Meet The Horses

Meet our wonderful horses at Heart Centered Horsemanship, each with their unique spirit and lessons to share. Learn about their personalities and see how they help us connect with yoga, therapy, and life lessons.


Zella is an Arabian mare that came to me in 2019. She was living more or less as a feral horse on a large piece of land with a herd, but when the horses had to be moved she refused to be caught and was left behind. I had already met Zella and knew she was a nice pony, but that she was fearful of people and could be explosive when she felt threatened. I agreed to take her and we were able to halter her by coaxing her into a stall with grain. I brought her home and spent the next year gaining her trust. She was  my “Covid pony,” during 2020 I had a lot of spare time, and I spent much of it with her. I was able to proceed slowly, gradually getting her used to all sorts of things, and eventually riding. The time and patience in this early stage paid off, as she is now a super star lesson pony and a valued part of the herd at LaBelle Equestrian. She teaches riders of all levels, from very young children to small adults. Also known as the Unicorn Fairy Princess, Zella has proven that despite a rough start, with the right relationship even the most skeptical horses can become trusted partners.

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Sam is an American Spotted Draft, and the largest member of the LaBelle Equestrian herd. A gentle giant, he loves people and is a favorite of visitors to the farm. During kids’ camps he is our “yoga horse,” as kids practice doing various poses at the halt and walk on his massive back. He is happy to cooperate, and seems to enjoy this part of his job. He is also a wonderful lesson horse for adults and can accommodate larger riders.


Denny belongs to friends of LaBelle Equestrian and has become a beloved part of the lesson program. He was adopted by a family who wanted to help him out of a bad situation, but his lack of education made him a challenge as a riding and show horse. When he arrived at LaBelles he had almost no experience with groundwork, and would become anxious when he didn’t understand what was being asked of him. His highly sensitive nature made him reactive and avoidant of uncomfortable situations, which included new and uncertain experiences. Through slow, patient groundwork with a focus on relaxation he transformed and his personality began to shine through. Now Denny is one of our most dependable lesson horses, his sensitivity a valuable asset as he provides instant feedback when his students “get it.”

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The “Pony Pen” Crew

One of the highlights of a trip to LaBelle Equestrian is visiting the “Pony Pen,” home to Blu, a Shetland pony; Reggie, a miniature horse; Olivia and Betty Jean, the goats; and Opal the llama.  While Blu does occasionally act as a riding horse for very small children, this herd mostly enjoys being fed treats, grooming sessions, and just hanging out with no particular agenda.


Daisy is an Oldenberg mare by the stallion Rolling Stone and out of the mare West Malibu by West Coast. The progeny of exceptional local sires, she is stunning and a dream to ride… if you can get her to cooperate. With her highly sensitive nature, I sometimes call her the “Princess and the Pea,” if anything is not perfect she will certainly let you know! While she can be a challenge, she rewards successful efforts with her exquisite movement. She is a wonderful teacher for more advanced students as well as my personal dressage horse.

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Abby is a beautiful Welsh pony and a favorite of students in the lesson program. Though she doesn’t live at LaBelle Equestrian, she  frequently visits for lessons, camps and events. Playful and energetic while also kind and trustworthy, she is an ideal pony for both beginners and advanced students.


When I first met Greta she was in a horrible place known as a “kill pen,” a warehouse for horses that are thrown away, where horse traders convince people to buy them or they will be sent out of the country for slaughter. I had gone with my friend who was adopting her, and was heartbroken when I saw the conditions there. On the way home I cried, both in gratitude that we could save one horse, but in grief for all of those we had to leave behind. 

Greta was sick, it turned out she had a highly infectious disease called Strangles and had to be quarantined and treated before she could be moved to a herd. Her lack of trust in people made her difficult to work with and she could be extreme in her avoidance behavior. Her new person helped her overcome her fear of people, giving her lots of love, attention and treats. While this made her more social, she was still quite difficult to handle. Eventually my friend asked me if I would want to take her, which I did. She had a lot of unlearning to do as well as a lot of learning, and is still a work in progress.. With her sweet and outgoing personality she has stolen my hear. I am enjoying training her in dressage and jumping with hopes that eventually she will be a perfect pony for students in the lesson program.

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Crow is a stunning black beauty with a mysterious past that left him extremely reactive, tense, flighty, and distrustful. A friend of mine bought him from a horse trader, who described him as an ex barrel racer who was suitable as a quiet partner for trails and light arena riding. Not long after my friend bought him, she called me and told me she was afraid to ride him. Thinking she was overreacting, we scheduled an appointment at her place. When I arrived I could see why she did not want to get on, he looked like he was about to jump out of his skin and explode. We don’t know if he was drugged when she bought him, or if he was so shut down we didn’t see his underlying temperament, but regardless of the reason he was absolutely not the calm, quiet, safe horse she had been looking for. Though she continued to work with him on the ground, she never did feel comfortable riding him again. Eventually she got another horse and let me take Crow to see if I could help him come around. 

I have learned so much from Crow, at times wondering if he would ever recover from whatever happened to him. It has been a long and patient process.We worked with our vet, chiropractor, bodyworker, and even an animal communicator. There was definitely no quick fix but instead lots of time spent helping him let go of the tension in his body and creating a safe space where he could learn to trust people. An incredible athlete, I hope that Crow will be a horse that students can eventually ride and compete. In the meantime, we continue to move at his pace, as I improve my in-hand skills and he works with students from the ground.

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