Jerusha gets artistic help
from her handsome inspiration.
* Photo by M. Siliski
Growing up in a 'non horsey' family Jerusha's love of horses began as renting horses for hour trail rides on weekends in the summer. In 1990, her father bought Brandy, a welsh cross gelding, for Jerusha's 10th birthday. In the first few months Brandy initiated Jerusha into the joys of horse ownership, by running away from her, refusing to go out alone and dumping her all over the ranch. After that period of growing pains Jerusha spent her preteen years riding bareback with her friends over the 645 acres that belonged to the dude ranch. During that time she developed a great seat and a no fear of riding, jumping, racing and swimming with the horses all summer long.
It wasn't long before Jerusha developed an interest in showing and wanting to do more with her horses. This passion led into pursuing Little Birches Rodeo and High School Rodeo. Jerusha showed her horses all across the country and placed at the Little Birches National Finals several years in a row in a speed trail course event. She also participated in WSCA, with the Minnetonka Horseman Saddle club, placing at the state finals many years in a row in speed events with several horses.
Thinking ahead to her college career and of training horses for a living Jerusha purchased a 3 year old gelding off the track named .8 Seconds. (Ace), in the hopes of training him for college rodeo competition. However Ace had something else in mind. When every traditional method she knew of failed in controlling him, Jerusha began to look for alternative horse training ideas. It was during this time that Jerusha read Pat Parelli's book 'Natural Horsemanship' and decided to write him a letter concerning her 'problems' with Ace. Pat's office responded by wanting to use Ace for the demonstration at the 1997 Minnesota Horse Expo. It was with that experience that Jerusha's ideas of horsemanship changed forever. Pat Parelli became a wonderful first mentor and Jerusha spent many years studying at the Parelli ranches in Colorado and in Flordia where she studied colt starting, foundation and performance in the university program. She was also invited to be a part of the savvy team demonstrating her horsemanship on their national tour.
Jerusha's love of learning led her to many other mentors who are philosophically aligned with the natural horsemanship principles. After attending several dressage naturally clinics with dressage Instructor and judge, Karen Rolf Jerusha became very interested in how to help horses with their movements and posture while still maintaining a willing partnership. Her understanding of feel, colt starting and foundation work were furthered along by clinician Jack Lieser, who she has the pleasure of working with yearly through mentorships, horsemanship clinics and colt starting clinics.
During her experiences with Jack Lieser Jerusha was given the opportunity to meet the Nokota horse, which are descended from the last surviving wild horse population of the Missouri Badlands. These horses are selectively range bred by the Nokota Conservancy in Linton North Dakota. Through the Nokota Colt Start clinics provided by Jack Lieser and Aaron England, Jerusha was able to gentle and provide the first ride for several untouched horses. These experiences greatly expanded Jerusha's understanding of feel, timing and expanded her experience. This allowed to her to offer her domestic horses a better deal. Jerusha was also so taken with the Nokota Horse that she purchased a colt that she started, "Reesey's Spotted Crescent".
Throughout the years Jerusha wished to return to the competition arena, but did not want to disregard her natural principles to do so. In the summer of 2009 Jerusha showed 8 Seconds Ace in a extreme cowboy race and was immediately hooked. The Extreme Cowboy Association, founded by natural horsemanship clinician Craig Cameron, promotes horsemanship coupled with speed and control. Each contestant is judged on their mastery of 13 obstacles which also include performance maneuvers from several disciplines. Excited to be competing again, Jerusha became a certified judge for the EXCA and won regional championships in 2009, 2010, and 2011 in the professional division. Jerusha also competed at the National Finals, placing in the top 10 for 2010. Jerusha continues to support this exciting new sport by judging events at Lakeview Farms and also by being a founder of the Midwest Equine Agility Association. It is her belief that all riders can have a better relationship by working with new challenges in riding and in hand. She enjoys guiding students to learn the art of obstacle negotiation using approach and retreat, efficiency and poise in their riding.
Jerusha feels that her experiences in showing, natural horsemanship, and the challenges of developing a relationship with a horse give her a solid background to help anyone become confident with their horses achieve their goals. She also enjoys helping horses develop a solid foundation or rebuild confidence so they can enjoy being with their humans.