Healing our Horses - Healing Ourselves
Sacred Connections Horsemanship
Helping You rediscover Fun and Joy through Riding
Did you ever dream of going in circles with someone yelling at you to put your heels down?
When you first dreamed of riding, did you have fantasies of galloping through green fields, jogging down peaceful, tree-shaded trails or that gallop on the beach from the Black Stallion movie?
Yet with our success oriented society and the economic pressures placed on trainers today, the show ring has become our goal and the measuring stick for our riding success.
And our horses are suffering.
Take a few minutes to really watch the horses even in the big shows. Notice the hollowed out backs over jumps, the hardware in their mouths the swishing tails and bucks between fences. Notice the Rollkur and Blue Tongue in the Dressage arenas.
We have substituted ribbons for peace. We have substituted recognition for connection with our beloved horses and we have lost that feeling of freedom and flight. The gallop on the beach has been regulated to dim and distant fantasies while we forever go in circles trying to get our heels down.
Rediscover your Riding Dreams
Find out why:
You don't feel safe galloping through fields
Despite all the different bits—your horse doesn't seem to listen
Your Horse seems as Frustrated as you Feel
Through Sacred Connections Horsemanship’s
Become One with Your Horse
Feel more Secure when You Ride
Ride without hurting Your Horse
Be in Deep, Two-Way Communication with Your Horse
Sacred Connections Horsemanship
Works for All Styles of Riding
Rediscovering a Time-Proven System
In the late 1800s the Italian Cavalry observed the system of riding used by the greatest horsemen in history - the Mongols and the Cossacks. These Steppe Horsemen were the decedents of the first human to ride more than 5,000 years ago.
They could ride 300 miles across the Alps, in three days, and go straight into battle against armored European Knights—easily winning against horses that towered over their 14 hand ponies.
The Italian Cavalry quickly recognized how this phenomenal way of riding allowed them to cover the most ground—over any kind of terrain—the fastest way possible, and arrive with their horses and riders healthy, sound and fit for battle.
The system was named Forward Riding and adapted by the US Cavalry in the early 1900s. The cavalries realized the Forward Riding system created willing cooperative horses able to cover all types of terrain, travel at speed and jump all types of obstacles while staying sound, healthy and sane.
They understood it was also ideal for developing the most functional riders in the fastest
waypossible—without hurting the horse.
Forward Riding includes training both inside and outside the ring and includes training in dressage, jumping and all types of cross-country riding, including trails.
Sacred Connections Horsemanship offers you and your horse this phenomenal training so you can
Throw away the harsh bits, tie down and gadgets
Develop true communication and connection with your horse
Feel brave enough to try that gallop through the fields or on the beach
Stop worrying about your heels and feel balanced and secure
and Rediscover the Reason You always wanted to Ride
To learn more about how all riders of all styles can use SCH to gain clarity, focus, joy and magic in their riding click here.
Who We Are:
Author/Instructor/Consultant Catherine Hunter
Peace Rider Catherine Hunter has worked with horses for more than fifty years and is a nationally rated rider/instructor, a licensed trainer and former police horse trainer. She is the Peace Rider who rode her Thoroughbred, Count of War, nine hundred miles from South Carolina to Ground Zero in New York City. Catherine is the author of Sacred Connections Horsemanship, Empowering Horse and rider through Chakra Energy: Grateful Steps Foundation Publishing House, 2017.
Catherine’s more than forty years of professional equine experience includes developing and teaching an equine-based curriculum for technical schools and colleges such as AB Tech, Isothermal Community College and Tri-County Technical College. She has ridden in feature films such as Steven Speilbergs’, Class of ’61, The Tempest, starring Peter Fonda, and The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All. She has also served as equine consultant and wrangler for The Last Confederate and Gone for a Soldier and worked as host and consultant for the equine-related cable TV show, Horse Talk. She has taught clinics and judged horse shows throughout the Southeastern U.S.
Catherine’s trainers include former Olympic riders and coaches such as Egon Kamarassi and Lendon Gray, ANRC National Judges including Jimmy Cantwell, Pam Cantwell Baker and Kay Russell, U.S. Cavalry Instructor, Gordon Wright, and nationally acclaimed author, Jane Marshall Dillion. Catherine also studied with international equine osteopaths, craniosacral therapists and leading farriers. She is a certified Axiatonal Therapist and is a pioneer in the field of Energy Based Riding. As an award-winning journalist, Catherine has published in national and regional equine publications, such as The Chronicle of The Horse, The Western Horse, John Lyons Perfect Horse and the Tyron Daily Bulletin and Life in our Foothills Appointments. Catherine was a recognized member of the Mooreland Fox Hunt for more than twenty-five years, served as a huntsman for the Royal Meridian St. Leonard’s Day Hunt and served as a professional Whipper In for the Early Grove Hounds. She has taught riding clinics throughout the Eastern U.S. for pony clubs, 4H and other equine-affiliated organizations.
As an historical cavalry reenactor for twenty years, Catherine served as staff courier and mounted security for the largest Civil War reenactments in history such as 135th Battle of Gettysburg, 130th and 135th Battle of Antietam and the Battles of Atlanta. She was also a keynote speaker for national and regional events such as 135th Battle of Gettysburg, and for groups such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Daughters of the Confederacy and the Order of the Confederate Rose.
Advanced Equine Structural Integrator
Instructor/Consultant Kelly Snyder
is a certified advanced equine structural integrator and licensed massage and bodywork therapist. Besides working on horses at various farms in Western North Carolina, Kelly is also a practitioner with Ebb & Flow Massage Therapy Center in West Asheville, treating people suffering from musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. When not performing bodywork on some fortunate horse or person, Kelly can usually be found at home riding and caring for her own three horses while raising and homeschooling her and her husband's two smart, beautiful daughters.
Kelly has loved horses her whole life. Through lessons with qualified instructors and recreational riding, Kelly has accumulated countless hours in the saddle and has more than twenty years of experience with horses.
Before getting involved in the massage and bodywork field, Kelly spent more than two years as assistant riding instructor, trainer, and barn manager under licensed trainer, Catherine Hunter. The knowledge and skills gained through that intensive training, combined with her knowledge of equine and rider biomechanics, gives her a deeper insight into identifying when riding or training techniques may be the cause of musculoskeletal imbalances. While treating a horse with musculoskeletal issues, this insight enables her to work in partnership with the rider and trainer to develop sound riding and training practices, as well as exercises and stretches that allow the horse to experience optimum, pain-free movement.
Kelly is a firm believer in team work and loves working alongside veterinarians, farriers, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other equine professionals. She believes combining knowledge and talents is the best way to ensure that horses have the best chance of leading long, sound, healthy lives. She is a graduate of the Equine Natural Movement School where she studied equine structural integration, and is also a graduate of Western North Carolina School of Massage where she studied neuromuscular therapy, Swedish, and prenatal massage.