Each year 10 of the best horse trainers across the country are invited to participate in the Impact of the Horse Competition held in Heber City, Utah. This year Croydon resident Niki Wilde was chosen to be a part of this prestigious group who will show off their horse training skills Nov. 1 – 2, at the Wasatch Event Center.
As she was growing up, Wilde’s father bred and trained racehorses. Although she was often around the horses, most weren’t broke enough for her to ride. It wasn’t until she was 25 that Wilde finally had a horse of her own.
After moving to Croydon, where her husband Kim grew up, they decided to get a horse to graze off the grass on their four-acre property. Bought from her mother after her father had passed away, Wilde’s first horse was a chestnut quarter horse named Do It or Die.
Because Do It was only “race track broke,” Wilde immediately began to look for someone who could help train her horse. They didn’t have to look far as Morgan resident Clarke Garn came highly recommended.
Garn soon invited Wilde to come watch his nightly sessions where he focused his skills on “horse whispering” and “round pen training.” Even though it meant bringing along her two young children Braydon and Cadon (now 20 and 17 years old), Wilde would go every day, watching and asking many questions.
At the end of about six weeks Wilde and her husband went to load up Do It to bring her home. At this time Wilde expected to bring Do It home and to ride her whenever and wherever. She was surprised when Garn recommended another level of training and offered up four names of trainers with methodologies close to his own. Little did either of them realize this suggestion would change their lives.
Wilde then took the names Garn had offered up and headed to the Weber County library. She found the book Natural Horsemanship written by Pat Parelli, one of the trainers Garn had recommended, checked it out and headed home.
After spending hours reading she got in touch with Parelli’s office and learned that Parelli soon would be doing a demonstration in Ogden. She was so amazed with what the students could do with their horses, she signed up for Parelli’s learn-at-home horse training school.
Wilde spent the next eight years going through the Parelli program. She even had the opportunity to ride for Parelli’s Savvy team and was able to go to his ranch several times. She then went on to study rein training techniques from Craig Johnson and dressage techniques from Karen Rohlf. She learned from some of the best and that has brought her to where she is today.
What started out for Wilde as being a respite has turned into something life changing. When their oldest son Braydon was young, he was diagnosed with Autism. As she watched him progress and learn, she started noticing similarities in the ways he would learn and the training she was doing with her horse. Wanting to share her story and the things she had learned, Wilde wrote a book Me-N-MrB which can be purchased as an e-book on me-n-mrb.com.
Wilde and her husband wanted to give back and knew one of the best ways they could was to help people with their horse problems. They love teaching lessons (to both children and adults) as well as helping with problem horses and trying to mediate between the horse and its owner. Using natural horsemanship, by working with the horse instead of using fear and intimidation to make the horse obey, they build a horse both physically and mentally.
The Wildes always try to put the horse first, believing that the horse’s thoughts, feelings and needs should come first to show that this is a partnership, not a dictatorship. Wilde shares that the ultimate goal of a horse trainer is to be able to move a horse any direction at any speed. She states that she “wants people to grow out of me because they know so much.” The Wildes don’t want to train the horse per se as much as they want to teach the person what they need to do so that they learn to control their own horse.
Together the Wildes find their calling very rewarding. They love the opportunity to work together and joke that together they make one complete horseman as “his strengths seem to be my weaknesses and vice versa.” They are especially fond of watching their students develop. Wilde shares that “we have LOVED our students and watching them grow as ‘horsemen’ is an amazing reward for what we do. Seeing happy horses and happy people makes it all worthwhile!” This is important to Wilde as she shares a favorite quote from Albert Einstein, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
This year as Wilde was selected to participate in the Impact of the Horse Challenge, she had her first experience with a mustang. Having handled over 650 head of horses, she puts her training to the test.
Ten wild mustangs were rounded up and trainers drew out which one they would be dealt. Each would have 100 days to train before the big show. This weekend Wilde goes head to head with the other trainers, each showing what they have done.
At the end of the competition an adoption auction will be held, allowing the public to bid on some really great horses. The auction will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, at 4 p.m. at the Wasatch Event Center. Come out and adopt a really nice horse and support someone from Morgan County.
As she heads to competition, Wilde would like to thank her sponsors: US Development-Craig Widmier, Round Valley Rock, Rees Brothers Herefords, Looks By CJ took all her amazing photos -www.looksbycj.com, Wilkinson Construction, Lonestar, SN Custom Railing, Crown Electric, Salmon HVAC, Energy Savers Insulation, LLC, Pinnacle Engineering, Shad Guffey and Steve Ralston Plastic Surgery.
“I am humbled by the support and amazed at the generosity shown to me as I chase a dream!”