Your human facilitator is Taylor. I have lived my life outside my comfort zone learning just about everything I know from animals - especially horses. My cats, dogs and horses have found their way to me after some sort of unwantedness or abuse, each has a unique story and personality.
The horses at Starting Gate are Mika, Zeke and Tom. Learn more below.
Daughter, Wife, Mother, Sister, Friend and lover of all things Scottish - Taylor's story is just as unique as yours.
Shes a Minnesota transplant to Nebraska but has learned to love this state with an underground lake (what?) almost as much as her home state of 10,000 above ground lakes.
Her childhood and transition into adulthood required her to learn to be brave in her everyday life. To learn when its safe to be vulnerable and when to ignore the voices that do not matter.
Taylor knows horses have a special role to play in the lives of everyone - not just the rich recreational rider - but to the daughters, sons, wives, husbands, brothers and sisters of Nebraska. Their incredible strength and insight and the way they embrace their own kind of bravery inspired Starting Gate.
Come Open the Gate and see for yourself.
Roper was born around 2005.
His story, or at least what we know of it, started as the personal horse of one of our service men in the army. The man was facing a long deployment so he donated Roper to a youth ranch (that I also volunteered at) to ensure he would have a good home.
Roper hated giving beginner riding lessons though so eventually was sold and became a young woman's show horse for about 4 years. After that sale, I never thought I'd see this gorgeous guy again.
About the time we had to say goodbye to our founding and inspiration horse, Mika, Roper was up for sale.
Things miraculously fell into place and we welcomed him to SG the summer of 2022.
Roper is a gentle, curious and pretty laid back kind of guy. He likes to get the job done but also likes to kick back and hang out for some good times.
Ezekiel (Zeke) was born in 2008 and is a Quarter Horse gelding (neutered male). He met Taylor in 2019 when his owner needed a safe place to allow him to retire.
While most horses can be riding companions well into their late 20's, Zeke has suffered under the ill treatment of a previous owner. A man who rode him did not have Zeke's best interest in mind and caused some severe damage to Zeke's spine.
Zeke was rehabilitated by a friend of Taylors and spent a few years as a trail horse with a kind woman. This woman knew her time with Zeke was nearing an end though and wanted to make sure he would be well cared for especially with his special spinal condition.
Taylors friend introduced everyone and we knew Zeke had found a new home. He is quite the man around here and has a very funny personality.
Tom was born in 2006 and is a Quarter Horse Gelding (neutered male). He met Taylor back in 2018 when he was one of our teachers at the rental location for Starting Gate before we found our permanent home.
Tom was living a happy life with his buddies at the barn except for one thing. His feet hurt.
Tom has a very unfortunate chronic
condition that happens to horses called 'navicular'. This is a fancy word for heel pain and can be caused by a number of different issues. In Tom's case, it meant he needed to cut way back on giving rides to humans. He also put in a request for a grass pasture and nice new friends.
So when a space was open at Starting Gate's permanent location - Tom jumped at the chance of a career change from riding horse to teacher horse. He is a dream - you're gonna love him!