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Holistic Horse Training

About Caroline Beste

Professional Biography

What makes Caroline’s method so successful is her infusion of holism, classical training, and evidence-based practices.

The holistic approach focuses on the horses' well-being during the training process while the classical approach centers on working with the horse’s natural movements to increase strength, flexibility, and balance. When combined they create the most trusting relationships, self-regulation and flow between horse and rider.

As a result of Caroline’s global success, her Riding as One™ program was created, a model she pioneered in 2008 and now teaches online in her Mastery Relationship, Ground & Riding Foundation Program.

She offers one of the largest and most comprehensive online educational platforms, The Tao of Horsemanship, hosting a variety of courses and in-person programs produced and personally taught by Caroline and her school masters.

Additionally, you will find her podcast, Everything Horses & More! just as informative, engaging, filled with heart-warming stories, nuggets of wisdom and inspiration. 


About Caroline Beste

Personal Journey & Transformation

Welcome to my world of horses, healing, and transformation. 

I started riding horses at the age of 3. I got my love of horses from my dad and my love of animals from both my parents. 

My dad grew up with horses and spent his youth schooling his cousin’s OTTB’s for the Washington International Horse Show (WIHS). 

He swore to me he never fell off a horse, and he owned and rode some of the craziest OTTB’s. 

I believed him and was amazed by him. He had a natural, intuitive, and calming way about him when he was with his animals, especially horses.

There were five in our family, my mom, dad, and me and my two older brothers. They too love animals and are excellent horseman. We grew up with nature, animals, art, family, fun and food. Our lives were full, educational, creative, spontaneous, and filled with love, light, and laughter.

That’s until we moved to Chagrin Falls, OH in 1978. Everything changed and we wouldn’t understand why until 37 years later.

Our family began to fall apart then. Mostly because the nucleus of our family structure was disintegrating. The nucleus being my dad and the happy home and life we knew. 

My dad worked for a big corporation back then and was promoted and transferred every so many years. Ohio was his next promotion and our chance to regroup as a family.

We left behind my beloved pony Muffin, a few trying times with teenage boys and a beautiful life in West Chester, PA. And, things were changing then that would become the catalyst for the new life in Ohio.

My dad had promised me he would get us a horse when we settled into our new home in Ohio, and he made good on his promise.

It took about a year of searching before we found out special horse Brandy. He’s the sorrel Quarter Horse in the backyard pics with me.

We leased him for about 5 months before we brought him home to live in his new backyard barn and paddock.

There’s so much to tell and not enough time but just know that I learned so much from Brandy, that he is the horse that helped shape me personally and professionally. The areas I teach today were inspired by our relationship and riding as one together then.

He was 7 when I found him, and I was 9. He was born and raised on the farm where we leased him. Even though his mom lived on the farm with him, he was bottled fed and brought into the house by his human family. He was supposed to be their daughter’s horse, but she went away to college and well, you know how that goes with some, they forget about their horses.

He was affectionate and spoiled. They waited until he was 7 to send him away to be trained. When he came home from training, they ran an ad in our local feed and tack store and that’s how my dad found him.

I remember meeting him and thinking he’s not as grand as some of the crazy and beautiful Arabians we had been looking at and he was so sweet and kind. 

He was very buddy and barn sour and learning how to change that would be my first lessons in consensual partnership that I teach today. How to make your relationship with your horse the most important relationship to your horse. As I often say today, “what’s in for the horse?”

I can’t tell you how many times he ran me back into the barn when I would go visit and ride him in the pasture. He was attached to one young filly and the property and anytime I asked him to go away from either, he would plant his feet or blow up and bolt.

Befriending him was my mission. I wanted to be just as important as his girlfriend and his home and I was determined to figure out how and willing to take the time to do so.

I was told to put his curb bit, with a 6-inch shank and metal chin strap on him to control him. I had no idea how cruel and useless they would be until I used them. 

The first time I rode him out, he reared, spun, leapt, and bucked me off as he ran back home. The second time I thought I’d outsmart him and use the bit combined with my brute strength to stop him. He still bolted back. I stayed on and his mouth and chin were bloody. I cried and threw up and vowed to never use that type of force again.

That’s when I came up with a plan. I would spend so many days/eves with him and we would spend time away from the horses, just the two of us. I realized quickly that they couldn’t be out of his site for long, so I worked on separating but not isolating him. Little did I realize I was respecting his needs by working within his emotional thresholds. I was also learning when and how to push him without pushing him over the edge.

Soon, we were able to walk away from the barn and out on the trail. When I say walk, I mean me walking him on a lead line and halter. I still could not ride him without him stressing out and imploding. But it didn’t take long for these walks combined with time spent loving on him and grazing him to work their magic.

When he was eager and happy to go on walks with me, I started tacking him up with his saddle and halter and lead rope tied into a rein. I would walk him out, about a mile and we would spend time together just being before I would mount up and ride him further.

It wasn’t perfect and he would definitely “test” me when I was on him because he knew he could overpower me, but he cared about me enough to not escalate, ditch me, or bolt home.

It wasn’t long before he would be coming home to our backyard. I knew the separation from the home, life, and friends he knew would be devastating but I only knew what I knew and didn’t know what I didn’t know.

That the worst and best were yet to come.

Since we couldn’t get him into the trailer and his farm was 10 miles from my house, I decided to ride him to his new home, my home.

Most of the ride was open farmland, back country roads and woods. We took our time and Brandy took care of me. We had never been trail riding together, only hand walking and mounting a short distance from where he lived his entire life, maybe 2-3 miles away.

He knew what was going on and had a “pep to his step” as we embarked on this new journey together. He was connected, eager, excited, and safe. We had never ridden near cars or bikes or any kind of normal activity outside the usual farm life. I just couldn’t believe his courage, confidence, and attitude.

When we arrived at my house, and his new home, he was in for a shock. While I thought he would be ok with me, his new barn and home, I didn’t realize that what he really missed and needed were his friends, familiarity, and freedom.

He started running up and down the paddock and charging the corner fence. He was screaming and acting crazy. We had never seen this behavior before, so we were all in shock. I put him back in his halter and lead while my dad and brothers reinforced the split fence railings and posts.

I was attuned and listening and quickly came up with a plan. I would take him into the farmers 500-acre hay fields to walk with me and graze, get him connected and his mind preoccupied with me. 

It worked and so did hanging out with him for hours until I put him away for the night in his stall.

I had the weekend to help him acclimate before I headed back to school Monday. School was less than a quarter of a mile up the road too and my family and I came up with a plan that would allow me to come home during lunch to check on him.

Monday morning came and I was out the door at 5am to feed, water, muck and brush my Brandy. I had about 2 hours to be with him before my mom took me to school. We decided to keep him in his stall until I came him and could let him out and hand walk him. 

I did this for 2 weeks before Brandy was ready to come and go from his stall to his paddock. Until we experienced Brandy’s expression of pain and loss, we had no idea horses could feel and express so much. 

We could tell he felt safe and connected to all of us because he was no longer screaming, pacing, or charging the fence. 

When Brandy was safe enough to be out and about on his own, he would wait at the corner every day for the bus to drop me off. He not only waited eagerly, he let out the biggest nicker, so loud that the kids on the bus could hear him.

I was faithful to Brandy every day of his life during our 10 years in Ohio. I took care of him every morning, day, and night and especially during the brutal Lake Erie winters. Nothing could keep me from him or make me happier taking care of him.

We were so close (see the pic of me lying up against him reading while he was lying down in his paddock) that he was like a big dog. He spent most of his time with his human family, untethered and free and spent all his time lose running free with me in the 500-acres of hay fields during the summer.

I rode him bitless, bridle-less, and bareback. I taught him how to bow, lie down on cue, wait for me, run to me, you name it we did it. We swam and we read together, and we rode out all day exploring the country. We were best friends.

A few years pass and times start changing in our household. Lots of drinking, fighting and reckless behavior. This continues for a couple of years before it worsens. I begin to shut down, check out and suffer from acute panic attacks. 

They were so debilitating that I would pass out, black out, in school. Not to mention I would break out in rashes all over my body and sweat profusely. I was literally a nervous wreck.

My mom was already in therapy and decided to have me evaluated emotionally, physically, and mentally. I went through every test there was to determine if I had a tumor, head injury, epilepsy, or a mental condition. 

Believe me, it was hell. It was hell living in my house with all the crazy and it was hell living in my mind with all the confusion. The only thing that kept me going was my Brandy. He was my sanity and saving grace.

It wasn’t long before I was diagnosed with a nervous breakdown. My condition only made things worse in my family and added fuel to the crazy behavior and I soon became an outcast.

Stop. Before you feel sad for me, I need to tell you that my nervous breakdown was the best thing that could have happened to me and for me. 

It became the breaking point for much needed change within me and around me. While my family didn’t change, I did. And while the breakdown broke me, broke my spirit, I got my mojo back and began the rebuilding process, one day, one therapy session and one ride, at a time.

It gave me the re-start I needed. The time, the space, the respect, and the power to take back my life, my emotions, all the pieces of me that were scattered all over the place.

I didn’t realize this of course at the time. But as I started coming out of it and putting the many shattered and broken pieces of my life back together, I was grateful. I am grateful to this day for the perspective I gained during that time that fueled me, inspired me, and empowered me.

I wasn’t alone on this newfound path. I was assigned an amazing therapist who helped me dig my way out of my hell. I could not speak for months without passing out, so she gave me my first book on Eastern Philosophy, Chinese Medicine, and meditation. I became a practicing Taoist; hence Tao of Horsemanship was born 22 years later.

Meditation gave me back my power by teaching me how to understand my emotions and not be overwhelmed by them. It also taught me how to communicate my feelings, find my words and the power of letting go – still working on that one!

I became an established artist during this time, teaching my high school class mates the art of Sumi painting, air brush and watercolor. I was winning awards and won an art scholarship to college. Art had become my muse, my expression, and my crutch. It not only helped me survive, it was also teaching me how to thrive.

While my therapist gave me the tools to understand the message behind my emotions, meditation taught me how navigate those stressful and scary places.

During all this time, my horse was my rock and my best friend for 25 years, until he passed away at the age of 32. 


Click here to learn more about my life with my horses as my soul mates and teachers.

Read more about Caroline here

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