Nicole Churilla is a Best Horse Practices Summit steering committee member. She trains and teaches horsemanship and riding in Ohio. Nicole recently attended a weeklong, intensive class offered by Amy Skinner in Rougemont, North Carolina.
I heard about Amy Skinner for the first time at the Best Horse Practices Summit in October, 2019. Partnering with Katrin Silva, Skinner presented on using the classical seat. I remember recognizing some of the content from the German Calvary Manual. From that moment on, I knew that Amy had insightful information to share.
From October to January, I looked forward to her Facebook posts. Amy’s outspoken approach to horsemanship was resonating with me. When Amy shared in January 2020 that she was planning on hosting an intensive class, I jumped on it immediately. Eight months ahead of time!
This August, I flew to Raleigh, North Carolina ,and began Amy Skinner’s class the following day. I immediately felt very welcome. Five of us participated and were instructed by Skinner and her husband, Travis. We each came from different walks of life, with different expectations and various struggles. I learned just as much from the other participants as I did from Amy’s class.
Learning horsemanship with others allows for opportunity to communicate about different practices, goals, and challenges. Due to the nature of my work, where I train horses or teach clients all day, it was beneficial to me to be instructed by Amy and watch the others be instructed.
Amy’s approach is clear-cut and crisp. She is easy to understand and fun to be around. She approaches each student as an individual and encourages autonomy. She has a cause-and-effect approach and I always felt comfortable to practice what she was teaching and demonstrating. It is obvious that she teaches horsemanship from a place that makes biomechanical sense, something I appreciated.
I expected to learn horsemanship on another level during Amy’s class. I felt like I had scratched the surface of many advanced concepts, but had yet to achieve a better understanding. Amy’s class definitely helped me more deeply understand riding and in-hand concepts. I loved the content of the class work and the hands-on activities.
Amy did many demonstrations that were the first time I really understood what “feel” means. Feel is this mysterious concept that I could never seem to grasp. Amy did a great job of helping me feel the “feel.”
I am forever grateful that I took Amy Skinner’s intensive class and would suggest it to anyone looking to further their horsemanship.