Loni Smith

Friend of FOAH

What is life without horses? 


I'm not sure I can answer that one. It seems the direction of my life was predetermined right from the begining to have the horse as my compass. Everything in my life has revolved around what I call a ''soul tie'' with the animal. As a young child I had all of the horse statues, running them up and down the hallway until their legs litterally fell off. After I wore out the entire string, I would get on all fours and practice trotting, jumping, bucking, lead changes, galloping and any other atheletic manuver I could imagine during the comercials of my favorite westerns. I would pick my favorite horse off of the westerns and pretend I was that one. I had gone so far as to have a bridle for myself and leg wraps. When the show returned after the comercials I would jump on my ''horse'', a stack of couch cushions with a rope tied around it, to be fully involved in the show, riding along with the cowboys.

I guess my parents must have been tired of hearing a horse galloping up and down the hallway so they found a stable to board me. I was 7 years old when my dream came true of being surrounded by horses, never looking back.

 

I love to help others build a solid relationship with their horse while keeping it light hearted. I'm passionate about providing as natural and healthy environment as possible for horses after loosing one horse to chronic founder and almost a second. In search for answers and a sloution to save my other horse's life I came across the Paddock Paradise book written by Jaime Jackson, later studying under him to educate myself further on natural hoof trimming methods along with Leslie and a few others.

 

The Paddock Paradise environment was something I wanted to bring to life in my own world, not only to save my own horse, which it did, but also to help others. I wanted to test it's theory for myself which led me to designing, building and managing the largest known to me, ''paddock paradise'' in VA. A three mile round trip horse track to improve the health of a herd of 24 unhealthy horses on a private property. It was a 4-year process, I documented the changes in the hooves, body condition and the construction of the project. Which led to the creation of my book about the entire experience and will be available in an ebook form for anyone interrested. Although I have zero desire to trim horses for the public, I was trimming the entire 24 horse herd at the time of my employment. I now only trim my two private horses and am working towards building a fun horse facility of my own for people to come enjoy time with their horse while providing a healthy environment for the horses in my care.

 

Leslie and I first met in 2007 when I contacted her about wanting to learn how to hobble a horse safely. Not just any horse though, this horse was a client's horse who had an A+ in a one-rein stop education. He would lock down the front end and lighten the hind end in award winning rodeo style. He had learned how to be a SPECTACULAR BUCKER. He was spoiled rotten and completely in charge of where he placed his feet. My job wasn't to take the buck out of him, he was quite natural at it and always will be.

 

My job was to lay in a new clarity for him about when, where and how to move his feet by following a feel and since he was pretty mixed up, I wanted to get the message to his feet immediately. Of course there is a process for this and I wanted to be clear and certain I would be able to help him safely.

 

It just so happened Leslie was going to Texas to do a clinic with a horse that could use a few hobbling classes herself! So off I went to Texas! We had a wonderful clinic and I went home with the confidence to make a change in my client's horse.

 

The rest is history, Leslie and I are very close friends to this day. I am very proud to say with her help as a friend, coach, and teacher that I am able to help horses and people in a world where there is a true need for this way of going about horsemanship and feeling of your horse.

 

I look forward to meeting all of you and your horses and cannot wait for eveyone to meet my horse Moonie through our video content coming soon.

Loni-Marie 

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