Photography provided by Lauren Storer and Rita Mae Muller.
After years of combating depression, anxiety, and feeling disconnected from my own identity, I began to notice a pattern in which those symptoms alleviated when I was with the horses and in a present state. My relationship with horses transformed as I sought out their company for a whole new purpose of fulfillment; the power of healing and self discovery.
More about michelle's background
- Horses have been a part of my life since I was 4 years old when my parents brought home two yearling Appaloosas, a filly and a colt; one of which, Dan, is still with my family today as my mother’s horse at the beautiful age of 28 years.
- Once old enough, I joined a local 4-H group for horses, and was a member until my early teens.
- At the age of 12 years old, I began working in exchange for formal riding lessons at a local stable, where my presence evolved from student to teacher; holding positions from an occasional lesson instructor for beginner riders, stable hand, a rider of the stables’ horses at shows and a camp counselor.
- I have over 15 years of experience training horses, from beginning ground work and starting under saddle to finishing work; with a focus in working with horses that have a history of abuse, improper training or gaps in previous training, as well as re-training horses for new purposes.
- I participated in showing on the 4-H and state circuits, as well as IHSA from age 8-20 years of age, upon which time I realized that the competitive scene, as well as the treatment of horses in such a discipline no longer resonated with me. In my years of show experience, I coached lower level riders, trained horses for competition, and was awarded many weekend and season-end championships.
- In my years of riding and showing I developed experience training, showing and participating in a variety of disciplines including: western, huntseat, jumping, saddleseat, balanced riding, driving, and trail riding.
- I have experience rehabbing horses on a physical and psychological level from a variety of backgrounds involving neglect and abuse, personally at my own barn, for clients, and at the sanctuary that I manage.
- I am a certified Reiki practitioner.
- I have been practicing yoga for over 5 years, and am currently in the process of achieving my 200 hour yoga teacher certification.
- I attended Mount Ida College for Equine Business Management for 3 years, in this time I joined their IHSA riding team and competed, and took a job assistant manager at Volo Farm, a then 80+ horse lesson and show, hunter/jumper and dressage barn.
- As the manager of an equine and farm animal sanctuary; Mountain View Farm Animal Sanctuary, I have served as the daily caretaker of the animals, maintenance of the physical property, rehabilitation leader on new rescues, secretary (answering messages, e-mails, updating our website and social media pages on a routine basis), leader of tours and educational programs, etc. I strive to ensure everything stays organized and up-to-date, as well as that the animals each get the best of care available for their varying needs.