Hello! I am Janel Brookshire – a wife, mother, Jesus-lover, horse-lover, and western riding instructor. I lead a full life being married to a cowboy, raising two great children, going to and being active in church, and riding horses as well as teaching others to Stay in the Saddle.
I was raised on a midwestern Minnesota farm where there were no horses present. Lots of beef cattle, hogs (farrow to finish), and crops and farm equipment. My hopes, dreams and goals are revolved around horses, so I made it my mission to “grow up” and get a horse. I attended college at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota. I graduated with bachelor of science degrees in Corporate and Community Fitness and Psychology, with a minor in Nutrition. I love working with and helping people, and went on to work at both hospital-based and corporate fitness facilities as an Exercise Specialist and Personal Trainer.
In 1998, I was offered a job to trade real-time power (electricity) and accepted due to the great income potential. lol I did stay in the industry for 10 years and enjoyed positions in trading, dispatching and asset management. The company ended selling its energy marketing and trading portion of the business, and in 2008 I was laid off instead of relocating to Houston.
Fortunately, I had began teaching western riding lessons on a part-time basis in 2000, and in 2006, founded Stay in the Saddle, LLC. which produced an instructional video and riding manual for beginners. Thus, with the free up of my time, I began teaching full-time in 2008. www.stayinthesaddle.com
My riding style and method of teaching has all been developed from learning to ride as an adult. As I mentioned earlier, I loved horses as a child and dedicated every available moment to learning about them through reading, visiting neighbors with horses, etc. The actual learning to ride did not occur until I was about 23 years old. I had rode horses and loved it and even thought I was decent at it. . . That is, until I was riding with a friend (who had zero horse experience or passion) and she took a tumble from a suddenly-stopping horse. She broke her lower back. It was a very frightening yet eye opening experience for me. That was the day I decided to learn to ride.
Since then, 1995, I have worked very hard to learn the how’s and why’s of riding. I spent many hours in the saddle to dissect the trot – staying deep in the seat, learning the true movement of the horse – and basically figuring out how to explain what I was feeling and experiencing in the saddle. That truly is the trick of a good instructor: to be able to verbally explain what is expected physically in the saddle.
I have used many people as teachers. Not directly, but indirectly by watching them. I have actually only taken a couple of riding lessons and they were English lessons in 2000 to simply learn the differences between the two seats (its more that tack!). The two best teachers that I learned what to do were Art and Kathy. Both people were very capable riders and good horsemen. They were completely at home on horses, they communicated with their horses through good cues, they had control of their horses, and they rode with extreme confidence. A few people I learned from about what NOT to do were Rhonda, Rodney, Steve and a few others. Unfortunately, many of the poorest riders were people who “grew up riding” but never learned what to do – they just did what they wanted. I’ve seen many a horses suffer under such hands.
But back to what I learned from the two best horsemen I learned from early on — they taught, simply by how they rode, comfort – communication – control – and confidence. These are the Four C’s that are the cornerstone of Stay in the Saddle. If you are Kathy or Art, wherever you are – THANK YOU!
And of course, I do have to give credit to my husband, Dale. He is a phenomenal horsemen and is one of the only people I know that can seriously ride anything, anywhere, and any ol’ way. He’s one of the rare persons that grew up riding without instruction – and is good at what he does.
So, here we are in 2011. Stay in the Saddle is going to be experience change and growth – and for that, I am SO excited. But you can check all of that out on the About Stay in the Saddle page.