My Training Program
Camp Kelly for Horses
Camp Kelly focuses on foundation training for ponies, horses and wayward mares out of our little boarding school at Looking Glass Farm.
Classes are small. Kelly only takes 5 horses per term. All horses must stay a minimum of 2 months. Depending on the progress at that point, owner and Kelly can decide to extend the stay.
Frequent Parent Questions:
What will my horse learn?
First, we focus on everyone learning their ground manners. As Pat told me once, you must teach them to be good citizens first.
Brief Curriculum Overview:
All Campers will learn:
- to respect the human’s space (i.e. not smush people or run over them for fun or out of fear). Therefore, they will learn to lead safely, back out of the handler’s space and be respectful during turnout.
- learn to “catch” the human. This avoids hours of begging, chasing and then more begging to get your horse to come to you.
- Basics online: backing, moving the shoulders over and hindquarters so handler can easily gain control or horse. Circling, sending to obstacles to help horse’s confidence.
Pony Pre K:
Pony Pre K is for baby horses (1 plus) that know almost zero. They learn all of the above, as well as how to pick up their feet, behave for the farrier and vet, tie, load nicely in the trailer, clipping prep, begin pre-saddle prep including cinch placement, leaning to pony from a saddle horse, long lining and accepting the bit. All Pre K Campers go on field trips to get confident with new places. We travel to obstacles courses, trails and visit shows to see how the big ponies do it.
All Kelly Kindergarten Campers are horses ready to be backed. These horses are 2 plus. They do ALL of the above as well as: accepting the rider as a friend and leader, learn stand at the mounting block and not go forward until you ask. They will also learn to turn, walk/trot/canter/ trail ride, basic arena work. I do require that they have a vet’s permission to be started.
Difficult Dudes and Wayward Mare Program
Kelly often gets the calls,
“your my last ditch efforts, if you cannot fix him, then he/she will just live in the pasture forever.”
Or: “my horse is trying to kill me”
These are horses that have been pretty messed up one way or the other. I take these horses after a weekend evaluation to see if I am the right person to help them. If I am not, I have a network of trainers that can.
Other Common Questions:
Will you let me know how my little one is doing?
Of course- I send weekly videos, pictures, and often your little one is the star on my facebook page that day. Some of my training horses literally develop their own followings on facebook- Finn the Friesian is particularly popular at the moment!
Can I come and visit?
Absolutely! I have a barn apartment for visiting parents. All parents are highly encouraged to get train with me and your horse together so that you will have a great partnership!
How much is tuition?
Full Tuition which includes at least 5 sessions a week, two meals a day, lunch hay and snack is $1100. Coolstance feed, free choice minerals, and high quality coastal are fed. If parents have special requirements, they are more than welcome to send them with different feed and hay. Bedding for stalls is not included. Kelly is happy to pick up anything at the Pony Grocery Store in town- it just must be prepaid J I will also send you a school supply list that every horse needs to bring- equipment, a bag of treats to share with their friends.
Great! When can I send them?
Currently, there is a waiting list. I have no openings until June. I am usually booked up months ahead of time, so please reserve your spot by contacting me. I will send you my contract and will need a $150 deposit to hold your pony’s place.
Once your horse’s foundation is firmly in place, I also offer jumping training. I will teach your horse to become confident with jumping and teach them to “hunt the jump.” This is first taught online, then under saddle and finally at liberty (no strings attached in a round pen as well as in a big open space!)
After the foundation, we can start making it more fun by adding obstacles. Horses will learn to navigate water, ditches, banks, tarps, cowboy curtains, stepping on and over things, and an introduction to cows. They will also meet bikes, carriages, pigs, donkeys and other horse eating monsters that will soon become their best friends!
This course will prepare them to be a solid trail horse as well as a horse ready for obstacle challenges in the show ring.
Good Citizen Training for Dressage and Eventing horses
In this training, I focus on developing a calm, confident horse that can handle whatever the show ring throws at him. We also work on trailer loading to make sure your horse is calm and cool when you get there! They will also learn to tie well, so you don’t have to worry at the show about that, either.
They also learn to pick you up at the mounting block (nobody will need to hold your horse!). They will stand until you are ready to go forward. Under saddle, they will be calm and forward and ready to do their job.
Meet the Students
(Horsey that is)
I have had a variety of training horses, from 2 year old paints, to 17 hand Friesians most recently! I do not just training eventing or show horses. The horses that come to me generally have had a behavior that another trainer could not get thru…
6 year old Friesian
Finn is one of my greatest success stories. Finn is a Friesian. Honestly, I almost did not take him into training. Friesians can be very destructive, and I have had many a fence bulldozed by them! As draft crosses they can be super pushy, but on the other hand, they can also be pretty hot- which is often not a great combo.
Finn also had a story behind him. He came to the States a couple of years ago from Holland and went through several trainers who said he was not safe to ride. His owner then sent him to a trainer to learn to drive- when he flunked out of that and was sent home, she had no idea what to do with him. Then she found me.
I was curious about Finn and love a challenge, so I took him into training. I could see immediately why people were intimidated by him- he is BIG. He is also what we call in Parelli a Right Brained Introvert- which means he can be explosive. When he came to me, he was very nervous, but just froze. I knew I had to keep him present with me. I spent a month on the ground with him and created a strong bond of rapport and respect. Buckley helped me help him to get more confident under saddle by ponying him all over my trails and roads. After one month, I was riding him. We are now building his confidence every day on the ground and in the saddle!
6 year old OTTB
Topper is a 6 year old OTTB that was passed through a couple of trainers til was sold to his current owner. When she first bought him, he was jumping a hunt course confidently. Within a few months, things started to deteriorate and Topper started bucking. He bucked his owner off over 30 times at the mounting block. There was something about it that set him off.
They had been training with a cowboy for 6 months before they came to me….with no success. They could not get on him. Topper came to my place and within a week I was riding him. Two months later he is hitting the trail, walk, trot and cantering as well as jumping.
Nothing that I did with him was magic- just like Finn, he was unconfident. When a horse starts to lose their confidence about one thing, like a row of dominoes, they begin to lose their confidence around everything. It did not take long for me to gain his confidence on the ground, and by using a lot of release there and in the saddle, he learned that I was not going to put pressure on him. I taught him how to seek the release. By being consistent at letting him know it was there and when it would happen, he grew confident and trusting.
2 year old Paint Mare
Before Apache came to my farm for training, her and her owner had been taking lessons with me. We realized, though, that Apache really needed to be taken out of her herd (which was a group of rowdy geldings) and come to my herd.
Horses learn from each other. Apache- a two year old- was developing some pretty negative patterns of behavior. She needed to come to boot camp which we told her was “Kamp Kelly.”
Apache’s main issue is that when she would get on adrenalin she would lose her mind. She could not come down. This was online and under saddle. Her owner, a confident rider with her other horses, was now not so confident with Apache. I needed to break the cycle.
When Apache came to me, my horses first let her know that running around in the pasture and acting spoiled isn’t a great idea….you get kicked down the herd so you don’t get many perks. Buckley really put her in her place ponying her. She was used to pushing on other horses and not being respectful. The first time I ponyed her off of him, he immediately laid his ears back at her and gave her THE LOOK. She backed up, dropped her head, licked and chewed and said, yes sir. It was all over after that.
I taught Apache online how to relax. I gave her a routine. I taught her how to stretch online which not online helped her topline, but it helped her to mentally relax. I just transferred this to the saddle.
3 year old Westphalian Mare
Emi came to me to be started. She had some pretty negative behaviors, however, that needed to be solved first.
She reared, she struck out, and she double barreled. I had to work with her from the other side of the fence for the first week. I then ponyed her off of Buckley who really let her know how to behave….
Emi is what we call a Left Brained Introvert. She is clever, a bit lazy, very, very food motivated and obstinate. She wants to know what is in it for her before she does anything….
I had to first let Emi know, by claiming my space with the help of Buckley, that I was the leader. I could move Buckley’s feet AND her feet where I wanted them. I was the Alpha, Buckley was #2 and she was definitely #3.
Once we established that and I had her working off the ground confidently, she was one of the easiest horses I ever started under saddle!
from happy horse owners!
“Kelly is an outstanding trainer. She takes the time and has the patience to find out exactly what your horse needs. No ‘one size fits all’ methods. Her love for horses really shines through even when working with problem sassy mares. I would highly recommend her to anyone who wants to have a better relationship with their horse.“
Amanda Russell Latham
“Apache is a different horse since returning from Camp Kelly. She is calm and a joy to ride. She no longer freaks out when she gets nervous. She has excellent ground manners and is a pleasure to ride on the trails. She is one of my favorite horses to ride now. Apache is relaxed from beginning to end now and no longer makes me nervous while riding her. I know she won’t explode on me she just stops and asks a question now… she’s the best mare.“
“Kelly Patterson is a wonderful person and awesome trainer! She is very patient and kind, and never gets upset. She has worked with all 3 of my Friesian mares who rage in age from 2-15 years old. I love that she has a goal for each lesson, and also incorporates my requests for the lesson that day. She is extremely reliable and professional. She is flexible to reschedule any lesson that cancels due to weather.
I am the owner of Top Vision, he is a 6 year old, 16.2 off the track thoroughbred. I am going to tell you a little bit about his story and what Kelly has done to help not only him, but me.
I bought Topper as a 4 year old from an eventing barn in Aiken. He had been pulled off the track as a 3 year old and put straight into training as an eventing prospect. He was born and raced in Ohio then went to NY for his post track training. His first training off the track was in dressage but shortly after that he was sent to a trainer in Aiken to work on his cross country. When I went to try him he was doing novice level eventing and seemed like a lovely horse. He was definitely sensitive, but there is nothing wrong with that. Although he was being trained for eventing, I knew he belonged in the Hunter ring.
I bought him and had decent rides on him until about a month in. I would go to mount at the block and he would lose it. Bucking/bolting and every time I hit the ground hard. Ever since then, I have had to have people hold him at the mounting block for me in order to get on because he would try to buck/bolt every time. This was his main place of trouble, but he occasionally would randomly explode and do the same thing away from the mounting block. After trying everything I could on my own: x rays, massage therapy, chiropractic, custom saddle, ulcer treatment; I decided this was not pain and he needed someone to fix his attitude because I had had enough. I started training with a “cowboy.” After six months of groundwork, we were no closer to sitting on his back.
I turned to Kelly, who had been recommended by a close friend of mine. Kelly was my last option before I gave this unruly horse away as a pasture pet. She knew he had issues from the moment she met him but assured me he was not the worst she had seen and that he was most likely fixable. She sent me messages almost every day with his progress and shortly after he first arrived, she was getting on him with almost no issues. Her combination of rewards and natural horsemanship training methods was the recipe he needed. She took her time with him, only moving forward when he gave her the go ahead. After almost two months now he is letting people get on him just fine and most of his other anxieties have shrunk as well. He is much more tolerant of stuff than he once was. I recently went to see him to get her help on my side of the partnership and she made sure I felt comfortable and reassured me that he was a very good boy. The whole experience was very fulfiling and I am excited for my future with this horse as now I finally feel like we actually have a good chance together. “
“I was introduced to Kelly Sigler-Patterson, Trainer and Owner of Looking Glass Farms about 9 months ago by a dear friend Jennifer Stoudemire, Dream Riders Head Riding Instructor.
I have a 13-year-old Thoroughbred mare named Runaway Beauty. Beauty had been on a brood mare farm in Lexington, KY for about 10 years. She came to live at her forever home around July of 2018.
Beauty is a sweet girl but needed to be restarted. We were having problems with a bit for her and standing still while being mounted along with other little issues.
Kelly method of training is Natural Horsemanship, which I really liked and wanted to learn. Kelly advise me of what equipment that was needed and pointed me in direction on where to purchase. Our first lesson was on the 7 games, which we learned just the first 3 or 4. It was on our second lesson, with a $10.00 bit Kelly told me to purchase, that Kelly had Beauty taking the bit beautifully. I think you could have pulled my mouth off the ground when I saw her bridle Beauty. I had gone though several bits and even paid $100.00 for a bit, that did not work.
After about 3 months of learning and working with Beauty on the seven games, we decided that Beauty needed to go to Kelly’s Wayward Mare Program. Before she went Beauty did not like to stand at mounting block nor did she like to jump.
However, after 3 months at Kelly’s program, Beauty has learned to stand at mounting block and jump. In fact, Beauty loves to jump now.
I wish I had meet Kelly years ago. I have learned so much from her. Just watching her work with the horse at her farm over the past 3 months has been amazing.
Thank you, Kelly!”
“All trainers are NOT created equal. Unlike other horse trainers, Kelly trains humans how to interact with their horses. I first called Kelly because I was having some safety issues with my mothers horse, Jake and I really wanted some riding lessons. I was just getting back into horse ownership after a 15 year break and I realized I needed help and that this wasn’t as easy as I remembered. I was scared that something bad would happen.
Our goal is to have good, safe and fun to ride horses and unfortunately our horses were getting unsafer by the day. This had to stop and Kelly showed us how to regain respect from our small herd. We do this thru natural horsemanship techniques and playing some fun and easy games that all of the horses already know – it’s their language after all.
I had recently worked with two different trainers who just weren’t effective and I felt like I was wasting my time and money. Kelly is different. Her methods have empowered me to be brave with my horse, to feel more confident in and out of the saddle and make learning with my horse fun. Unlike other trainers, we don’t lunge the horse to make them tired, we never are mean to our horses (one trainer hit them in the face because he could).
Our horses have learned to stand at the mounting block, I have learned the importance of pre flight checks before hitting the trails. Everything we do on the ground and playing with our horses makes them safer and more respectful when we get on their backs. I’ve noticed a difference in my horses confidence and my own.
Asking Kelly for her help was one of the best decisions and investments I’ve made in myself and my horses. I don’t have fancy horses, I just have a passion for learning and our horses now have a partnership with us and love to be around us.”
“I’ve been using Kelly Patterson to help me with my horse Rio. Rio threw me off in panic two years ago. He has always been a fractious horse and a bolter. I was at a loss as to what to do. I had owned Rio now for three years and had been through multiple trainers. When I moved to South Carolina in Nov, I found Kelly. She was certified trainer as a through Pat Parelli, and I felt she would be the best to help me with my horse.
I’ve now worked with Kelly for 6 sessions and I can see a vast improvement in Rio. I train Rio myself but I wasn’t sure how to approach certain things and my progress was very slow. I am actually riding Rio again. I never thought I would ride him again since the time he threw me. We are learning how to find the way to get him back to calm when he becomes too worried and also that I needed to become “bigger” and “louder” in my action when he was distracted and his attention was off of me. I would have never attempted to ride Rio were it not for the confidence I am gaining through working with Kelly. We still have a way to go and training never actually stops throughout a horse’s life. But can say, I would have NEVER gotten back on this horse without Kelly’s guidance.
I know that if I put him at her facility for a month he would progress much faster. I feel she is completely competent and knowledgeable and I would trust her implicitly with my horse.”
Jennifer Stoudemire and Simba
“I am so blessed to have met Kelly; she has taken my horsemanship and interaction with horses to a whole new level. I met Kelly when I was at a loss with “Simba”, one of my therapeutic riding programs special horses. Simba had developed fear and spookiness that I could not figure out. I had exhausted all of my traditional training efforts to no avail along with exploring saddle fit and vet exams. I saw Kelly’s event post for her obstacle confidence clinic in February of 2019. I was hopeful to find some help for Simba there. Not only did I find Simba help, my new journey began as well. I started taking consistent lessons with Kelly which opened up a whole new world for me. Kelly guides me through understanding the psychology of each horse I’m working with and what approach will help them confidently excel in their training. I have learned that horses need different strategies, which is why my traditional methods weren’t working for our right brained introvert Simba. My approach to handling horses and riding has completely changed. I would never have thought I would want to have the goal of working my horses at liberty and riding bridless, but I do now. Thanks to Kelly my therapeutic riding program “Dream Riders” has happy horses that are growing in their confidence with their jobs and finding pleasure doing it. I have found a joy I haven’t had with horses since I was a little girl; it’s a peaceful kind of satisfaction. I am excited to continue on with my journey, there’s so much more to learn and experience!“