Our Accredited Instructors say ...
Michael says ...
Horse and non-horse people have told me numerous times that I had a way with horses. I grew up on the back of a horse in the ridin’ and slidin’ arena. We didn’t know anything about natural/gentle horsemanship. They just taught me to get on and ride. Nothing was said about how to ride, how to sit a saddle, how to hold the reins, etc. We just got on and learned by experience, and by watching the other more experienced riders. C.A. was my teacher and my step-dad. He was the epitome of old school, and sometimes he went too far. Even as a youngster, I’d question my mother about his methods. She said he never crossed the line between discipline and abuse. I knew better, and I promised myself, if, on my own terms, I was to work with horses again, I’d find a better way.

I grew up, and went on with my life and did other things: Military service and family. I became a carpenter and worked with wood instead of horses. I migrated from Oregon to California, to Texas, on to Oklahoma, and then Arkansas where I went to college. Yet I always dreamed of retiring in the Pacific Northwest, in the mountains, with horses.

The horses came earlier than expected. While attending the University of Arkansas, I founded an equine rescue operation. It didn’t take long to see that I needed to get back to training horses, and taking care of their feet. We couldn’t afford to hire anyone to do it. I bought Jaime Jackson’s book, and then another from one of his students, and I taught myself barefoot hoof care. In fact, ended up writing my master’s thesis on it.

All the while, I worked on what I remembered of horse training and the promise I made myself. I practiced on several of our rescue horses, specifically, my Mustang, Montana Red (‘Tana). When he wasn’t trying to kill me, he was telling me that I had damn well better start listening to him. It was time to fulfill that promise. I sought out natural horsemanship trainers and found Frank. I knew immediately, his methods, his kindness, and his gentleness were what I wanted to learn and use. Now, instead of a wild mustang, I have an extremely gentle, loving, and loyal horse. He’s still wild, but he takes care of me, and I take care of him.

College almost over, divorce over, I shipped my mustang to Washington, and I started over on a small ranch where I worked with horses and finished my thesis. A series of events, people I met, etc., led me to my present life. I now live on a small ranch in Southwest Oregon where I work with horses. I use Frank’s methods before I do anything else with a horse. Mainly, I take horses with behavior issues and cure them of their people problems. Throughout the last eight years or so, and three 7-day training clinics with Frank and Jim, I feel I’ve mastered the 7-Steps. If the response from my clients is any indication, they also feel that way.

I’ve heard it said, the best way to learn something quickly, is to learn from the masters. Frank learned from the masters, and he developed his methods from studying them. Now, in my opinion, he’s the ultimate master of gentle horsemanship, and I’m proud to have learned from him. I have no doubt that he will someday be remembered as one of the greats, and that his determination to help horses will carry on through his A-team, and those we teach. The days when horses are nothing more than dumb beasts of burden are short. There is coming a time when the old school will be looked upon as archaic and cruel. The time for gentle, compassionate, considerate horsemanship is here. Let it forever run free, like horses with the wind, and spread Frank’s word like wildfire.

Chas says ...
My initial search for a horsemanship program was to round out my experience as an equine massage therapist. In doing so, I've attended many clinics by some of the best clinicians in the business. This search led me to Frank Bell and his "7 Step Safety System". 

What can I say without first saying something about Frank Bell the man. Franks's gentle manner and overwhelming enthusiasm he shows to both human and horse left me with a positive attitude that I could master this training system without worry of spending thousands of dollars or being overwhelmed in learning too much too fast. Since then my own experience with Frank only deepened my trust in Frank's "7 Step Safety System" because it got right to the heart of all horse training. Pressure and release and bonding this four legged creature to the point of mutual respect.

These gentling exercises teach horses and owners alike to overcome fear and trust issues and willingly learn from each other. The results of my own experiences using the 7SSS system has been incredible success with horses of various breeds including aggressive horses, lazy horses, green unbroke horses and scared rescued horses. Remember these 7 steps are basic ground work and Frank will tell you be creative and add more as you become more comfortable. You can never do too much ground work when safety is concerned and don't forget outside issues that may be flushed out when training your horse.

Horses will and do react differently to new environments, barns, stalls, stress, sore back from saddle fit, neck stiffness, dental problems and heavy training among others. Basically I've tried to read my horses while training and listen to what their body language is saying.

Myself, I've spent many clinics with Frank and he has graciously applauded my approach of using massage and bonding in creating an initial gentling approach to all horses. It has allowed me to gain their confidence and overcome their fears more quickly and quietly and it seems to allow me to move through the next steps with a much more calmer horse. Fear, pain and stress will prohibit learning but massage and bonding will bring the horse back to that safe place.

Once I've trained a clients horse I will teach them Frank Bell's system and encourage them to buy his video "Discover The Horse You Never Knew" or possibly buying Frank Bell's starter kit which will give you all the tools to have a safer partnership with your horse. With gentle training, bonding and massage you will overcome fearfull attitudes and with 7SSS training you will gain confidence in yourself and confidence in your horse and gain greater trust in each other as you continue to build on your training skills. I speak of massage frequently because I use it all the time as it is very valuable tool in calming a horse or used to warm up a horse prior to and after the 7SSS trainnig session, exercising in the round pen and trail riding. Massage has a profound effect on a horse's recuperation powers and I would urge everyone to learn basic muscle massage if possible.

Denny says ...
I have been involved with horses in one facet or another most of my life, and I am always amazed at how many people get upset because their horse won’t do something it has never been trained to do.  When I decided to become a trainer professionally, I didn’t want to be just another cowboy that works with horses, I wanted to be the absolute best I could be. Several years ago, I embarked on a mission to study the top natural horsemanship trainers and learn from their successes. I wanted to see what methods worked for them, and what methods I could incorporate into my own system. I read countless books, watched hundreds of videos, attended numerous clinics, and spoke to some of the top clinicians personally. They were all very good, but I still hadn’t found what I was looking for.

Finally, my journey led me to Frank Bell and his 7 Step Safety System. I realized immediately that this system was a perfect fit with my personal training philosophy and mission of “Building the Bond Between Horse and Rider.” I have always said that if you are going to whisper to a horse, you better do it in a language the horse understands. If you master the Frank Bell System, you and your horse will be communicating at the highest possible level, and you truly will discover the horse you never knew.   The 7-SSS is the absolute best system for building that all-important foundation with the horse, and is now the cornerstone of all DT Horse Alliance training. Frank has assembled a spectacular team, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Jim says ...
I met a lady in Mesquite, Texas, one spring day. The subject came around to horses. She had six and was afraid of all of them.

Of course, I said, I can help you.

After working a couple of the better broke ones, I ran into her husband up at the house. As she was paying me the big bucks, he immediately informed me that my system was bunk, hokum, and just plain b.s. The only way to deal with a horse was to show them who was boss, preferably, with a two-by-four to the head. Naturally I didn't argue with him. However, I did suggest a demonstration, after which he could fire me. He thought it would be great fun to watch me get trashed!

A ranch hand dragged a three-year-old quarter horse gelding from the pasture to the round pen. He didn't look too tough as it only took a 1/2-ton truck to do it! Since he had never been worked, I decided to start off with a hook-up and then proceeded to the 7 safety steps.

After that I desensitized him a little and saddled him up. I put on the infamous rope halter and stood him next to the water trough. I tested a little weight in the stirrup. He didn't seem to mind, so I stepped on and rode him off. Twenty-five minutes from start of finish. The unbeliever jumped out of his truck and shouted, “I'm convinced!” I think he was in the truck in case the gelding did me in and he had to chase him down.

They were great clients and I ended up starting two, and working all six, for many months. The Frank Bell system is the foremost user- friendly system on the planet. I won't step on any horse without doing it first.

Marry says ...
Being around horses your whole life gives the impression that you will step up and ride any horse. That was the thought I had when I was 20. Now at almost 60, I'm not as agile as I was at 20. I don't bounce so well now!

I have ridden horses since I was five years of age. From the old mare my parents bought me to showing saddle seat, then jumping and finally to ranch work, I've always enjoyed the journey. In 1975 I worked with a man who taught me to train using a kinder manner. Using that method for many years helped me to understand that each horse has its own mind, it's own personality.

In 1999 I heard about Frank Bell and decided to take a horse and attend his clinic. I was amazed at his "7 step safety system " and how quickly you could go from ground work to saddle work in a confident and safe way. It is truly working through the mind to the feet.

Since that day I have taught all my clients this truly amazing system. To feel confident in knowing that when you put your foot in the stirrup you have a communication with the horse that gives the horse confidence in you and creates a safe ride.

Page says ...
Page Turner was born and raised in Albemarle County Virginia. Elliewood Keith and Connie Dempsey started her in the saddle when she was six years old. Her show riding skills were fine tuned by Gary Kunsman in her early teens. Later in life, Frank Kimball and his Holsteiner stallion, Laredo, taught her how to event. Elizabeth Lewis and Barbara Silverman showed her the beauty of dressage.

Page has been riding since the age of 6, foxhunting since the age of 9 and trail ridden for all her life. She has played polo for the UVa women’s team , evented through training level, shown hunters , jumpers, and dressage. She competes on the local and regional level.

Page began teaching in 1986 and training professionally in 1975. Over her long career, she has started several hundred children in the hunt field, show ring, and pleasure riding. Several of her students went on to become professionals themselves.

Currently, Page owns Creekside Stable, a small training and boarding facility in Albemarle County, Va. She specializes in starting young horses under saddle and re-starting older, troubled horses. She teaches all levels of riding based on the Five Basic Skills and Frank Bell’s Seven Step Safety System. She successfully conveys how these principles translate into the everyday riding experience.

 

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Photographic credit to Fergus Nicholson, William Thompson, Eve Alexander and Frank Bell