Samantha and Freddie

Samantha and Freddie have a very special relationship.  Samantha credits Freddie with “basically saving her life”.  She had a tough time with a close friend last year, and was suffering from depression.  Her time at Between Horses and Humans (BHH) has changed her for the better.

Samantha says Freddie is her best friend – she describes how she even tried to braid his hair once!  She enjoys coming out to the ranch and spending time with Freddie in the arena while talking to Barbara Slade (BHH President).

Barbara speaks very highly of Samantha and what she has accomplished.  She has a natural ability to work with the horses, and frequently points things out to Barbara about the horses.  Samantha can get Freddie to do many things nobody else can get him to do.  Samantha is extremely proud of that.

Samantha and Freddie undoubtedly have a very special bond, and Freddie has helped to change Samantha’s life and heal her heart.

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376353_338953322846959_1475541813_nSilver was a four foot hunter in the competitive showjumping world. His name was Silver Strand – he was extremely successful at the large horse shows. He won at the top level, beating the highest competing horses.  Silver came to Between Horses and Humans through President Barbara Slade’s former client.  That client purchased Silver, and also Mo & Freddie.  She bought him later in life – he was 12 at the time.

When Silver was first purchased he was disinterested in the hunter style. Fortunately his new owner wasn’t keen on that style either, so with Barbara’s help she turned Silver into a jumper.  He became involved in jumping competitions – these are events timed for speed as seen in the Olympics.  He loved it and was so much happier.

Silver & Mo retired together at the former client’s ranch.  Subsequently the owners of that ranch invited BHH to use their facilities for the program.  That was when Silver was introduced to working with the children of BHH – his owner kindly allowed the program to use him.  When BHH moved to Maddi’s Friesian Ranch in 2013 they just brought Freddie & Rascal.

377772_201780509897575_814459424_nThe owners donated Silver to BHH in August 2014 where he’s been for almost two years now.  Silver is a class act. He is a very special horse.  He is intelligent and very regal.  He has learned to work with the children of the program, and understands that it is okay to work with children.  At first Silver wasn’t sure that he wanted to come out of retirement – he seemed to have grown accustomed to relaxing and just being out in the field.  However he quickly overcame his initial hesitation and decided that working with the kids was worth it.  He made the transition from top competitive horse to changing childrens lives.

016At 17 hands Silver is a BIG horse.  It’s hilarious because every tiny child who comes to the program undoubtedly wants to work with Silver.  They make for a fantastic profile… a tiny figure aback a giant horse.  Silver is very dependable, which is probably why small children gravitate towards him.  He would never harm a child – kids just love him.

Today Silver is very healthy and he looks great. BHH is a good balance for him – there are 8 horses so no single horse gets overworked. He gets lots of treats and frequent bodywork.  Semi-retirement is a good thing for Silver at BHH. Massages, good food, a healthy lifestyle, great pasture, and just the right amount of attention.  May we all be so fortunate in our own semi-retirement!

Have you interacted with Silver?  Do you have a story of your own about a special horse?  Please tell us about it in the Comment section.


raschalBarbara Slade has known Rascal since she was born.  She bred her parents – Rascal’s father was the successful racehorse Riverman.  Rascal is 17 now, and is affectionately known as “The Princess”.  She is beautiful, elegant, positive, and very easy to be around.  Rascal was owned by a woman Barbara knew.  She was bought and trained in dressage, but Rascal just wasn’t taking to it the way she was expected to.  The former owner generously donated her to Between Horses and Humans in May 2009, when she became the second horse BHH owned (Freddie was the first).  The Board of Directors, parents, and participants of BHH have been in love with her ever since. (was friends with the original owner).

When Barbara speaks of Rascal, she has nothing but praise and adoration.  “She has no flaws”, Barbara says of the pretty, gentle horse.  When Rascal was first used for the program she was a little fussy, but that didn’t last for long.  Soon she was captivated by the children, and seemed to know her role as the gentle partner.

059At BHH the children get to choose which horse they work with.  Early on in the program they are encouraged to use a wide variety of horses, but after a while children tend to gravitate towards a particular horse.  Many children choose to work with Rascal because she is so easy-going and nurturing.  She quickly convinces them that large animals are OK – she removes the fear and intimidation many children experience simply because of the size difference between them and their horse.  Children blossom with Rascal.

Rascal BW1Rascal is loving, kind, upbeat and positive.  She truly is BHH royalty.  Her laid back, happy demeanor says, “Life is good!”  She encourages gratefulness, and gives children the freedom to be themselves, make mistakes, and be forgiven.  She doesn’t challenge or ignore the students – don’t let her name fool you.  She is an excellent first horse, even though she came to the program second.  We could all use a little more beauty, kindness and love – by horse or human.  Incorporate more “Rascal” into your day today.


Fred1Fred, or Freddie as he is affectionately known, was the first horse ever owned by Between Horses and Humans.  Freddie, Silver and Mo belonged to one of Barbara Slade’s former students in competitive show jumping.  That student went to college in August 2008 and attempted to sell Freddie before she left.  Unfortunately he didn’t sell, so Freddie was donated to BHH.

When the student visited Freddie in Arizona to consider buying him he was a sweetheart.  But when they returned to Nevada with him he was difficult.  He would get overstimulated, and they couldn’t ground him when there were too many people around.  He would adopt uncomfortable energy from others, getting himself worked up so that Barbara’s student couldn’t get him calmed down.  To a certain degree he is still that way, but now he understands how to be around excess energies without adopting them himself. He can be overly sensitive to excess energy as well as impatient – sometimes he just won’t stand for grooming.

Back then Barbara used to joke that Freddie might have been bipolar – one minute he was being very aggressive, and the next he was cowering as if to say, “Don’t hit me!”  Someone must have been inconsistent with him in the past.  Consistency was very important for Freddie.  To help him through his transition, Barbara and her student did ground work and riding on a daily basis.  Over time they taught him to be more in control of his own energy, and he learned to trust his owner.  He was a beautiful mover, and he jumped with impeccable form.  He was a very powerful horse with grace and style, and he enjoyed a long and recognized jumping career.

FredFreddie is currently 24 years old, but he looks like he’s half that age.  He has a youthful twinkle in his eye and a playful nature.  When I was at the barn preparing for this article all Freddie wanted to do was lick my hand.  He wasn’t interested in being petted or scratched, he just kept licking and nuzzling my hand.  He was very gentle, but incredibly persistent. Barbara says he’s always been mouthy, he just loves to lick, lick, lick, especially after he’s been fed.  Recently someone proposed that it could be a sign of ulcers in his youth that give him the tendency to want to lick so much.

Freddie’s persistence comes from his strong tendency to be the Alpha, which means he isn’t the horse for every student right away.  They must earn the opportunity to work with him.  He’s an excellent horse for developing horsemanship skills because he requires that you understand how to be a firm leader without aggression.  If students are to aggressive he’s their face, letting them know who’s boss. They must understand how to signal him correctly, and then he is compliant and cooperative.

Fred2Freddie loves working with the BHH students.  He’s vivacious and lively, and many people are instantly attracted to his personality.  He is very intelligent, and is a master at understanding people. He’s very suave, knowing how to make people like him while still retaining his dominance.  If a child is aggressive and bossy he cures them by letting them know he can take control in a second.  Yet he also knows how to get the timid and shy students to come out of their shells.  He simply persists.

Of the 8 horses in the barn at Maddi’s Friesian Ranch Freddie was the only one afraid of balloons.  While all the other horses were walking around them and letting them hit them in the legs and face, Freddie wanted nothing to do with them.  Freddie always has to know where everyone is and what they are doing.  When Rascal joined Freddie at the ranch in 2009 they were turned out together, but Barbara quickly realized Rascal was promoting Freddie’s Alpha nature.  Then Barbara put him out with a gelding.  At first the arrangement was okay, but then Freddie began bossing the gelding around making him run around the paddock when Freddie decided that’s what should happen.  Finally they put Freddie out alone, and he became a completely different horse – he could relax and be himself without the constant worry of what others were doing.

Freddie is an incredible asset to Between Horses and Humans.  He’s a sophisticated gentleman, and BHH is incredibly grateful for the donation of Freddie back in 2008.  He is an integral part of changing lives and healing hearts.  You can be a part of that too.  Please leave a comment or make a donation.

Photos by Nicole Eyerly


IMG_6104Mari is an intelligent, loving horse with a definite soft spot for children.  And like the children she works with today, she’s suffered from acting out of fear and intimidation.  Between Horses and Humans has changed Mari’s life and continues to heal her heart.

Neither Mari nor her owner Cindy Cowan had any idea what was in store for them when Cindy bought the horse from a local couple in November 2009. The couple brought Mari to Nevada from Iowa to be a show horse and be part of a breeding facility.  Mari is the granddaughter of the famous national show horse Color of Fame.  She is a saddle-bred crossed with arabians, and has a distinct beauty and grace.

In 2009 Cindy’s beloved gray arabian died after 22 years of partnership, so she was open to getting a new horse.  That’s when she crossed paths with Mari and the two formed a new partnership… sort of.  Mari was sold to Cindy under the guise that Mari was well-broke, but it didn’t take long for Cindy to realize that wasn’t the case.  Mari was extremely fearful, and would rear up at the slightest disturbance.  It turned out that Mari had received training in Nevada from a cowboy who “broke her in” in 6 weeks.  Based upon Mari’s level of fear and intimidation Cindy knew there had been some cruel tactics and techniques used with the horse prior to her owning Mari.  After many attempts to work with her new horse with little improvement, Cindy began looking for help.

Barbara Slade was working as horse trainer and was involved in the foundation that eventually became Between Horses and Humans, and she began working with Cindy and Mari.  Cindy moved Mari to the Imar ranch where Barbara worked.  Together the three of them worked to help Mari overcome her previous bad experiences and to build a relationship of trust.  The foundation owned Rascal & Fred at that time, and Barbara was often working with children near Mari’s stall.  The children would look at the horses, deciding whether to work with Rascal or Fred on a particular day.  During those moments Cindy and Barbara began to notice Mari staring longingly at the children as if to say, “Pick me!”.

IMG_4689Eventually Barbara agreed to allow the children to do ground work with Mari – she was still too risky for the students to ride at that point.  Mari loved the kids, and would wrap her neck around them, nuzzle them, and be playful and gentle.  Eventually she proved herself enough that the students would ride her.  Mari was very different when she worked with the children.  She was always careful and rarely displayed any of her fearful, rearing up behavior.  She loved the students.

Eventually the foundation program moved to a different ranch, but Mari stayed behind because she wasn’t part of the program and there wasn’t room for her at the new ranch.  Barbara continued to work with Cindy and Mari, and she showed vast improvement.  Mari likes to think, and she loves to do tricks.  Cindy was inspired when she saw the show Cavalia and she began to teach Mari some of the moves.  She began with the stump, then moved on to the pedestal, taught her to hold her legs up, take a bow, and play with balls, hoops, ribbons and so on.  Mari loved it, and it helped them to build their relationship of trust.  The fearful behavior became more and more scarce.

Mari EyeMari was reunited with the BHH program when they moved to Maddi’s Friesian Ranch in 2014.  She is wonderful with the students, and they definitely enjoy her affinity for performing tricks.  She was injured this year – she hurt her back and it has taken months to recover so she wasn’t being ridden much.  She is recovering well and is almost back to her former health.  As soon as she’s fully recovered she’ll be back to her regular schedule of working with BHH students on Mondays, Tuesdays, Saturdays, and sometimes Fridays, as well as her regular rides with Cindy.

Mari is an asset to the BHH program, and her journey through fear to triumph is an inspiration to BHH students.  A huge thanks to Cindy Cowan for her generosity in lending Mari to the BHH program.

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Photos by Nicole Eyerly