Kristin Berkery

Kristin is a digital marketing expert, artist, and voiceover talent in Sacramento, California, with a life-long passion for horses. In her spare time she's active with her daughter and son. See Kristin's marketing agency and LinkedIn profile.

Confidence Creation with Horses & Beyond

by Hannah Freeman

My specialty is helping horse lovers around the world do amazing things, such as escape from the rat race, organise their lives to find more time to do the things that make them truly happy. They’re able to release anxieties and frustrations while achieving a purposeful life centered around family, career, and their love of horses – allowing them more positivity, glowing confidence, fulfilment, and optimism for the future.

This is my story…

Hannah Freeman

Hannah Freeman and Max

For me, horses have always been an important part of my life. I love nothing more than the company of a horse. They have so much to teach you, if you listen carefully. Horses for me are far more than a hobby – it’s a lifestyle and I cannot imagine being without them. Horses bring out my confidence and have given me many wonderful memories. They are part of who I am.

But I was not one of those kids who had ponies from an early age. My independent streak was always present. As soon as I was old enough (about 10), I worked at a small riding school, in all weather, 365 days of the year, in return for free rides.

Then at 19 I went to agricultural college to study horses. Many of my fellow students had owned and ridden their own ponies since they were three. But I was determined not to let my lack of experience hold me back, so I took the opportunity to learn as much as I could. I rode lots of different horses from native ponies to ex-race horses, I learnt dressage, show jumping, equitation, equine anatomy, and physiology, teaching and, best of all, true independence on a horse.

For many years I worked as groom. I was always extremely fit and had a fabulous sun tan in the summer. I rode lots of horses, and being quite small and in those days very light weight, I got to ride children’s ponies, youngsters, point to pointers. I had to ride horses that were difficult and needed a lot of understanding and patience. The ones that no one else wanted to ride due to near-death experiences… you could call it character building!

Hannah and her Welsh Section D

Hannah and her Welsh Section D, Max

I bought my first horse when I was 31 with my own money (and a little help from the passing of my Grandma). After so many years of looking after other peoples horses, I was the proud owner of Max, a very handsome Welsh Section D.

So what happened in my life that gave me confidence with horses and riding, and how has it changed me?

I have not always been a confident rider – overcoming my confidence issues has made me a significantly more confident person in general. Horses have often made me test my ‘confidence muscle.’ I have lived through many tricky rides, naughty horses in the show ring, and a fair few ‘hair-em scare-em’ rides. I survived to tell the tale and I am a stronger person because of it.

Along the way I have often noticed how other people struggle with their nerves when it comes to horses and riding that stop them from enjoying horses. Often it’s experienced riders who have, for whatever reason, lost their confidence, or sometimes its people who have come to horses later in life but found that it’s not as easy as it looks.

These are such common problems and cannot be dealt with simply by saying, “Oh pull yourself together!” Because the problem lies at a deeper level than most people realise.

Many feel embarrassed about it or just wish there was some way to train themselves to be more confident.

Guess what… there is!

We horsey people spend a lot of money in pursuit of our horses, not to mention time and energy, blood, sweat, and tears. So I think you will agree… it’s worthwhile doing something about the things that trouble you, get in the way of your success, keep you awake at night, and cause unnecessary stress.

Riding horses helped my confidence, from a shy introvert to a confident woman ready to take on anything that life throws at me… because of the way I faced those issues.

I began by helping friends and progressed to offering my coaching services professionally. I started The Confident Rider Project because I felt a need to help other riders like myself get more from their horses and release those limitations that are keeping them stuck, not just with horses, but with all aspects of life.

Here are some examples of my success stories… some are horsey and some are not, although horses are an intrinsic part of my life and they are never far from my thoughts…

I moved countries in search of a better life for me and my family (my two daughters and partner). Four years ago we decided to move to Bulgaria… we took a van load of our belongings, sold or gave away the rest, and bought a house with land. Having our own small holding has been a lifelong dream, and we did it!

Hannah and her Welsh Section D, Max

Hannah and Max

Part of the reason for this move was to have my horses at home – another lifelong dream.

I have inspired many clients to ride their horses and feel happy about it. One lady posted a video on Facebook of her laughing and giggling whilst cantering along through the woods. Such an amazing achievement after she had not ridden for six months.

My recent client has had a major up-level in her life after shifting her limiting beliefs and realising that she was capable of far more than she ever thought possible. She had big dreams and ambitions, such as spending more time with her horses and keeping them at home. She is now well on her way to building her barn as she imagined it would be and her horses will have a cosy new home by the time next winter falls.

I use my horsey experience and powerful coaching techniques and my ‘glass half full’ attitude to life to help horse lovers all over the world to discover and create their own confidence and courage – with the consequences of lasting positive change in their lives.

Horses have taken me through my highest highs and lowest lows in life. It’s the one thing that I have consistently done up to this day. Riding and being with horses is an unbroken passion that never gets less for me.

Visit my website at The Confident Rider Project. My aim is to help people live life on their terms and provide resources and solutions for all aspects of life for horse lovers.

Farriers, Hoof Care & Your Horse: Q&A with Bryan Farcus

“A hoof pick a day can keep the doctor away.”

by Keith Templeton

Keith Templeton edits The Farrier Guide to education and employment, a resource for farriers that features a worldwide directory of horseshoeing schools, informative guides to finding the right school and working as a farrier as well as interviews with experienced farriers.

Photo by Paulina Kozlowska

Photo by Paulina Kozlowska

With more than 25 years of experience horseshoeing, teaching, and riding, Bryan Farcus educates horse owners around the country through regular hoof care demonstrations and horse clinics. The Farrier Guide caught up with Farcus to ask him about the basics of hoof care and how horses and owners benefit from the services of a farrier.

What does a farrier do?
Today’s farrier is not necessarily your granddaddy’s blacksmith. One main reason for this is that the use of our modern day horses is one of recreation, rather than one of work. Back in the day, to shoe a horse meant that you had to produce many of the tools and shoes used from scratch. To be a farrier (shoer of the horse), you had to also be a metal/iron working specialist.

What is a farrier?

by Keith Templeton

Keith Templeton edits The Farrier Guide for Education and Employment, a resource for farriers that features a worldwide directory of farrier schools as well as education and employment guides.

Horse in a field

Photo by joeymc86

What is a Farrier?
A farrier is a specialist who cares for horse’s feet and smiths horseshoes. The term “farrier” comes from the Latin word “ferrarius,” which means “of iron” or “blacksmith.” The etymology of the word explains why farriers are confused for blacksmiths, which they are not. Centuries ago, the village blacksmith would make items out of iron, including horseshoes, and because workers were not as specialized as they are today, the blacksmiths would also be the ones to apply those shoes to the horses.

Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost History of the World’s Smartest Horse

Was Beautiful Jim Key a hoax or the real thing? No one was ever able to prove the act was fake. I think it might be an authentic story.

by Kristin Berkery

More than simply the biography of an unusual sideshow act, Beautiful Jim Key by Mim Eichler Rivas takes a thorough look at American history from before the Civil War to the mid-20th century, examining race relations, World’s Fair and exposition history, and the development of the humane movement. The story centers around the “Arabian-Hambletonian educated horse” Beautiful Jim Key, his breeder William Key, who was a business-savvy former slave, and their promoter, Albert Rogers, a privileged young New Yorker who aspired to being a philanthropist.

A VIP pass to one of Beautiful Jim Key’s performances at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
From Beautiful Jim Key by Mim Eichler Rivas


The Humane Movement Goes to Hollywood to Protect Horses

by Kristin Berkery

At the turn of the 20th century, horses were often viewed as unfeeling, disposable animals. They were the means to an end — useful for transporting people and goods, producing crops, and in Hollywood, for adding dramatic flair to movies. Especially on early movie sets, there was little regard for horses’ fates.

These stories and many more about horses on film can be found in Hollywood Hoofbeats by Petrine Day Mitchum

Made in 1936, The Charge of the Light Brigade was one of the first movies to raise awareness of horses’ treatment in the film industry. Actor Errol Flynn was appalled and spoke out when he saw several horses (one report says 25 or more) die or be destroyed as a result of the epic battle scene. To make it appear that the horses and riders were shot by enemy fire, the filmmakers rigged wires to trip the horses while they were running at full speed. Some horses broke their necks and died instantly while others broke legs and were euthanized.