Hi I’m Brittany!

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    Brittany Ward

    Hi guys, my name is Brittany Ward! I’m originally from Maryland, but I now live in Grottoes VA. I have a small farm where I keep my 3 horses, 3 dogs, 4 goats, 2 cats, and pet ball python. I have an amazing husband, who supports me endlessly, loves animals, and has a natural gift with them.

    I first fell in love with horses at 18 months old, when my mom made the mistake of taking me to the barn for the first time. After waiting to begin lessons (years spent endlessly reading horse books, watching horse movies, playing with Breyer horses, and riding my spring horse in the living room…I think I wore through at least 2 VHS tapes of the Black Stallion), I started riding when I was 5 at a local lesson barn. They had massive string of school horses with all kinds of quirks, behavioral issues, and styles so I got an early start on learning how to work with different kinds of horses.

    I started competing in hunters and jumpers when I was 8 after I met my trainer/coach, who is responsible for my entire foundation as an animal trainer and horsewoman. He made so many things possible, including the fulfillment of my childhood dream of having a horse of my own. Shortly after I started working with him I got my first pony, Jewel, and then my first horse, Cal, when I was 12. I was very blessed and always had the opportunity to ride other horses, however, since my trainer was always taking in new horses for training. I was always learning something new! My trainer is like a second father to me, his family like my family, so I am excited to get the opportunity to work with him again in the coming years.

    I had to rehome Cal and stop riding when I went to college at James Madison University. I was always involved in animals, however, and had gotten heavily into dog training. I took what I had learned with horses and started competing in Schutzhund with my German Shepherd, Jeffrey. It is a sport that involves tracking, obedience, and protection work with working line dogs. After I graduated from JMU, I then went on to train dogs professionally on off for the next 10 years, having the opportunity with hundreds of different animals. I specialized in Obedience training, lessons, and handler coaching, but also did work in detection, trick, and agility training. I was able to work with a lot of different trainers, international competitors, and leaders in the industry. This time really taught me that my true passion was the training, not the competition. The opportunity to share my passion with others was incredible.

    Now, I am putting all of my focus into my own animals. I feel that the work I am currently doing with Skittles, Jellybean, and Gambit is the culmination of everything I have learned from both horses and dogs. I am no longer thinking of things as a rider or handler, but I am thinking about everything I do as a trainer. As a trainer I have learned the value of constantly growing, evolving, and to let go of perfection and embrace the mistakes. There are no laurels to rest on, because each animal you work with teaches you something new. Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before or the things you suck at. Work with different people and trainers to expand your knowledge base, and try different disciplines. Take from all that, build your toolbox, and apply it where you can because you never know when you might draw from that knowledge. See the problems as teaching opportunities. But more importantly, always, ALWAYS keep learning.

    This is why I love the MG program and have immense respect for Michael and the crew. Aside from the casual references to dog training that perk my ears up when I hear Michael use them LOL, I enjoy being around like minded horse people and people who understand this kind of approach to training. It does take a village, and I am happy to have found one so welcoming.

    Anyways, sorry for the book! But I just wanted to share to let you all know where I am coming from because it has been a real journey. I am so very happy to be here and be involved in this group!

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