A Glimpse into Summer Life on the Ranch Part III
Copyright 2015, Anne E. M. Van Gilson, all international rights reserved. No part of this may be used, transmitted, shared or quoted in any format without express written permission of the copyright owner.
Above the Sun Ranch is a 140 acre ranch situated on small mountains and on rolling hills and so it’s not just about the excellent ground of the arena and the excellent training that leads to champions. There are challenging trails in the woods, and paths in the fields and this means that any horse boarding here or trained here is in excellent shape both physically and mentally.
“I love legging up my horse here”, the young 9th grade rider explains. Legging up is a term to mean getting a horse in shape through proper warming up, exercise, and cooling down. “And I board my horses here because I know that I can train with one of the best trainers in Pennsylvania”, she continued.
Amy Stoltzfus has been on horseback since she was 2 years old and has been training horses herself and giving lessons all her young life. At 26, she now owns this ranch where she grew up, and she has two young girls of her own who share her passion for riding.
In the wintertime, Amy moves to Montana and then to Arizona for 9 weeks of a very intense barrel racing season. For Amy, this includes living out of her horse trailer while on the road, herself working with and helping to train horses owned by preeminent, nationally ranked barrel racing women as well as competing on her own horses in national level barrel races and ‘futurities’.
When she returns back to her own ranch in February, she hauls back prospects to train. Later in the Spring, her husband hauls back out West and brings back even more young prospects, all with impeccable barrel racing bloodlines.
“This life is very exciting for all of us and for me especially,” Amy explains. “My mind is constantly thinking of each and every horse and I’m thinking of each and every client of mine who has dreams of their own. I often know that one of my horses is going to make an excellent horse for one of my clients. It’s just wonderful to see a long time client or a new client get onto a horse and make that connection with the horse that I’ve trained,” she says.
Amy’s techniques for training horses and young clients are somewhat unique and always start with a positive and relaxed foundation for both horse and rider. These techniques are especially true for her adult clients. Amy currently works with clients aged 6-65; all compete in regional, state and national barrel races.
“I’ve really appreciated how Amy has pushed me to realize limits I had set for myself because I was either scared or I never knew my potential,” says one adult client who calls herself a member of the “40+ club” (clients over the age of 40). “I’m running barrel times that are exciting and completely thrilling,” she continues, almost breathless with excitement. Working with Amy for nearly 7 years, this is a client who has purchased two of her horses from Amy.
Whatever the reasons for a client who wants to barrel race, Amy enjoys teaching clients of all levels, as long as they have the dedication and passion for their horsemanship.
And at Above the Sun Ranch, it’s all about encouraging clients to “Dream Big.”