My name is Katie Stearns, and I am a natural horsemanship trainer, riding instructor, and horseback archery teacher. I practice as many disciplines as possible including dressage, jumping, Western pleasure, trail obstacle, trick riding, bridless and bareback riding, horseback martial arts, and medieval war horse gaming.
I have been very blessed with great mentors and teachers over the years. I believe any horse person, students and trainers alike, should never stop learning. There is always something more to learn. My theory is I am not a horse, so I will never know everything there is to know about horses. But I am always striving to know more!
I apprenticed with Oregon trainer Clint Surplus (http://truhorsemanship.com/) for a couple of years starting colts. Clint is an amazing horseman, and over all is just a great person. He taught me how he puts a lasting foundation on a young horse, and how to start off their riding career quiet and gentle. I continue to learn from Clint, because it has taken me all these years to continue processing everything he said, and everything I watched him do. Training with Clint was an unforgettable experience, and I will forever continue to learn from it.
After training in central Oregon with Clint, I moved so southern Oregon to live and train with Rose White (http://barwranch.us/). Rose White is my kindred spirit and “horsey-mamma.” She and I connect on a horsewoman to horsewoman level that I can not explain. Living with Rose White and Bobbie Ann Beller was a turning point in my life, in my career, as a horse trainer, and as an adult. With Rose White I was able to work with more finished horses, and we practiced as many disciplines as possible. She and I are firm believers in cross-training, and we feel that all of our horses should be able to do everything. Because variety is the spice of life! She gave me my first lessons Endurance and trail obstacle, and helped to solidify “riding the body,” in the way I ride. We also occasionally worked on Dressage. Rose rides with me every time I ride, because we are the same.
I then hopped on a jet to move to South Korea for half a year to help train horses, teach riding lessons, and learn horseback martial arts. I had already been practicing and teaching mounted archery for several years, but I wanted to learn more. So I went to South Korea to learn sword, spear, and horseback acrobatics. They gave me free room and board, and I helped with horse chores and lessons.
Then I came back to the USA to live in Washington to be closer to my father.
Moving to Washington was very difficult for me. Because all of my previous training was in Oregon, along with my developing clientele, coming to Washington was a fresh start. Lisa Eagley gave me a job doing horse chores, witch later turned into me helping assist her with her horses in training at Graystone Stables (http://www.graystonestable.com/). I worked as Lisa’s assistant trainer for about a year, and was given the opportunity to work very well finished horses with her. Lisa is a great Dressage trainer and instructor, and was very fun and easy to work with. I learned a lot from her, and from riding her fantastic horses. She is very good at picking out the little things that really make a difference in your riding.
My Ten Year Plan
Over the last several years, I have met some amazing women. These women have counseled me, guided me, comforted me, laughed with me, and cried with me. Above all they have been there for me, any time I needed them, to empower me and lift me up when I was feeling down. They have now become my lifelong warrior sisters and kindred spirits. I have decided to try and continue this tradition of sisterhood, as a way of thanking my mother Lori, my mother Lin, my mothers Rose White and Bobbie Ann Beller, and my sisters Barb Leeson and Roberta Beene, for all they have done and continue to do for me. Much of my current 10 year plan has been inspired by these wonderful women.
The Plan: To have my own training facility, ranch, riding school, and women empowerment programs.
The first plan was to get property, which has now been accomplished!
I have built a horseback archery course, ground archery range, and I am hoping to build an indoor arena in the future.
I want to have a joint program, with both women empowerment through horseback martial arts, and a horse rescue program. I am hoping to make this a non-profit organization.
I would like the programs to be specific for various groups of women. For example, I would have one weekend set aside for cancer survivors, the next for at-risk youth. I am hoping to find grants or donations for the women empowerment weekends. So women can come and work together on getting their strength back; mentally and physically. Horseback riding and martial arts are empowering. They empower women to be confident, strong, and independent. Working with horses, teaches you leadership, without force. Martial arts improve your physical health, as well as mental focus.
I have seen quiet self-conscious women turn into strong warrior goddesses over a weekend. I see their posture and mannerisms go from submissive and nervous, to authoritative and confident.
During the women’s weekend, I would require there be a certified counselor to lead and participate in evening group discussions. Having each weekend specific to what the women are having to overcome, I think will bring a unity to the group, and a common ground.
I would be willing to do a weekend clinic for any group I can get enough people for. I am thinking about setting my minimum to 4 people, and a maximum of 8. All women will have to be currently working with a counselor or psychiatrist depending on their recovery.
Women Empowerment Weekend Clinics could include:
– cancer survivors
– at-risk youth
– battered women
– recovering alcoholics
– recovering addicts
– single mothers
My greatest goal for these weekend clinics is to strengthen these women. Strengthen them to be able to stand up to the hardships in their past, present, and future. I get so many women emailing me, saying they saw my website and that they wish they could do something like that. I always reply to them that they can and should! In horseback archery, women are on an even playing field to men. You do not have to have a lot of brute strength to be successful with a bow, and women are often easier to teach to ride.
I also plan to in the future have children’s weekends. I would love to have a discounted weekend available for children (boys and girls) to have a weekend horseback martial arts clinic.
I have many plans… but this is pretty much the gist of it right now!