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Whole-istic Horses - The Natural Connection and Ms. Jean

Whole-istic Horses - The Natural Connection and Ms. Jean Jean French is owner/instructor for The Natural Connection riding program focused on natural care of horses & natural connections between horse and rider.

For inquiries, use the message button on this page or contact Ms. Jean directly at: [email protected]

Operating as usual

#tbmakeoverMO’s MOtivational MOnday’s!What makes Mo happy?Mo and I embarked on the journey to figure out what job makes ...
03/29/2022

#tbmakeover

MO’s MOtivational MOnday’s!

What makes Mo happy?

Mo and I embarked on the journey to figure out what job makes him happy…mentally, physically and emotionally.

We pursued dressage hard core last year, the year of the Mega-Makeover. From March-September 2021, we competed from Intro level and finished/completed through Training Level 3, for those who follow dressage, majority of our scores were in the 60’s and lower 70’s. So a good start!

While I really enjoyed the dressage work, I’m not convinced Mo did. He just didn’t seem “interested.” And without that desire to do it, it was hard to make accurate requests in forward motion look effortless. In his defense, I was only able to get in an arena once a week, at most. So majority of our dressage training was done on the trail.

Mo’s also consistently been my main horse for my trail riding operation. He seems to really enjoy that job because he literally drags me out the gate to go on an “adventure.”

But this year, I decided Mo and I are pursuing Ranch Versatility, specifically getting training at Cornerstone Horsemanship, run by the Pelhams.

Mo hasn’t seen nor worked cows in a full year. But I could tell he really enjoyed this challenge. And this is super challenging for me too! Ranch roping requires a handy, quiet horse that will patiently wait for you to take a shot. Since I was a team roper in a previous life, moving slowly and strategically takes real discipline.

How did I know Mo enjoyed it? His entire demeanor…he was engaged and curious when working…then while waiting his turn, he kept checking in with me, flexing and looking back at me, licking, chewing and yawning.

So for those still trying to figure out what job is best for their horse, all I can say is “listen,” they will tell you.

❤️😊

Thank you Amanda Cousins for taking and sharing videos!

Training our Team of Wranglers Group 2I consider myself very lucky to have a very dedicated crew that has NEVER let me d...
03/09/2022

Training our Team of Wranglers Group 2

I consider myself very lucky to have a very dedicated crew that has NEVER let me down. 5 years after relocating The Natural Connection Inc to the trail barn property of the Marriott Ranch, we finally have rare moments to get this team off property. They deserve that time to enjoy riding and training the horses that we love so much.

Next month, a new adventure awaits!

02/08/2022
MO-mo learning to MOve his feet!🐎

MO’s MOtivational MOndays!

My buddy Mo-mo is always making me feel like I don’t challenge him enough.

So we enrolled in a “pop-up”gymnastic clinic with 3 day eventer Paul Ebersole of Champagne Wishes Farm.

Most everybody knows that we are a western pair, spending 99% of our time on the trails, 80% of the time at the walk. That said, I do feel it’s important to work on more challenging coordination and proprioception exercises…especially with a young and intelligent horse.

My goal was to simply be there as Mo’s biggest supporter for any challenge he faced.

I know that these gymnastics are tiny compared to his lumbering 16.3 hand lanky stature, but I was so incredibly pleased with Mo’s relaxation and demeanor more than anything.

There was even a MOment when the clinician said, “…your horse is brilliant!” Needless to say, I was stunned and couldn’t stop smiling for my trail horse extraordinaire…

Mo proved he could jump a small course by the end, an important milestone for us, but height wasn’t the goal.

The video clip was just a small highlight showing Mo’s relaxation, rhythm, balance, coordination and confidence. (PS, Paul through the 5th jump in the gymnastic up without our knowledge, so even though Mo clipped it, he still took it without hesitation!)

What more could this mama ask for?

❤️🐎❤️

2022 CORPORATE LEADERSHIP EQUINE EXPERIENCES HAVE STARTED!!!Do you want to create a unique team building retreat?Hands o...
02/04/2022

2022 CORPORATE LEADERSHIP EQUINE EXPERIENCES HAVE STARTED!!!

Do you want to create a unique team building retreat?

Hands on learning from the top equine professionals in the industry (The Natural Connection Inc horse herd😉) made todays session with 11 corporate leaders an engaging and educational experience, regardless of rain, mud and cold weather.

This group had the option of trail riding, but terrain conditions were too slick, so instead, they listened and learned about horse herd dynamics, then experienced and learned how horses communicate with each other.

We finished the day in our large barn where all participants were able to stay dry on this dreary day, while enjoying an action packed demonstration from off the track thoroughbred, Moneigh Moproblems, AKA Mo-mo, and Ms. Jean. Discovering the parallel universe between the human and horse world regarding leadership and communication was a great way to amp up this group of professionals to head back to work with a new outlook.

The President of this company stated:

“Thank you so much for sending (the pictures) – you are a class act and the team had a great time.”

Can’t wait for our next group!!!

Reach out to Ms. Jean to schedule your unique equine leadership experience…

[email protected]

01/29/2022

Desensitizing gone wrong…😳

01/28/2022

"Moneigh Moproblems exceeded every single expectation throughout the initial training process. And continues to do so after the Makeover! His interest in learning and tremendous desire to be with me has fueled my soul like no other horse in my life. While his full-time job is working trail rides and learning ranch work, he has shown great aptitude towards anything I point him at."
-Jean French and 2020 entry Moneigh Moproblems

Ready to start your own Makeover story? Open to juniors, amateurs, professionals and teams, the Thoroughbred Makeover is accepting applications now through January 21st for the 2022 event. Get started now at TBMakeover.org by tapping "Trainer Portal."

MO’s MOtivational MOnday’s#tbmakeoverThe Value of Connections…In 2020, while preparing for the Thoroughbred Makeover, Mo...
01/24/2022

MO’s MOtivational MOnday’s

#tbmakeover

The Value of Connections…

In 2020, while preparing for the Thoroughbred Makeover, Moneigh Moproblems, AKA Mo-mo, decided I was officially going to be HIS human.

Little did I know that Facebook would make our journey even more meaningful…

One of the COOLEST things about the RRP (Retired Racehorse Project) Facebook presence is it connected me to former jockeys and caretakers of Mo-mo.

As a result, how super cool is it to now have pics of Mo-mo ftom his younger years!!??:

Yearling and 3 yr old

5 yr old and 7 yr old

He’s grown into such a handsome fella❤️.

So thankful for the Thoroughbred Makeover on so many levels…

Training our Team of Wrangler’sThe most important perk of being selected as a Natural Connection INC Wrangler is the con...
01/14/2022

Training our Team of Wrangler’s

The most important perk of being selected as a Natural Connection INC Wrangler is the continuing education.

Year round, Wrangler’s receive training on how to work with horses on the ground, under-saddle, and how to problem solve.

They also receive training on professionalism while problem solving with people, the much more complicated portion of the picture.

Think about what a Wrangler’s job is:

“A Wrangler at The Natural Connection INC is expected to provide professional instruction to beginner through novice level riders, including but not limited to mounting and dismouting, basic riding skills, safety requirements in a group atmosphere, diffuse stressful situations due to customer or horse apprehension/nervousness and all with incredible composure, confidence and kindness.”

THAT’S-A-BIG-ASK.

So this year, more so during the winter months while business is slower, the team has the opportunity to go off-site with a select group of horses “in training” to learn how to work with these horses in very different, more challenging situations.

Here’s pics from group one…we encountered a bridge with a 15/20 foot drop off underneath, that I decided to train Mo on. Keep in mind, knowing Mo hadn’t trained on that type of bridge, (only lead across), knowing horses have poor depth perception, and knowing we had already ridden for hours, I could have easily chosen:

a) Put our most confident horse first and let Mo follow and skip the training

b) Get off and lead Mo across with a lead rope

c) Skip the bridge completely and go to the parallel trail that has no bridge

This bridge training took 45 minutes, so was it worth it? Absolutely! Wranglers sat on their horses and watched how skillsets included lots of appropriately timed positive reinforcement, release of pressure when appropriately applying a correction, patience itself is a skillset, how herd dynamic can shift the horse’s focus in training, the importance of the forward and backward buttons, isolating shoulders or hind quarters,but most importantly, having the proper knowledge of how to get the right answer, taking as much time as needed, and once done repeat/reward, repeat/reward, repeat/reward. Mo was fantastic, a great example from start to finish, showing great relaxation with his head down, a slow pace and a big deep sigh as he crossed the bridge the third time in the lead.

All horses left feeling relaxed and confident…ALWAYS our goal in horsemanship.

MO’s MOtivational MOmentsAlmost 20 years ago, I was a diehard quarter horse fan…acquaintances and students might have ev...
01/09/2022

MO’s MOtivational MOments

Almost 20 years ago, I was a diehard quarter horse fan…acquaintances and students might have even caught me saying, “…oh no, I’m not a fan of thoroughbreds…”

Ironically, deciding to build my business was based on a half thoroughbred, and unexpectedly, I jumped off the cliff and started purchasing and training off the track thoroughbreds in need.

These thoroughbreds have taught me so much throughout the years, and continue to do so, but none impress me as much as Mo-mo.

I truly believe his desire to do well is due to our incredible bond (which may or may not be 🥕 based🤔).

Anyways, last week, Mo lost a front shoe. I wrapped the hoof to prevent further damage to the hoof wall.

Every day, Mo comes down off his mountain and hangs his head over the gate and I swear he is asking me “…mom, what are we doing today?” Honestly, I haven’t done anything with him in the last 6 days due to a lost shoe and the snow/ice and freezing temperatures.

Well, today, with the down right balmy high temp of 32, I couldn’t resist putting a boot on Mo and taking him out in the snow.

What an amazing boy he is, allowing me to enjoy this gorgeous day…I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to lug me through the snow, allow me to hop on and off to do trail maintenance and trust me to get us across the ice patched streams safely.

This may not be a meaningful or substantial experience to anyone else, but it sure is to me. An upcoming 8 year old with an incredible brain…Mo-mo is one of the very few horses I have trained from the ground up that was a clean slate, not a problem horse, not a horse needing extreme help, just a simple OTTB that claimed me as his own, now turning into my all purpose dream horse…

What more can I ask for?

❤️

Gotta love a thoroughbred…

01/08/2022

Playtime in the snow!!!

Quarter horses and thoroughbreds…guess which ones are off the track thoroughbreds?

Hint…the nosey bay boy is DEFINITELY TOO VOLUPTUOUS to be an OTTB😉

Winter❄️Has❄️Arrived!The Natural Connection INC herd enjoying hay on a brisk but beautiful evening.  ❤️
01/03/2022

Winter❄️Has❄️Arrived!

The Natural Connection INC herd enjoying hay on a brisk but beautiful evening. ❤️

12/16/2021

What a moment to capture…

Pure horse herd happiness…

❤️

Happy National Day of the Horse…to every horse that has crossed my path…to every horse that has humbled me…to every hors...
12/14/2021

Happy National Day of the Horse

…to every horse that has crossed my path

…to every horse that has humbled me

…to every horse that has been my professor

…to every horse that has made me who I am today

…to every horse that drives me to be the most authentic version of myself every day

…to every horse in my life…thank you for giving me a reason to be better

❤️🐎

One parcel of the Marriott Ranch called Fiery Run Ranch…home to our trail riding operation in Linden, VA. Sometimes I st...
11/09/2021

One parcel of the Marriott Ranch called Fiery Run Ranch…home to our trail riding operation in Linden, VA.

Sometimes I stop to take in the beauty of the sky in particular…

Thought I’d share❤️

INCREDIBLE Fall Colors on Fiery Run Ranch, location of The Natural Connection INC trail ride operation at the Marriott R...
11/04/2021

INCREDIBLE Fall Colors on Fiery Run Ranch, location of The Natural Connection INC trail ride operation at the Marriott Ranch.

#WesternTownExperienceVAOctober 31, we had our first Western Town Experience here at the ranch.What made this different ...
11/02/2021

#WesternTownExperienceVA

October 31, we had our first Western Town Experience here at the ranch.

What made this different from the traditional Western Town Dinner Ride that was offered in the past, and what is it?

Fiery Run Ranch, where the trail riding operation is located, is home to a facade of an old Western Town.

We load up our guests on horseback and they ride 45 minutes down to Western Town, where an experience awaits! Ideally before dark, after roughly 2 hours in Western Town, everyone is loaded back up and rides back to the trail barn.

What’s are we offering that’s NEW?:

1) We had old country music playing… (Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Chris Ledoux etc.)

2) We had a firepit with a dutch oven full of Chile, to be enjoyed with cornbread, sour cream and cheese on the side, with a hot drink of choice, all self-serve…

3) We taught our guests how to rope a cow dummy…

4) Our guests enjoyed throwing on western chaps, cowboy hats and bandannas, to take pictures around the Western Town…

5) Our guests enjoyed time learning about grooming and training our one BLM Mustang named Desperado…

6) Our guests enjoyed the company of TNC’s incredible Wranglers…

We hoped to make this a true, memorable western experience and I believe we succeeded!

We hope to offer these once a month November, December, January, February and March!

Maximum of 10 people per experience and all must qualify to ride.

Consider staying at the Inn at Fairfield Farm, our beautiful Manor House B&B located on the Marriott Ranch!

Please email [email protected] if you’d like to inquire about creating this experience for your family, for a work group or group of friends

MO’s MOtivational MOnday’s!#tbmakeover#CFCFarmHome#fieldtripfridayMoneigh Moproblems, AKA Mo-mo, is my 7 yr old 2020 hop...
08/23/2021

MO’s MOtivational MOnday’s!

#tbmakeover
#CFCFarmHome
#fieldtripfriday

Moneigh Moproblems, AKA Mo-mo, is my 7 yr old 2020 hopeful for this years Mega-Thoroughbred Makeover in Lexington KY. We plan to compete in Freestyle and Dressage.

So Mo and I went back to the Virginia Horse Center for the Thoroughbred Heritage Horse Show this past weekend. I picked this competition with multiple goals in mind.

1) Hope to make Mo more comfortable with his work ethic at overnight shows

2) Attempt my first Training Level 2 test without getting lost🤣

3) Expose Mo to a bigger venue since there were multiple shows happening at the same time

Results? All great results!!

Mo was fantastic! He was much more focused and kept his composure after spending the night in his stall.

I was thrilled to meet a fellow thoroughbred makeover competitor, and she was so kind and complimentary of Mo’s demeanor and health! (Big thanks to CFC Farm & Home Center for ALWAYS having the Tribute Feeds and Mo’s many supplements available)

I took the opportunity to take Mo in the coliseum during the barrel racing competition, which was loud and fast and made Mo very very excited! (Note to self…get Mo to some western events to just hang out.)😉

And I DID get lost in my first test, 😳but then fixed it the second go round.☺️

But here’s the kicker, Mo placed second and scored a 71% on his first attempt at Training Level 2!

Go Mo-mo!!! But even if we hadn’t have placed or scored well, I was so VERY pleased with Mo’s progress on all levels. Days like this make up for the endless injuries, lost shoes, and all the occasional lunatic Mo-MOments on our roller coaster of a journey together.

❤️

Address

4439 Fiery Run Road
Linden, VA
22642

Telephone

+15403643741

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A little wisdom from one of our ambassador riders Whole-istic Horses - The Natural Connection and Ms. Jean ⬇️
Meet #CFCFarmHome ambassador rider Jean French with Whole-istic Horses - The Natural Connection and Ms. Jean ⬇️
Cleatus the Clydesdale has an announcement: The Natural Connection is now on Instagram! Please follow us for even more pictures and horse love: @naturalconnection_horses
had a wonderful trail ride with Ms Jean this past weekend. had the best horse Chilly, who took good care of me (the unexperienced rider) cant wait to do it again.
We really enjoyed our ride and dinner at the Marriott Ranch yesterday.... Ms Jean, her husband and the wranglers were great, the food and entertainment were as well.
I had a wonderful trail ride at this fantastic barn. As someone who has worked among horses for decades, I don't often find a barn that does public trail rides in a way that is safe, comfortable, and fun for both humans and horses. Jean does and I highly recommend this experience.
If you’re looking to take a trail ride with a professional, knowledgeable, and friendly business, do yourself a favor and spend a couple of hours at the Natural Connection. I was fortunate enough to go out for a ride with Jean - she embodies professionalism and safety. I’ll be back for more riding!
My daughter and I enjoyed the great ride yesterday. Thank you!
You did such an amazing job teaching all us beginners Jean!! We all look great 😀
Another video taken of our riding class with you! Thanks so much 😀
James and I had such a great time at the Marriott Ranch with you. Thanks to you, Kai & Kristen 😀
James and I had such an amazing day today Jean! Excited for tomorrow!