multiple Canadian Screen Awards, Alberta Film Awards, and the Edmonton Film Prize; and...


Michigan State University’s Horse Professor Extraordinaire, Dr. Karen Waite

Elise’s guest today is Dr. Karen Waite, who has an astounding wealth of knowledge on all things horses, competing, and being an equestrian. She is the coordinator of Michigan State University’s Horse Management program and the director of undergraduate education in MSU’s Department of Animal Science. She also serves as the faculty coordinator of MSU’s Horse Teaching and Research Center and as the faculty advisor to the MSU Equestrian team and Horsemen’s Association. With both teaching...


Dreams Do Come True: Horse-Crazy Girl Turned Prolific Author Jessie Haas

Note from Elise: When the last-minute opportunity arose to revisit a favorite episode, I jumped at the chance since I have wanted to re-share one particular conversation for a while now. Jessie Haas epitomizes what I hope to express through Because of Horses Podcast: how to be true to yourself and the things that give you joy by creating an intentional life doing what you love most. Jessie takes it to the next level by helping horses, horse owners, and the next generation of...


The World Cup, with COO Kevin Kidder

Elise’s guest today, Kevin Kidder, wears many hats; professional photographer, graphic artist, marketing professional, and the Chief Operating Officer of Andalusian World LLC — the organization responsible for the annual Andalusian World Cup in Las Vegas. He has been featured by Time Warner, CNN, The Press-Enterprise, and The Sun for his murals and designs. But one of Kevin’s most notable accomplishments is his work on behalf of the annual Andalusian World Cup — an ongoing endeavor that...


American Pharaoh and Foaling Out Legendary Racing Mares, the KEMI Life of Heather Holderby

Elise’s guest today is Heather Holderby, a former intern at the Kentucky Equine Management Internship program (KEMI). KEMI was founded in 2000 to help young people who are interested in a career with horses -- but lack the experience, knowledge, and contacts in the industry -- to get that first break. Through KEMI, Heather has had experiences with some of the finest Thoroughbreds and professionals in the horse world — including working at Ashford Stud, where she was among the lucky few...


Advocating for Wild Mustangs and Burros, with Sonya Spaziani AKA “Mustang Meg”

Elise’s guest today is Sonya Spaziani, also known as “Mustang Meg.” She is a mustang and wild burro advocate who is renowned for her work to educate the public on the status of these animals in the American West. Currently, 75,000 wild horses and burros are caught in political, emotional, and environmental controversy. Another 45,000 are held in government holding pens, costing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) nearly $50 million annually. It is estimated that there are more wild...


Cowboy Poet Laureate, Charles “Smokey” Culver

Elise’s guest today is Cowboy poet laureate and published author, Charles “Smokey” Culver. Charles has written over 500 poems and his most recent book — A Wrap and a Hooey — was nominated as the cowboy poetry book of the year. Beyond his poetry, Charles is an expert witness in court cases, a volunteer worker at Habitat for Horses, an avid photographer, and a singer and songwriter. Charles main passion -- cowboy poetry -- is a form of poetry that first grew out of a tradition created by...


Royalty, Classical Horsemanship, and Frequent Flier Miles, with Portugal's Sofia Valenca and Special Appearance by Master Luis Valenca

Elise’s guest on today’s Because of Horses is Sofia Valenca and her father, Master Luis Valenca. The Valenca family name is known throughout Portugal (and the world) for its legendary horsemanship and for the family’s gorgeous equestrian center, with its focus on continuing the centuries-old Portuguese Equestrian Art. Sofia has spent her life traveling the world, performing in the Gala of the Royal Horses, Equitana, and the Apasionata, to name just a few. She also manages her family’s...


Breaking into the Horse World, with Leslie Janecka

Horse-crazy kids are born every day and many others find their way to a passion for horses as they go through childhood. But for those who someday want to work in the horse industry, figuring out where to begin can be extraordinarily difficult — especially if they don't have the contacts or the level of knowledge needed to get that first break. The Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) was founded in 2000 to resolve this very real need. KEMI bridges the gap between desire to...


The American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Executive Director, David Foley

Elise’s guest today on Because of Horses is David Foley, the Executive Director of the American Association of Equine Practitioners. Founded in 1954 by visionaries who saw an opportunity to positively direct the focus of equine veterinary medicine, the AAEP today represents a broad range of equine disciplines, breeds, and associations, with membership consisting of over 9,300 veterinarians and veterinary students in 61 countries. In addition to his work at the AAEP, David is very active...


Special Edition: About the Person Behind the Mic, Elise Gaston Chand

Elise’s guest on today’s Because of Horses is… herself! Today is May 18th, her birthday, so it’s the perfect time to “interview” herself and respond to listener emails! Elise answers frequently asked questions such as, “Why did you decide to do a podcast?” “How exactly do podcasts work?” and “How do you select guests?” She talks all about her early childhood adventures riding horses, about her horse of a lifetime, and up to her current experiences and involvement with horses. Summarizing...


Our Horses, Ourselves: the Human/Horse Mindfulness, with Paula Josa Jones

Elise’s guest on today’s Because of Horses is Paula Josa Jones — who defies definition. Just when you think you’ve figured out exactly what it is she does and why her work is so powerful, she peels away another layer and becomes something else entirely. Author, dancer, choreographer, performer — it could take hours to discuss all of Paula’s work. Her new book, Our Horses, Ourselves, is no exception to her outstanding body of work. So often we think of communication as a two-way,...


Dick Francis, Thoroughbreds, and Steeplechasing, with Mystery Writer Sasscer Hill

If you are a fan of mystery novels or books with horse racing themes, you are going to love Elise’s guest today on the Because Of Horses podcast, Sasscer Hill. She’s a novelist, former thoroughbred breeder, and an amateur steeplechase jockey, and her evocative storytelling is "can't-put-it-down" entertaining, with frequent comparisons to the legendary Dick Francis. Sasscer sets her award-winning novels against a background of big money, gambling, and horse racing. Her first book in the...


From Pony Club to Dover Saddlery, Romfh Equestrian's Visionary Laura Romfh

Elise’s guest today on the Because of Horses podcast is Laura Romfh — avid athlete, lifelong equestrian, and the visionary fashion designer who created Romfh Equestrian Apparel. Laura was the first designer to create technical equestrian performance sportswear — thinking of riders from an athlete’s mindset — using fabrics and design elements that provide comfort and athletic performance benefits, with lines that are flattering to all different body styles. Laura has truly put together...


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...


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...