Andrea Lyle – Natural Horsemanship Author Interview

Me & My HorseName
Andrea Lyle

Website & Places you can find me online
Follow Andrea on Twitter: @KidsNaturally
Purchase her book: Me & My Horse

Where I am
I live in beautiful Pagosa Springs, CO

Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I was born in the midwest and have had a passion for horses ever since I can remember. My sister and I would walk long distances just to stand at fences to pet them when we were little girls. I finally got my first pony at 13 and with the exception of college years, have had them ever since.

I began training horses unofficially as a teen when a mare I had purchased turned out to be pregnant. I had no idea what I was doing, so I just did what came naturally. I guess I was using natural horsemanship even before it had a name.

I later began assisting a professional trainer with starting young horses. About 15 years ago I became involved, officially, with Natural Horsemanship because of a very difficult horse. I have continued to study from that approach and use it with my own horses. Several years ago I began teaching kids. I felt it would be very beneficial if they could learn this philosophy at an early age and not have to unlearn so many things like I did.

What got you started writing about horses?
I started writing not too long after getting involved with the natural approach to horses. I thought it was so valuable. I wrote a few articles here and there that were published but it wasn’t until I began teaching kids that it became apparent to me there was a great need for a book directed at teaching kids the natural concepts.

Me & My Horse

The basis of your interactive horse book Me & My Horse is natural horsemanship can you tell us a little about it?
The book takes a unique approach to horsemanship by looking at things from the horse’s point of view. Most of us learn about horses from the outside – what to feed them, how to groom them, body parts, what tack to use, how to saddle, get on, ride, etc…, but few really learn about a horse from the inside – how a horse thinks, what makes them do what they do, how their behavior relates to their emotions, their survival, etc…

Through the stories, the games, puzzles, etc in the book kids get to learn about horses from the inside out. Within the stories are also life lessons and challenges all kids face as they grow up.

I have designed it as a journal/scrapbook/activity book combined so each kid can interact with it, have fun and make it their own keepsake.

With all the books about horses available, why do you feel there is a need for this one?
It is simple really. I want to help kids stay safe and have fun with horses. Kids have to know and understand their horse from the inside out in order to really be safe. Very few books explore this side of the horse in a way kids can relate to. I see far too many unconfident kids on unsafe horses. Knowledge can change that.

It is my belief that if kids internalize the natural concepts, use them as a foundation, then any techniques they choose to use will be safer and more successful. It is a win/win situation for both kids and their horses.

Me & My Horse

Do you find kids more responsive to the idea of natural horsemanship than adults?
I wouldn’t say that kids are more responsive to natural horsemanship than adults but they certainly are more adaptable to it. We adults tend to be further removed from being able to relax and play but for kids this just comes natural! Playing is a very important part of natural horsemanship.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to horse owners today when it comes to their animals?
It is difficult to only have one piece of advice but you hit the nail on the head with the question. It is not about ownership. We cannot truly own another living thing. They are not a possession. Any time we interact with an animal it is about a relationship or a partnership where each party has a choice, including the animal. The difference is in the attitude. If we are receptive to what our animals communicate to us about their choices in the relationship it will be far more successful and enjoyable for both parties.

Do you (or did you) have an animal that is the muse behind your work?
Actually all my animals and all the kids I have taught have been my muses. I have been inspired and learned something from every one of them. They have taught me to recognize the differences in everyone, human or animal, and appreciate those differences.

Is there a particular place that brings you inspiration?
Being in nature with my animals always inspires me. The mountains too.

I am very fortunate to live in a place that is surrounded by mountains, animals, wild and domestic, and more beauty than I can put into words.

What effect do you think the Internet has had on the horse industry?
I think in many ways the Internet has probably helped the industry because it allows for more and faster communication. However, I fear people get so caught up in technology that they lose time for their animals.

How do you use it to your advantage?
I do have a website for kids associated with the book and I occasionally use Twitter. Of course email is a mainstay in almost everyones lives and I use that too. Otherwise, I am not too computer literate.

Kids Naturally

What else gets your heart racing?
My family, especially my two teenagers! Seeing wildlife, deer, elk, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, eagles, they all still thrill me even though it is a common occurance.

Working on anything new?
Always. I am an idea person and my biggest problem is narrowing down what I can realistically do. I have a vision for natural horsemanship for kids.

It is my goal to have the website and the books I am writing be a springboard for kids to start forming their own local natural horsemanship groups, much like 4-H or Pony Club, so they will have an outlet for what they are learning and a place to share it.

I am busy working on those ideas. I am also working on Volume 2 of “Me and My Horse”, which should be out later this year.

More to Come

Thanks to Andrea for answering the interview and sharing her work. For more information about her be sure to check out her natural horse website for kids & purchase her book while you are there.

Also stay tuned for more interviews with horse artists and photographers.
Are you a horse artist or do you know an equine artist you’d like to see featured? Add your name and website in the comments below or drop me a note to get involved.

5 Comments on “Andrea Lyle – Natural Horsemanship Author Interview

  1. Tom Maehr

    I’d say the lady knows what she is talking about. We need more of this information to get to young people.

  2. Elise Redell

    It is about time. Everything out there is for adults. Natural horsemanship is wonderful. I wish I could have started using it when I was a kid. Way to go Andrea!!!!!

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