The Horse Lady

The Horse Lady Behind the Method

I’m often referred to as “the horse lady” no matter how many times I introduce myself, and that’s okay because the horse lady always receives a warm welcome. However, for anyone interested my name is Michelle Schuller.

I’ve often been told you’ll never do a day’s work if you love what you do, and I do love what I do! Sharing my horses, talking about horses, providing experiences with horses, training myself, my horses, or others, brings me great joy. Someone provided me this experience as a child and it never left me. I enjoy returning the favor hoping this passing along of a passion will strengthen a soul as mine was strengthened. If it also saves a horse along the way, even better!

Thinking back, I guess you could say I have been in love with horses since birth, or so it has seemed. My family never quite understood my undying obsession with horses, and I’m afraid they couldn’t afford to get me a horse of my own even if they did. Luckily, through creative determination, I found other ways to get my horse fix- cleaning stalls for other horse owners, saving my money for occasional trail rides, eventually leasing a horse, reading everything I could get my hands on about horses, and attending any horse event I could catch a ride to.

My big break came when a local trainer needed a young rider to show their horse for the upcoming show season. I was elated when he picked me to train and ride his horse. That season I traveled all over the United States showing in halter, western pleasure, western riding, reining, and trail classes. I had a great horse and we won nearly every event we entered. Fueling my desire even more until eventually I was able to get a horse of my own.

Unfortunately, the horse I was able to afford was not a high-dollar, well-trained show horse. I was now the proud owner of an average horse. This average horse came with all the problems that I had no answers for, and like the average owner I decided another horse must be the answer I needed. That too ended with similar results, and I was just accumulating a herd each with, what I thought at the time, a new set of problems.

I was frustrated and didn’t know how to get the horse I desired without going broke. I knew my horse needed a trainer, but I also knew I couldn’t afford one. I tried reading famous trainers’ books but I understood very little of the terminology they used, nor did I have a good understanding of horse behavior. I tried a few local people that had their names passed along to me and doled out money for short-lived and disappointing results. I finally realized I was the problem and I was the only one who could fix my horse and myself. With many false starts and a complete lack of consistency, I was no closer to my horse goals.

That’s when my son came across a horse trainer from Australia on RFDTV. I watched with great enthusiasm and a new found hope that this could be the answer to all my problems. With a new sense of purpose, I became a member of his club and attended every clinic he had within our part of the country. I was Clintonized! He was my horsemanship for dummies 101- the “people trainer” I was desperately in need of. I followed his method and was having so much success that I immersed myself even further into his teachings. He taught me that my problem stemmed from either my horse’s fear or lack of respect. Fortunately the way to fix both problems was by just doing his method. It has been over ten years now and I am extremely grateful to have found Downunder Horsemanship.

Having said this, I know there are alot of different training methods and trainers out there, but this is the best method for me. I am also not the best horse trainer or rider you will ever find, but this method made me the horsewoman I have become, and consequently brought many opportunities I did not advertise for. The method has and continues to make all the difference in my life and my horses’ lives and people notice. The comment I hear most is, “I’ve been around stables all my life and you couldn’t do these things I see you do with your horses with theirs. What are you doing differently?” This doing something differently allowed us also to be heavily recruited for a Ball State University High Riding Art and Equestrian Camp for high functioning special needs and disadvantaged children. All because of the method that I do not claim to be an expert at, but because I strive to be better at each day.

As a matter of fact, I do not claim to be anything other than I am, a life long learner striving to improve myself, my horses, and the experiences we have together. I am grateful, but did not seek or desire to become what Schuller Stable now has become. The thought of putting special needs children on the fastest reacting, thousand pound animals did not appeal to me in the least. Had it not been for those who believed in me and what I do, more than I did, I would have missed out on all the joy these experiences provided to my clients and myself. Watching clients blossom into confident, stronger human beings is a gift they give to me as much as the experience the horse provides them.

Looking back I can see that it was a natural outcome of my belief system as an educator and equestrian that makes us stand out. Limitations that we place on ourselves or those that others place on us are debilitating and have no place at our facility. We strive whole heartedly to be a place where you can come as you are to discover who you are, how you fit into the world, and how to connect with humanity, so we can be strengthened for life’s traumas before, during, and after they happen. We believe that every moment with a horse is therapy that seeps down into our souls and through this belief system, we believe that our horse rescue is a horse and human rescue where we can save one horse, one rider at a time.