Jillian has been working with horses her entire life. In her early years, she participated in horse competitions in the AQHA, APHA, and Open Stock Horse Association; trained with J.R. Reichert, and trained for Kintzel Paint Horses. In college, she trained and showed for AQHA judge, Jim Dudley. Throughout these early years, she won numerous year-end, high-point awards and futurity classes.
After graduating with her undergraduate degree, Jillian accepted the head training position at Circle L Ranch in Germany, where over the course of two years, she trained client horses, started young stock, and exhibited halter and pleasure horses. While abroad, she won three European National Halter Championships, the Circle L Western Pleasure Futurity, and High Point DQHA Horse of the Year, and trained AQHA World Qualifiers.
On her return to the United States from Germany, Jillian stopped competing horses and entered the Master’s program in the school of Agricultural Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Here she studied equine movement, posture, and muscle development, as well as adult vocational education. Jillian’s research was guided in part by Dr. Hillary Clayton, Dr. Nancy Nicholson, and Dr. Sara Wyche. With their support, Jillian completed her Masters Thesis entitled “Desired Muscular Development in the Neck of the Horse: An Equine Observational Communication Tool and Study”. Additionally, Jillian has spent time with Dr. Deb Bennett studying gross anatomy through the school of Equinology.
Jillian’s deep concern for the health of horses fuels her ongoing study of classical riding and its relationship to sound biomechanics and mental well-being. She continues her riding and in hand education with Manolo Mendez, Stephanie Millham, and Peggy Cummings. Prior to his death in 2016, Jillian studied extensively with Mark Russell.
Jillian has studied equine Osteopathy at the Vluggen Institute. This body of knowledge offers a different perspective aiding Jillian in her approach to horsemanship. It is her conviction that helping riders learn how the horse’s mind and all physical systems of the bodywork in concert, promotes healthy riding and training habits. The benefit of which is freedom of movement.