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JoAnn Keller, OTD, OTR/L, CHT I have a confession to make: I have a horse. Some of you know that, most of you don’t because I don’t talk about it very much at work. I’ve owned, ridden, and trained at least one horse for most of my life. When I was about five years old, my siblings and I (with support of our parents) broke open our piggy banks and took an ice cream bucket of change and dollar bills to my babysitter to buy her horse when they were moving to the city. I “got the bug”, and haven’t been able to escape it!

Photo By: Amy Enderle

It’s gone from being a slightly crazy hobby to being a grand passion. I love the power and freedom that comes with galloping on horseback. I love the process of taking a young horse who doesn’t know much (and might even be somewhat dangerous!) and teaching it to do new and increasingly complicated things, with ever-more subtle cues. I love the smell of hay, shavings, and horse and the feel of their breath when I lean in close to scratch their face or neck. I love hearing a gentle nicker when I enter the barn and call their names. My current horse is Olievia. She’s a Holsteiner/Thoroughbred cross, built for jumping and dressage (like ballet for horses or the compulsories in figure skating!). She’s 18 years old and has been with me for the last 12 years. I am so grateful to be part of her journey, and to have her be part of mine. You might see more of us as a pair in upcoming newsletters!

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