Q & A
What drives you as an instructor?
I have a passion for working alongside horses and people and sharing what I've learned. I have always felt most fulfilled when working alongside others to help them achieve their goals. I have enjoyed the privilege of working with all caliber of student from beginner to advanced, involved in nearly every english and western equine sport and activity. I enjoy getting to know a persons learning style, riding activities and their horses way of going to create lessons that fit them both.
Through the years, I have had the pleasure of witnessing many special and changing moments between people and their horses as they discover how to communicate with each other. And touched by how willing a person is, to grow personally to develop a special partnership with their horse based on patience, communication and trust. My passion for teaching made becoming an instructor a natural transition and still drives me today.
How did you get started?
I enjoyed riding some as a teen but my formal education began in 1997 with my attendance at Black Hawk College Equine Program in Galva, IL which quickly lead me to a passion for starting colts. This is where my real education began. During the next 16 years of colt starting, I gained a lot of practical experience, a great deal of respect for the horses basic sense of self-preservation and also endured many lessons in humility and patience. I learned to read a horses expression, how to proceed accordingly and to appreciate the value of a solid foundation. Looking back, I believe I've had some good teachers to guide me including all the horses I have had the opportunity to work with over the years. I learned many life lessons too.
Barb, what do you know?
That no matter how much I think I know, there is still so much to learn. My love for teaching and curiosity about horses is still strong and keeps me searching for more. I still visit with my own teachers regularly and feel privileged to share the lessons I have learned.
What do you Teach?
I work on teaching people how to think and relate to the horse in a way the horse can understand based on how the horse thinks, perceives and communicates. I use horsemanship, vaquero style and classical dressage techniques to develop the horse mentally and physically towards any goal or discipline.
What topics do you cover at clinics?
I cover topics ranging from colt starting to advanced equitation and horsemanship. We work on ground work, ridden work, equitation, dressage and vaquero style concepts while learning to adjust to where the horse is mentally, physically and educationally.
What are your thoughts on
combining horsemanship, vaquero & classical dressage techniques?
Fine horseman have been around for thousands of years. And what I have found is, that the schools of horsemanship, vaquero style horsemanship and classical dressage compliment one another very nicely and are an excellent and responsible way of mentally and physically preparing any breed of horse towards any activity. Combining these three disciplines can develop a strong and educated horse and rider pair, capable of handling and accomplishing all the mental and physical tasks an individual horse and rider pair are capable of, to the best of the horse’s natural ability.
Who's teaching do you follow?
With great reverence, I work hard to honor the horsemen who started it all. I incorporate classic horsemanship philosophies and techniques, shared by the late Tom, Bill Dorrance and Ray Hunt and classical dressage philosophies and techniques as taught by the late Xenophon, Pluvinel, Steinbrecht, Oliveira and Pohadjsky to name just a few. I continue to study the original works of horsemanship and classical dressage. I also study and work with those who currently exemplify the work of the original horsemanship movement and the masters of classical dressage.
How do you feel about your students?
Dedicated. I am dedicated to a steadily growing, hard working group of students and their equine partners. The students I work with are interested in pursuing a lifetime of personal growth, alongside their horses. I share many of the same goals as my students. My goal, is to help each horse and rider pair advance towards their personal best, by building a genuine partnership based on patience, communication and trust; engaging their minds, developing their "feel", timing, balance, straightness, strength and coordination.
What do you look forward to?
I look forward to spending a lifetime learning and working alongside people and their horses.
Expand Your Horizons
Horsemanship is a partnership which preserves the body, mind and spirit of the horse. This partnership is based on feel, timing, balance, leadership, trust, communication, collaboration, mutual respect and time. And achieved by working with the horse’s nature to connect to their feet and their mind.
Vaquero style horsemanship is the combination of horsemanship and vaquero traditions. The horse is systematically developed through the stages of the smooth snaffle, hackamore, two-rein and full-bridle using philosophy, exercises and approaches unique to vaquero style horsemanship. The discipline of Vaquero style horsemanship develops a strong, confident, obedient, refined and educated horse and rider pair capable of doing a variety of practical jobs obediently, precisely and on request to the best of the horse’s natural ability.
Classical dressage is the combination of horsemanship and the practice of the systematic development of the horse using gymnastic exercises and approaches unique to classical dressage to develop the strength, balance and coordination of the horse. (The classical approach which I refer to, does not incorporate auxiliary aids, equipment or exercises to force the horse into unnatural positions.) The classical dressage approach develops a strong, confident, obedient, refined and educated horse and rider pair capable of accomplishing all the physical/gymnastic skills an individual horse is capable of doing obediently, precisely and on request to the best of the horse’s natural ability.
BARB GERBITZ INSTRUCTOR
On Working With Others
"No matter how far along we are in our education, we are all learning together. Every good horseman and woman is simply trying to learn how to get along better with their horses, in a way that fits them both, so they might achieve goals that fit them both.
Learning, growing, collaborating, serving, sharing and witnessing the "Try" and the "Change" people can bring out of horses and horses can bring out of people, inspires me to reach out to share what I have learned.
Whether I am teaching at home or at a clinic, I approach all of my students the same way I do my horses. Each student is special and unique. They each come into the arena with their own talents and challenges.
My job, is to try to meet them where they’re at and to teach and challenge them appropriately, so they might discover their own potential.
If I can get some things working for the human so they are feeling more confident; that really carries over to what their horses feel they have to offer, so they can both feel good about things.
Every horse and human is at a different stage, of their own personal progression and education. It’s pretty special to be invited to be a part of that." Barb G
& LEARNING EXPERIENCES
Joining my peers to work horses and visiting with my teachers is an important part of my growth as a student an instructor.
Here are a few of the most recent special moments of my own journey.
Legacy of Legends Colt Starter, Ft. Worth, TX 2018
Buck Brannaman Invitational Colt Starter riding for Froelich Ranch, Sheridan, WY 2018
Legacy of Legends Colt Starter, Ft. Worth, TX 2017
Buck Brannaman Professional Riders Colt Start, CA 2017
Joe Wolter Professional Riders Colt Start riding for Froelich Ranch Selfridge, ND 2017
Learning is the Journey of a Lifetime.
Buck Brannaman Invitational Colt Starter Sheridan WY 2019
Joe Wolter Ranch, Professionals Clinic Aspermont TX 2019
Joe Wolter Clinic Vandalia, IL 2018
Buck Brannaman Colt Starting Clinic Hampshire, IL 2018