Tyler Galyen, Illinois
I studied for a week at Barb's facility, the work we did was geared towards professional trainers. What an amazing experience it was. In the week that I was there, everything I thought I knew went out the window. In one week Barb not only helped me understand the horses perspective. But helped me understand where I may have been misinterpreting the horse. Barb is so in tune and so faithful to the horse it's unbelievable. We started three colts while I was there and everyone presented us with different opportunities to learn something. I was amazed at the knowledge Barb had to help me to help the horse work through some of the situations he was in.
She is a true horseman and I can't wait to work more with her in the future.
I believe Barb's own teachers would be greatly satisfied with what Barb is bringing to horsemanship.
Jessica O'Quin & Noche
I bought Noche, a then 4 year old Friesian gelding just over a year ago to be my mounted archery horse. He was incredibly green, but I have trained multiple warmbloods and thoroughbreds so I was sure that he could come along fine. I was very wrong.
Noche was trained like many Dutch Friesians being chased by sounds to show off the big Friesian trot and being ridden only along the rail with a lot of pressure in his mouth. He struggled to learn to relax under saddle and was nervous hearing the archery gear behind him. Unfortunately, his anxiety resulted in him bolting and running uncontrollably one day when I was working on archery. I was unable to stop him and eventually my girth loosened enough for my saddle to slip and me to fall. That fall started months of retraining cycles, bolting, frustration, and tears.
I could not overcome Noche’s archery fears and his explosive responses lead me to be afraid to pursue archery with him. Unfortunately, I could not find anything that was engaging to him and had decided that he just had a terrible work ethic. I was devastated that I had spent so much money on my dream horse and he had turned out so disappointing.
It was at this low that a friend of mine suggested I take Noche to a clinic with Barb Gerbitz. I respected my friend as a natural horsemanship trainer and thought that if she said Barb was good, Barb was good. I took Noche to a two-day clinic hopeful that I would come away with tools to help me work with him. What she gave me was so much more.
During the clinic, I was impressed with how Barb could communicate complex ideas through simple overarching truths that could be applied to a multitude of issues and created seemingly magical results. Within a short time, my unengaged, “terrible work ethic” horse started to connect with me. However, for me the real magic came when I signed up for a private lesson at the end of the first day to see if Barb could help with Noche’s archery issues. In less than an hour, Noche’s fears were gone. Even months after this lesson, Noche is completely unafraid of archery.
Perhaps even greater than our success with the archery issue is that Noche left the clinic as my partner. Something clicked with Noche during the clinic that I am trying to communicate with him, not just do things to him that he had to endure. His entire attitude about being worked has taken a 180 degree turn. He is eager to look for answers when he doesn’t understand, tries so hard to do what he knows, and enjoys new experiences.
I gained so much from my first clinic with Barb that I jumped at the chance to join another of her clinics. At the second clinic, I took another private lesson to work on Noche’s anxiety about being ridden in open places. Again, Barb was able to communicate the root cause of the issue and outline the solution in a simple explanation that tied into what we had worked on in this and the prior clinic.
Noche and I are still in the early part of our journey together. I am incredibly fortunate that I met Barb and she was able to rescue both he and I from the terrible path that we were on. Barb is an amazing and thoughtful teacher that possesses the gift of being able to see, understand, and effectively communicate her knowledge and passion. I bought a Friesian, but Barb gave me my dream horse.
Peggy Vander Sande
Equine assisted psychotherapist and owner, LivingAnew Farm, LLC, Neshkoro, WI
This testimonial is written with the intention to reach out to those who truly believe fine horsemanship is a life-long pursuit and a journey. There was a time when I dare not believe I would or could be where I am today. My story starts with horses and my God's grace, ends with horses. My story took a big turn when I met Barb around 2009. I was one of those people who grew up with horses. After 30+ years of minimal quality instruction and God's grace to keep me alive, I met Barb and she began teaching me another way to be with horses through her clinics. I thought I really had it going on. While I think I've grown and improved on many levels, nothing compare to my week-long internship under Barb's tutelage. Barb is so incredibly knowledgeable, yet she remains humble and true to the horse's best interest. She taught me hands on, through example and by setting a stage for me to explore and discover for myself, to approach each horse as an individual and gave me tools to become a better student of the horse and a better rider. Barb paid close attention to every detail of my interaction with each horse, from catching, haltering, leading, groundwork, saddling, riding, trailer loading and even grooming (yes, landing a brush on a horse's hide should be done with feel and finesse!). She does not settle for mediocre and pushed me to my limits, yet in a way that was respectful and supportive. No shaming involved when working under Barb. This gave me space to push out of my comfort zone and make mistakes. She let me know when I got it right and helped me build on my successes. She also didn't let me slide when I struggled. On the inside I was thinking, "I'm never going to get this!", but pushing through the mechanics of horsemanship and being allowed the time and space to dig deep inside to find a new level of skill I didn't know I had could only be achieved by Barb's instincts to push, then wait, then push, then wait, then praise when I got it. She really does approach her students like she approaches her horses; meeting us where we are, drawing out our strengths and abilities and helping us overcome trouble spots. I continue to be inspired by this beautiful woman who walk the walk. She has taught me so much about myself and, in turn, my horses and the horses I work with are happier and more content. I look forward to every opportunity to get to learn from Barb! Her unique insights, her experience, her grit and her integrity are just a few outstanding qualities that have helped me come a better horsewoman and human being. I'll be forever grateful for her wisdom and generosity to share her gifts and skills. I've not met anyone more dedicated to her craft, her students or the horses fortunate enough to pass through her program.
Christie Riek & Wings
Clinic host, Otter Point Farm, Crossville, TN
What can I say about someone who saved my life? I found Barb in 2012, just a few months
after buying my “dream horse”, a 7yo 16.2h 1800# ¾ Friesian x ¼ Morgan sporthorse named
Wings. Unfortunately, my dream quickly became more like a nightmare when I would work
with him from the ground and he would charge AT me with ears pinned and teeth snapping! At
that time, I had owned and ridden horses for over 30 years and had Dakota, a paint horse, for
the previous 14 yrs. I had never before encountered such an intimidating and angry horse like
Wings and worried that I’d made a grave error in buying him.
A lady at my stable encouraged me to sign up for a clinic on horsemanship. I was very skeptical
but was desperate to find some help with the Wings. I signed up and went to that clinic, albeit
with a closed mind. The progress we made during that 2-day clinic was phenomenal and I was
hooked. I signed up for every Barb clinic I could that year and sent Wings to Barb that winter
for 3 months. That first year was tough because I had to re-learn everything I thought I knew
about handling and riding horses, but I am so glad I made that investment in my education.
Wings and I are now a great team and he is a very talented and willing partner!
I have become an avid student of horsemanship and proper equitation and have applied the
things I’ve learned from Barb to my other horses. In particular, the tools Barb has provided
have allowed me to help Dakota who was easily stressed by changes or new things and was
unwilling to get into a trailer. With the progress he made, I was able to let a 9 yr old girl use
Dakota in a Barb clinic a few years ago where he was a phenomenal teacher for her. He also
gets right into the trailer without hesitation now!
I’ve never stopped learning from Barb and, since moving to TN, I have hosted 2-3 Barb clinics
annually at my home to give other folks the opportunity to find the same gifts I found when I
attended that first clinic so many years ago.
Barb is the best teacher and mentor you’ll ever find. She has the ability to see the potential of
each student and horse and pushes them a bit further than they believed they could go each
time. Her focus is to push each horse/rider pair to continue improving and to eventually realize
that potential Barb could see, whether or not the rider believed it was possible! Barb always
has the horse’s best interests in mind and is a thoughtful and effective teacher/trainer. This has
been, and continues to be, my experience.
Dr. Packy A. Huettman Jr., DO, Iowa
When I went to my first clinic with Barb, it was a colt's and re-start's clinic. My horse and I were as green as a May sapling. I had no idea what I was doing. But after that first clinic with Barb, I had a foundation and vision of where my horse and I needed to be for both our safety. Barb has been patient, instinctual and even kicked my butt when I needed it; but in a nice way. She has taught me to be a responsible owner and partner with my horse. We have done multiple clincs with Barb and each time we come out of the clinic with a whole new set of tools. Barb has taught me a better way to work with my horse. It isn't easy and takes time, but my horse and I are both better for each other. I feel that I am learning the language of my horse and can better communicate with my horse more effectively. This is a direct result of the time we have spent working with Barb. I strongly recommend any of Barb's clinics.
Emmy Love & Quiebro
Love Dressage & Horsemanship, Nashville, TN
Studying under Barb's knowledge and eyes has been a privilege from the start. She has opened doors into my Horsemanship which have helped me to become a better Horsewoman and teacher. My horses are lighter since working with her and the teamwork is better both on the ground and under saddle. Her openness into all disciplines with the horse is truly refreshing and noteworthy as I have seen her help horses and humans in multiple different disciplines succeed. Barb's way with horses is truly admirable and something I hope to carry along with me in my own career.
Monte Alkire & The Big Papi
Author, Rope Your Dream, Cazenovia, IL
Beginning at ground zero as a roper at 55 yrs young, his amazing tenacity, perseverance and hard work paid off when he placed in the top twenty at the national championship level. "It is never too late to think big, and it is certainly never too late to live your dream." Monte Alkire
Hello Barb, having some good success and continuing to profit from my time with you on the horse I call "The Big Papi".
I wanted to thank you again and explain how my two trips up there with this guy continue to influence my work with him and other colts. This was the horse that I couldn't get in the right lead. He was also not breaking hard from the box. The work we did together was extremely effective. The photo above show him break hard from the box and performing in competition, collected doing his job with only the slightest rein contact. He is now truly ambidextrous and very capable in either lead. Further, he is very close to making a full smooth, flying lead change; limited I am sure only by my ability to communicate and time the request. Barb, I just wanted to be sure you were aware of this input and the effectiveness in helping me and this high performance heading horse. Don't ever doubt your ability to contribute to horses used in other disciplines. The beauty is that I have been able to use it on all the young ones I have ridden since. I roped today on all three horses, Papi and my two project horses coming 6 and 7. It is fascinating to see these young ones respond and develop similarly. Both have won places in jackpot roping and still have far to go in their development. Please understand, I am not meaning to brag, only to say thank to you and inform you of another fine example of the expert horsemanship you so effectively communicate to others. Thanks again. Friend, Monte
Cathy Coleman & Intrepido, TN
When I met Barb in 2017, I was literally hanging on to a finely frayed thread at the end of my “Horsemanship” lead rope... ready to simply throw in the towel and accept that I had failed miserably at being the horsewoman I so desired to be.
I have been involved with horses all my life, and have studied various forms of horsemanship for almost three decades. I have had success to varying degrees with many of my horses, but never to the point where I felt like I was able to be the best leader possible... consistently. I attended numerous clinics with well-known clinicians, but felt that all my questions were answered with riddles and “thought provoking” ambiguity. The harder I tried to do things on my own, the worse my horsemanship became. And when there was nothing more of my confidence left, the more I became injured during the process of trying to get it back.
Ever determined, I continued to attend various clinics, hoping that any of the clinicians would see the undercurrent of fear that had taken hold of me. I hoped someone would sense the apprehension that my horses so easily understood. Instead, I was told to sell my beloved Andalusian gelding, Intrepido, because he was “too much” for me... and that “some people are better off being caretakers of horses instead of trying to ride them...”
Before my first clinic with Barb, almost 5 years had passed since I had put my foot in a stirrup. With great trepidation, I brought my Andalusian gelding, Intrepido, to the clinic... who was still very green at 14 years of age... but a lot less green that I was at 50 years of age and 30 years of trying not to be. Intrepido had run off with me, bucked me off, and was visibly annoyed at the constant monotony of playing “games” on the ground because I had become too afraid to get on his back. We were both lacking knowledge, confidence, and understanding... and had all but lost faith in each other.
Barb took one look at us and went straight to work on helping Intrepido and I rebuild our relationship on the ground as well as in the saddle. Over time, I went from being afraid to ride, to confidently cantering my beloved Spanish horse with just the slightest request. Intrepido in no longer “just” my horse. He has become my partner.
Thanks to Barb, both Intrepido and I have learned so much together, and our relationship is stronger than ever before. Barb’s ability to feel for the horse as well as with the horse is beyond compare. Her willingness to impart information and effectively teach both people and horses makes her a phenomenal instructor. What I learned in my first clinic with Barb was practical, “meat and potatoes,” horsemanship that focused on body mechanics as much as it took into consideration the thoughts, feelings, and emotional needs of each horse and rider. Barb’s instruction is truly like nothing I have ever experienced in learning... and both Intrepido and I have benefited greatly because of that.
I am excitedly looking forward to my next season of clinics with Barb. There is truly nothing... NOTHING... like the feeling of knowing in your heart that you are finally on the right horsemanship path. Through all the twists and turns that I’ve taken on that long road, to end up here with Barb Gerbitz as my instructor, mentor, and friend has been absolutely worth it.