When it comes to her love for horses and chasing her horsemanship dreams, Hailey owes much to her grandfather. The Canadian rancher bought his granddaughter her first horse when she was 5. “Booger was 30 years old at the time and I could do anything on him,” Hailey remembers. “Being with him is how I originally fell in love with horses.”
When Booger passed away, Hailey moved on to riding her grandfather’s stock horses. “He wasn’t a horse trainer and never took lessons, so his horses had some behavioral issues. I wanted to learn how to communicate with them and fix the problems that I saw,” Hailey says.
Leafing through an issue of Horse&Rider magazine, she discovered Clinton and the Method. Although she was just 12 at the time, she devoured the article and convinced her mom to purchase Clinton’s book, Establishing Respect and Control for English and Western Riders. When she saw that a tour stop was coming to Pasco, Washington, her grandfather agreed to take her and her friend. “I filled a notebook with everything I learned. I felt so empowered by the knowledge Clinton shared, especially his horsemanship philosophy,” Hailey says.
After the tour, her grandfather surprised her with a 2-year-old filly that he’d sent to a local trainer for 30 days of riding. “Riding her was the first time I remember feeling afraid on a horse because I didn’t know how to handle her. She was reactive and jumpy and just needed more training,” Hailey explains.
Hailey’s aunt had purchased Clinton’s training videos and Hailey borrowed them to train her filly. “I took her through the three levels, and it was a truly amazing experience. It’s what got me hooked on progressing through the Method. You really build that partnership with your horse,” Hailey says.
She continued to study the Method and worked with a variety of horses and eventually became a veterinary technician. When the opportunity to attend the Academy lined up with her personal life, she headed to the Downunder Horsemanship Ranch.
As an Ambassador, Hailey is committed to helping people overcome feeling frustrated and at a loss with their horsemanship. “I know what it feels like to be at your wit’s end, when you’re in a losing battle and you don’t even want to try because you have no idea how to solve the problem. I love giving people the knowledge they need and empowering them to enjoy working with their horses,” Hailey says. “When you understand how to work with your horse and gain confidence, it’s out of this world. You’re unstoppable.”