It’s time to cast your vote for your favourite Hero of the Horse. You may vote once a day, from now until September 15th. Please spread the word and help recognize the efforts of these exceptional horse people.
The winner’s story will be featured in the November/December issue of Horse Canada and they will receive a trophy, along with $2,000 to continue their work. PLUS, Canadian Saddlery will donate 12 blankets of any size (234 Goliath Regular Neck Turnout or 235 Mid Neck Turnouts) – a $2,100 value!
Darla Connolly is a horse trainer that focuses on starting colts. She says her goal is to trigger the ‘thinking side’ of the horse’s brain, not the reactive side. Through her work, Darla became interested in the idea of rescuing and training a wild horse. In 2015, when the Alberta government announced that horses from a recent cull would be available for purchase, she jumped at the chance, and brought home a mare she called Scarlet.
Since then, Darla has adopted and trained four more wild horses, three of which still live with her on her farm in Strathmore, Alberta. Darla says she has always been drawn to ‘wildies,’ because they are completely free from any other human contact; they are a blank slate and know only what she teaches them.
Darla boards and trains horses, making a point of including the owners in the process. She treats all of the horses as her own, using gentle and encouraging training methods. She regularly posts updates and videos on her Facebook page, illustrating progress she has made with her own, and well as clients’ horses.
With the increasing costs of keeping horses, Darla brings in extra money by selling what she calls “Scarlet swag” – cups, calendars and t-shirts with photos of the mare and other horses. She’s also launched a business, Mustang Photography.
Darla says working with wild horses has influenced her training, leading her to be slower and more methodical in her approach. She praises their intelligence and says she is open to taking in more wild horses in need.