By Eli Galligan, Intern Reporter
Carl and Tammy Bledsoe, Pickens County horse trainers, recently participated in two notable horse expos as featured clinicians. They attended Horseworld Expo in Pennsylvania, an Equine Affaire Expo in Ohio, and are planning to attend another Equine Affaire based in Massachusetts this November.
Carl Bledsoe has a background in show horse training, but now specializes in gaited breeds and can train for any discipline. Gaited horse breeds are known for their ability to move each leg independently, allowing them to conserve energy and often have a “smoother” walk than non-gaited horse breeds. Because of his early exposure, he grew incredibly comfortable with horse training techniques that are both unethical and ineffective.
Carl said his wife Tammy Bledsoe’s critical eye towards the horse training world has shaped him for the better.
“She was thrown into the horse world, and she knew something wasn’t right because a lot of the training methods had to be done when there were less people around,” said Carl.
Because Tammy didn’t grow up in the horse world, she raises an important point about how people become accustomed to familiarity. Often times, such as in Carl’s case, it takes an outsider to bring light to the blind spots in our lives.
“You do what you know. Carl grew up in this world,” Tammy said.
Carl and Tammy work together as a pair, with their message continuing to bring awareness to the importance of focusing on the needs of the horse first, and advocating for gaited horse breeds.
“They are very misunderstood. They can do anything any other breed can do. But not every breed can do what they do.” said Carl.
Along the way, Carl has learned a lot about both human and animal psychology. The things he has learned better enables him to help people to train their horses.
“If you have fear, anxiety, or hate in your heart, the horse will unapologetically give that back.” Carl said.
Because of their all-accepting approach, they’re able to communicate in a way that leaves a lasting imprint on horse trainers, and in turn, the horses.
“I’ve learned to recognize what’s going on in the person through the horse, because the horse is the biggest display of who you are,” Carl said.
Above all, Carl’s is a story of acceptance and tolerance of those who differ from us.
“Horses don’t care what you look like. Why should I?” he said.
Tammy said the changes he’s made within the horse world have positively rippled into his relationships with people.
“He used to approach everyone with an arrogance. Now he can better listen to people.” said Tammy.
Although based in Pickens County, Carl and Tammy have impressively opened the eyes and touched the hearts of people across the country.
“It just goes to show you that stepping up and doing the right thing can only be beneficial.” said Tammy.
Carl would like to credit his wife Tammy, and his horse, Jazzy.
“He has been a rock star. He shows up to everywhere we take him, and more than does his part,” said Carl. He would also like to thank his sponsorships; Mountain Saddlery, Triple Crown Feed, and Allegany.
“I made up my mind that I was gonna do better. Anyone can do something different and better,” said Carl. We can all learn from the impact Carl and Tammy continue to make in the horse training world.