"Robert and Janet are each wonderful instructors in their own right, and together provide a marvelous balance, and enhanced instruction that provides something greater than the sum of its already-great parts. They provide an instructional environment that feels both safe and challenging. They have an ability to meet the student wherever he or she is, allowing the student to feel acceptance at his or her current level, while at the same time encouraging the student to push their personal envelope. In short, Robert and Janet approach their students in the way they ask the students to approach their horses... with acceptance and empathy combined with an unwavering determination to find the next level of partnership and performance.
I came into the program with a horse who was relatively new to me, and was challenging me on a level I hadn't experienced with any other horse. I was also dealing with fear that had taken on somewhat of a life of its own. That fear, combined with a lack of knowledge of how to handle some of the behaviors my horse was exhibiting, had me stuck, and was taking the fun out of something I loved.
Robert and Janet's program is structured in that there is always a plan, but unstructured in that they are open to dealing with what shows up. They are smart and observant, have helped me notice things that I might not have otherwise, and are generous in sharing their knowledge. They don't do it for you... they help you find it... and celebrate when you do. I have found the atmosphere they have created, including the option of one or more growth-accelerating weeks of learning at their beautiful ranch, to be inspiring, empowering, humbling, enlightening, challenging and fun. In asking their students to commit for a year, they have created a supportive community of like-minded people who are working individually and together to achieve their horsemanship goals. I am eternally grateful for their knowledge, support and friendship."
-Jeanine , WA
"Well, it wasn't what I expected........ The past year has gone in a dramatically different direction than I could have imagined. I really don't have words for it. A year ago, it was all about getting the horse to understand and follow me. In whatever way I felt I should show him. I mean, isn't that how we humans do it?? I couldn't have been more wrong. The Horse Fellowship has shown me how much easier and natural it is to create harmony when we work to understand the horse.
I have tried to "live" the philosophy as it relates to horsemanship, and human interaction. I'm not sure where I would be now if I hadn't met the two of you.
I'm green, real green and I have a lot to learn but I don't consider myself a beginner anymore. I feel at ease with horses and thanks to you I am becoming better and better at reading the horse's thoughts and putting myself in their shoes.
-Bob , WA
"They saying green on green makes black and blue was surely true for us: Z went from having no stop, no go, no turn, no bend, no loading, no manners, and no respect to a yes ma’m-how-can-I-help-you absolute pleasure to ride. I can take Z anywhere over anything with trust and respect. I have tools for directing his feet, his projection, his speed, his attention, and his attitude. I am a stronger rider physically, mentally, and emotionally after working with the Phinneys."
-Laura , WA
"I originally went to Robert and Janet with the idea that I’d just drop in for a lesson or two from time to time. However, the support that I received from them and the dramatic changes in my horse compelled me to commit to something more with them.
When I started with them I thought my horse was pretty nice, but felt pretty self-conscious that I was not a confident rider and my horse was very green. Even after our first lesson, things began to change for my horse and I. It’s been a progression ever since. I think the greatest thing that my horse and I have taken away from working with the Phinneys is that I totally believe in my horse. I can trust her on a loose rein. I can trail-ride with her and I have a load of tools for dealing with situations in case she gets upset. This gives my horse so much more confidence, she is rarely bothered anymore by much of anything. Now I’m not self-conscious, I’m proud of my quiet, trust-worthy horse and of how far she’s come since our first day with Phinneys.
I think if I hadn’t started riding with Phinneys that I’d either hate riding my horse if I ever rode her at all, or I’d have been hurt by now. Thanks to them I enjoy every minute with her. Everything I’ve learned so far from them can be applied to any horse. I’ve begun applying it to my 2 year old colt and now we’re starting him! I know that we can do it safely and positively in a way that builds his confidence and strengthens my relationship with him. This type of horsemanship is safety-oriented, confidence building, and just makes riding such a blast!"
"My experience riding with Robert and Janet Phinney this year has been challenging, joyful and full of mutual accomplishment. What I admire about their approach is that they are truly intrigued by my goals as a rider, and they relish the journey to uncover the abilities that I have inside me to achieve them. Every setback is met with shared determination to overcome, and every accomplishment is met with shared joy regarding the success. This collaborative methodology ends up being not just pure teaching - it results in a true partnership with my horse and I. I have overcome fear, disillusionment, frustration, and loneliness in my riding wit the help of Robert and Janet, as well as gained new horsemanship skills in the areas of balance, collection, speed, roping, groundwork and trust. I would warmly and sincerely recommend The Horse Fellowship to any rider, any age, any horse, and any discipline."
"The most important thing is that they teach people to be safe on and around horses!"
"I appreciate the way that Robert paints a picture in his mind. He tries to give you enough different versions of the task so that at least one of them will stick. Janet comes in behind me and suggests that I tweak something. It creates a whole new dynamic, and I can get it and it comes into place. It’s really amazing the way that they work together. So fun to be around. Very intelligent, and engaging. I come away from each lesson always feeling encouraged, jazzed, ready to go to to the next level."
Here are some words that have been used by others to describe Robert and Janet Phinney; humorous, polite, kind, humble, honest, experienced, sensitivity to people and horses, kindness, compassion, passion, engaging, diligent and dedicated.