We were invited to shows and performed all over the east coast. At 21 I worked at an equine dinner theatre in Delavan WI. called The Dancing Horses Theatre for 6 months. There I learned more about and performed in dressage, rosin back/vaulting, drill riding, and aerial. At 22 I went to Sarasota FL. and worked for Desiree Herrmann at Prospect Stable as the assistant trainer. There I was privileged enough to ride some wonderful Andalusians and Frisians who really helped to fine tune my dressage. The barn evolved into a Friesian driving barn, we showed in the pleasure driving world- in pairs, single, tandem, four in hand and by the time I left- two years later- we had moved up to coaching. At 24 I moved to Jay FL. to Bit-N-Heaven stables. A Gypsy Vanner breeding farm, where I was trainer and manager of 15 Gypsies. I got back into teaching lessons and bringing horses in for training. The most wonderful part about this job was I was allowed to teach the yearlings whatever I thought they would excell at. In 8 months the 5 yearlings drove single and pair, knew how to bow, laydown, sit, do liberty and were broke to ride. Two of the mares, Carry and Deidra I roman rode and they also both rode bridleless.

I started with horses when I was 9 when my parents got me lessons in natural horsemanship. When I was 10 they bought me my first horse. She was an 11yo Appaloosa mare named Indian Summer. Summer was the most perfect horse anyone could have chosen for a 9 year old kid who didn’t know anything but thought they knew everything. A different horse and I would probably be in a wheelchair by now. I was also homeschooled and this allowed me to devote all my time to running about barefoot in the pastures. As things happen we went from one horse to five horses by the time I was 15. I started teaching lessons to my friends and other homeschoolers. We met some great people who let me barrel race their horses, Jake and Ali. I became fascinated with equestrian vaulting and convinced my parents to let me buy a surcingle, I started hosting shows with my students where we would dress up in all sorts of costumes and vault, joust, shoot a bow, and all manner of things to music for all the parents and friends. I volunteered at a therapeutic riding stable for 7 years.


About,  

I started training other people's horses when I was 16. I learned to drive from Linda Thomas and her amazing team of Halflingers. I spent a lot of time working with rescue horses for Changing Fates Equine Rescue. I showed in English pleasure, jumping and dressage. I started trying to trim my own horses when I was about 16, and slowly fell in love with yet another aspect of the horse. At 18 I was privileged enough to intern with stunt man and trick rider Tommie Turvey in Brooksville FL. There I learned most of what I know about trick training, liberty and roman riding. When I returned to the shore I began training my first roman riding team, Lady Di and Desert Skye, an Arabian and a Paint horse. What a team they were.


Bridleless and Bareback
Carry, 3yo Gypsy Vanner mare at 8 months of training. Bred my Mike Nenni at Bit-N-Heaven Stables.

Testimonies....

  1. Linda Thomas~
    What I love about Kirsten is that she teaches with positive reinforcement for both the horse and rider. I have never seen someone who so quickly understood horses and not only 'trained them' but made them want to do their job (s). Personally I have known Kirsten for over five years and have had her train my Haflinger and assist in my commercial carriage business. Now I enjoy watching her as she shares her vast skills in clinics and performances, including: dressage, vaulting, trick training, and carriage driving. She is a true professional, talented, and a gift to the horse world.
  2. Megan Pontious~
    Kirsten has been a huge help retraining my American Shetland pony. Who came to me very skittish and apprehensive. She is helping me not only break through his trust issues, but also teaching me to train him to drive and to train him to do tricks. He’s a completely different pony since we started working with her! My five year old daughter also takes vaulting lessons from Kirsten. Seeing her confidence and ability grow has been great! Katy loves Kirsten and her horses, and asks me every day if she has a lesson today. She is always very excited when I say, “Yes!”
  1. Karen Speake~
    Kirsten Willey has help Changing Fates Equine Rescue of DE complete their mission with several horses. CFERD is a 501 © 3 equine rescue dedicated to locating abused and neglected equines and rescuing, rehabilitating, retraining and rehoming these equines. It is also our mission to provide a sanctuary for those horses that are not suitable for adoption. We had several horses that had been in our program for a long time. Kirsten trained and worked with those horses until they reached their full potential. She was able to showcase these horses and helped us help them find their forever homes. We have referred several adopters to Kirsten as well. From giving riding lessons, trick riding lesson and helping horses reach their full potential, Kirsten has it all covered!
  2. Lyn Hickman~
    I was lucky to have met Kirsten at the start of her professional equestrian life. She was only 19 but already in command of her riding and her horses, both her clients and her own. Kirsten is a superb athlete from her dance and gymnastic training. Her fluidity and body control transfers to her great riding ability. Her obvious love and understanding of horses is reflected in the respect they award her. She was riding mostly green horses and getting them started under saddle, when i first met her. She also was doing self taught trick riding and had done a couple of demonstrations and shows. I knew she was just what I needed for my young mare. My mare Rose is big , a Friesian Sport horse, bossy and spooky, and had only been ridden a few times. Kirsten and Rose did great together right from the start, and Roses confidence grew. With some professional dressage training, it wasn't long before they were in a show together . In the few years I worked with Kirsten she learned and improved constantly adding to her vast tool box of skills. She understands the nuances and details of communication from rider to horse and horse to rider, whether she is doing dressage, driving a team of 4 carriage horses, or galloping bareback through the country side. Best of all the horses she works with respect her, love her, feel safe and they learn.