Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spotlight: Cindy Mackie

By Jasmine Minbashian, MVRU Associate Director

Cindy Mackie is as dedicated as they come. She diligently comes to the ranch every day to care for and train her horse, Willy, a six year old Haflinger gelding. Cindy and Willy are on a journey to connect her two legs and two hands to his mind and four legs - which doesn’t always prove to be an easy task. But with the help of some capable MVRU staff, Cindy and Willy have made great strides in the last three years of their partnership together. This year, they have even set their sights on participating in the Ride to Rendezvous, a four day trail adventure across the Methow.

Cindy credits Willy’s early training by Allison Wolfe and his current training with McKenna Barnes for his transformation into a skilled riding and trail horse. She also appreciates Annie’s patient observations and gentle suggestions when new tactics are needed. Cindy is such a positive presence at the ranch, that we thought she deserved a “Friend Spotlight.”

Cindy and Willy

 I had a chance to chat with both Program Director Annie B. and Cindy M. about their experience so far:

MVRU: What is a fun or poignant memory you have of her? 
AB: Three years ago she showed up to ride and I didn’t know her at all. All I knew is that she wanted to get back in good health. So I went through the beginner lesson approach with her but quickly could see she wasn’t a beginner! It was so incredibly humbling…she acted like she didn’t know anything, but she actually had been an accomplished horsewoman for a long time!

MVRU: In what ways has she helped MVRU?  
AB: She “adopted” Ginger early on, making sure her needs are met and that she gets the exercise she needs. She always leads by example, always offering help and thinking of what she can do. She does just about everything: cleaning manure, cleaning tack, helping with classes, caring for horses. Cindy and her husband Sandy have also been big supporters of Let ‘Em Ride, helping us get financial support for the program through the Winthrop Kiwanis.

MVRU: What are her best character traits?  
AB: Cindy is such an incredible person for everyone here to look up to. She treats everyone in the kindest way. She is one of the most positive and appreciative people I have ever had the opportunity to meet.  She is a good example for all of us!

And here's what Cindy had to say:
MVRU: What is your earliest memory of your time at the ranch?
CM: I became involved in MVRU because I wanted to ride after many lost years doing other things. In the '90's I needed to work and was involved in sports as an Athletic Trainer Certified for Pacific Lutheran University and Evergreen State College. It kept me charged with the love of sport. It was in 2013 I gave in to my urge to ride again. Annie showed the movie Buck at the Twisp Pub's First Tuesday and I was hooked. I started riding at MVRU the summer of 2013 leasing Ginger and taking lessons with Annie.
MVRU: What is the most important thing you have learned from your time spent at the ranch?
CM: The most important thing I learned was that I would have to study and work hard to learn as quickly as possible all the new things I never knew about this creature: horse. I had some good instructors in my past whose methods hinted at what we call "natural horsemanship". From Annie's instruction and example doors began to open. I purchased the DVDs 7 Clinics with Buck Brannaman. Both Annie and Buck brought me deeper wonder and respect for the horse. I just had to buy a horse and experience this philosophy and its methods for myself. I figured at this stage of life, I'd need help and MVRU has been the perfect atmosphere for new learning.
MVRU: Who is your favorite MVRU horse and why?
CM: Ginger the Great is my favorite horse. I love to take her out in spring. She's well educated, willing and patient. She's worth her weight in $100 bills!!
MVRU: What advice would you give to others who are just starting on their path with horses?
CM: While you are here riding and learning at MVRU, work at it. Ask questions of yourself, set goals, try hard to achieve them. This is a very good incubator for developing horsemen and horsewomen of all ages and stages. What you learn here will be with you for the rest of your life. You'll think back and say "Oh, it's easy I can do this. I jumped Buttons over that impossible training level course. This challenge in my life is nothing compared to that."