Meet Our Amazing Family of Boarders & Partners
We encourage you to learn more about the wonderful horses enjoying their stay at Holly Farm (the ELS barn), and read stories from their special humans. At ELS we are a community of closely connected horse-loving humans that take care of each other. If you are interested in becoming an ELS Herd member, call for an appointment.
For many years, I too was a boarder at many facilities looking for great care and a community of horse-loving individuals to hang with. Most facilities had some, but not all of the amenities or high quality of care I was looking for and few had a community of boarders that cared about each horse and other humans in the barn. Thus, in addition to riding lessons and horse training, Equine Life Solutions began horse boarding in 2008 at the Horse Haven property. We are now located at beautiful Holly Farm in north Bothell and have more room for horses to romp, play and otherwise, well, be a horse. So welcome to our wonderful stable of boarders, friends, and fans who make up the bigger ELS community of horses and humans. Without which there is no ELS Herd!
Since moving to Equine Life Solutions, I feel that both my horse and I have the best world possible for us in this area! We have the best trainer in Robyn Smith who has helped us and continues to help us to have the best partnership. Equine Life Solutions has taken the time to get the best talent possible to make sure that Frankie is safe and happy with the best of care! We couldn’t be happier to count ourselves as one of the privileged to be able to have a great trainer and a great stable family to be a part of!
Little did I know when I moved to the U.S. from South Africa a few years ago and said I was going to get a house; a horse and big truck, that I would meet Robyn, change everything I knew and thought about riding, and that I would find Kenya. She’s a willful, expressive, extrovert of a Quarter Horse cross, who needed someone to take over her care. Robyn and I teamed up to help her deal with EPSM (Equine Polysaccharide Myopathy), ulcers and cystic ovaries. Because we learned to listen to her pain through natural horsemanship, she has gone from rearing, striking, biting and bucking to a sweet loving mare with a long life ahead of her. I named her Kenya when her ovaries were removed because Kenya was once a place of healing for me, and though Kenya was not an easy country to live in – the people are strong and happy. Kenya means the resting place of God, and I am happy that she has now found her peace.
As an ELS Boarder for 13 years, I know my new partner Isabelle has the best possible place to live. The staff love all the horses (and some humans too.-haha!) Robyn and her ELS staff keep a close eye on nutrition, general health and exploring, recommending and providing other care options such as chiropractor and massage therapy. Isabelle and I cannot imagine our journey without ELS walking (or trotting) beside us. Thank you ELS Herd members!
“Henry Fjord” became mine on March 1, 2014. My dream of horse ownership finally came true and I could not be happier. Henry and I have a lot in common: we are both quiet and older citizens, we both love food, and we both like to move slow but can perk up if motivated. We’re a perfect team. He is also very patient with me while I’m learning to be his leader/partner. On the days I’m not at the barn I am relieved to know there is a whole crew of barn folks keeping an eye on him and taking good care of him (as well as all the other horses) and I’m also pleased to know that pretty much everyone who meets Henry loves him.
I came to Equine Life Solutions as a true beginner. I hadn’t spent much time with horses, but I knew from an early age how much I wanted to take lessons, and wondered what it must be like to have a true partnership with horses.
After graduating from Washington State University, I came to ELS to begin learning to ride. The one lesson per week quickly advanced to two lessons every week, as well as extra days at the barn volunteering.
I began my journey into Parelli Natural Horsemanship with Roxie, working on a trusting and confident partnership. I first met Roxie during the early days of taking lessons when Roxie was assigned as my horse for that day’s lesson. I was drawn to her instantaneously. At first the dynamic between us was fearful and lacking confidence, but through the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program and Robyn’s guidance I was able to start gaining Roxie’s trust as a leader, and now we have quite a strong partnership. Two and a half years after our first ride together, I officially adopted Roxie in November 2014. I never imagined that when I called Robyn to set-up my first evaluation riding lesson that I would become part of the ELS Boarder Family, but I would make that call again in a heartbeat. In choosing ELS, I not only found a partner in Roxie, but community of kind and supportive friends.
Roxie and I look forward to conquering the Parelli Levels and continuing to grow our relationship on a daily basis.
I bought Karma almost sight unseen. After reading her sales bio and watching her video, I asked Robyn for her opinion. Robyn grilled Karma’s trainer and ordered a vet exam. Based on that info, we had her shipped in from Eastern Washington.
Karma (aka Karamin’s Hot Cocoa) is a high-percentage foundation Morgan, with a bloodline tracing back to Beamington. Before I got her, she had won ribbons in Western, English and jumping competitions. She often reminds me that she is a far better horse than I am a rider. Luckily for me, she’s a confident mare who is quick to correct me but does not believe in punishment – she has never seriously tried to dump me. I’m taking as many lessons as I can in order to come up to her standards!
Growing up in the suburbs with working parents, horses were just a dream for me as a little girl. I remember my first trail ride, I was about 6, and my twin brothers were younger, so they had to ride with my parents, which meant I got my own horse. I spent the entire ride trying to get him to stop eating and walk with the other horses and I loved every minute of it. As life took me into adulthood my horse dreams got pushed way into the background and my experience continued to be a random trail ride here and there and an ohhh ahhh when we saw horses in a pasture.
Suddenly at age 44 I found myself in a place in life where I could pull that faded dream up to the front of my mind, dust it off and realize it! In February 2016 I found Equine Life Solutions. I walked in knowing close to nothing about horses and started taking lessons. Coming from a public school teaching background I really appreciated that my lessons started literally from the ground up. It wasn’t just a matter of get on kick and go. My lessons at ELS taught me how to approach, groom, tack, lead, care for and ride safely. Needless to say, I was hooked. So much so that by June my highly enabling husband started talking to Robyn about getting me my own horse.
In July 2016, with the help of Robyn, my husband helped make my little girl dream come true and RainaShine became a member of our family. That’s when the real work began. Just buying a horse does not make it your partner. Robyn and Raina have worked together over these last years to teach me about so much more than just admiring or riding horses. I am learning how to be a fair and consistent leader for my horse. How to understand and communicate with horses. How to care for and keep horses. How to choose tack and gadgets and food and vets etc. How the work you do on the ground with a horse directly translates to what happens in the saddle.
When I think back over the last 3 years I am amazed at how much I have learned. Having started on this journey well into adulthood has its disadvantages, I have a lot of ground to cover. I feel so blessed to have found the wonderful community at ELS and horsemanship!
Jewel, our newest addition to the family is a Belgian/Appaloosa cross with strawberry roan color! Who says you can only just have one!
Maestro is a charming Belgian/Quarter cross who found his way into my life almost by accident. After losing my beloved first partner, Moose, I wasn’t sure what my future with horses was going to look like.
My incredibly supportive husband, Aaron, assured me that there needed to be a horse in our life and Robyn suggested I consider Maestro. His exuberance and energy (and occasional sass) are exactly what I needed at a point when it seemed like life was becoming dim. As fate would have it, he also has the same genetic condition that I learned so much about managing while working with Moose, PSSM. It is clear that life brought us together for a reason and Aaron and I both look forward to seeing what our journey with Maestro will bring. We are currently learning mounted archery!
I knew one day I would own my own horse. Little did I know that my first horse would own me. Sansa, formerly known as Angel, was the answer to my prayers all these years. During a really rough patch in my life, I arrived at ELS hoping to use my skills with kids and horses to become a youth riding instructor. One of my jobs is to get new horses ready to be in the school and that’s when I met this mare: a little Quarter Horse/Arabian (with a sliver of Thoroughbred) who coincidentally arrived at ELS around the same time I did. Little did we know we were the perfect match. She needed her own human and I needed a partner. After working together for around 6 months I knew she was the one. She was on a care lease at ELS at the time, but I was determined she’d be my future partner.
She’s no show horse or the high-performance warmblood I saw myself having, but she opened up to me and started to trust me. That’s when I realized that the relationship I was building with her was way more valuable than any amount of ribbons I could win. I let Robyn know how much this mare meant to me. The day I got the call saying I could adopt her was the happiest day of my life. She continues to brighten up my life and I can’t wait for our future together! Sansa means “Sacred” and she is as strong and amazing as the character she is named after. She really was my “Guardian Angel” sent just for me
I grew up around horses in Texas and Montana and started to miss my equine roots in Seattle. I began riding at ELS in January of 2018 and it wasn’t long before I wanted a horse of my own. Robyn found Angel for me on April 20, 2018, and it didn’t take long to bring her home to ELS. ‘Ima Diamond Angel’, or Angel, definitely needed some unexpected work, but as Robyn once made fun of me for – I thought she was perfect on Day 1 😊 She has the sweetest temperament: she is patient and talkative. We are definitely very similar and both confident introverts. My husband, Brandon and I are excited for the road ahead!
As a kiddo, I would play for hours with my toy horses and I would take every opportunity to make my family go on trail rides. As a Seattle native, I never thought owning a horse was a possibility. About one year ago I was having a really tough time in my life and I found ELS. It quickly became the most exciting part of my week. My boyfriend would come with me every weekend until even he started riding! After almost exactly a year, Robyn helped me find a goofy, extroverted horse to match my personality. Alejandro, who goes by Alex because of his playful personality, and I are growing and learning together. Harshiem and I are so grateful to be a part of the ELS herd!
As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a horse to call my own. I had no idea that there was so much more to that transaction than simply forking over wads of money. I’m so fortunate to have stumbled upon ELS back in 2014, and Robyn found me my perfect partner, Maximus. Max has been a brilliant and patient teacher. We’ve learned so much together from me overcoming my more recent fear of pony bites to him understanding that I would never use a whip to hurt him. In my 26 years of riding, I’ve never had a true relationship with a horse until Max taught me how to listen.
I dreamed of riding horses ever since I learned about them as a toddler. But unfortunately I grew up in a middle of a big city and horses were not easy to come by. I found ways to ride here and there, but never really got to be serious about it. A few years ago I decided to try again and came to ELS. There Robyn paired me up with Cash and I quickly grew to love this playful extroverted guy. We were riding partners for a couple of years and then I officially adopted him and became his human. Together we are part of the ELS herd.
I’ve wanted a horse since I was a kid but never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to have one. Thank you Doug for all your support and Robyn for being so picky for me to find the perfect horse. Silvie has a lot to teach me and it helps that I can see some progress in our growing relationship.
Freya & Melissa
The magical part about becoming an adult is that you can do anything you want, and no one can tell you “no.” So, as a 30-something-year-old with no prior experience with horses, I finally decided that I was going to learn how to ride. I found ELS, and the rest is history. I was treated like a welcomed member of the family right away, even at the “newbie” level that I was. After a few months,
I very quickly realized that learning how to work with horses meant a lot more than the mechanics of riding or understanding horse behavior. A horse is a direct mirror of yourself, and so in the most primal way, they teach you how to release your own inner anxieties, how to face and overcome your fears, and how to be fully present in the moment.
When I knew I wanted to take my journey to the next level, Robyn helped me find my girl Freya (and I couldn’t have done it without her!). I continue to learn how to be the leader that Freya needs me to be, and I could not have asked for a better horse partner. I’m so glad that I have the continued support of Robyn, Maggie, and the ELS Instructors, staff, and ELS community to help Freya and I enjoy this adventure to the fullest.
(Ari)bella & Jill
Buzz & Boo
Stanley & Kalli
George & Kristin
Sunny & Lyra
“My paint horse sunny never fails to paint me a sunny day.”
Through the very long, involved journey of finding a horse of my own, (a seemingly never-ending story), I suddenly found myself owning one of the most amazing creatures I have ever had the privilege to know– my horse, Sunny. He has taught me so much over the last three years and the two of us have grown together.
As a very self-motivated individual, I’ve always managed to cultivate opportunities to work around horses and learn from excellent teachers.. I have yet to find a moment when I am not learning. I’m always yearning for new knowledge and I believe there’s always a new mind-opening realization out there to discover. I am fascinated by the seemingly endless abyss of horsey knowledge. Equine Life Solutions is the best place to learn, not only when it comes to teaching, horse riding and training, but horse-care as well. Sunny and I are happy to be here!
Bandit & Lily (Partners)