Tom Chambers Harmony with Horses Tom Chambers grew up in the mountain ranch country North of Durango, Colorado. He began working with horses and ponies as a pre-teen during the early 1960s. He found the harsh horse-breaking methods which were used by cowboys at the time to be repulsive and inhumane. Tom began his experimentation with gentle more natural training methods with Shetland ponies at age eleven and found that they responded much better to this type of handling. Continuing with this softer approach to training, he found that horses could be gentled quickly using these methods. Tom spent the next twenty years working out his methods and learning to communicate with horses. During the late 1970s a new “revelation” in horse training began to circulate through the western states, and word of these new gentle training methods began to circulate throughout the land. Trainers like Tom and Bill Dorrance and Ray Hunt were being heralded as the pioneers in this style of training and a young Tom Chambers was absorbing all he could from these and other clinicians throughout the American west. Tom Chambers attended clinics with all of the popular teachers at the time including John Lyons, Pat Parrelli, Craig Cameron, Joe Worter, Merle Edsall and many others. All this to compare what he had learned for himself through experience, with the styles and approaches of others in the field. At this point Tom had arrived at his own personalized philosophy with regard to horse training which he calls “Harmony with Horses”. In 1994, Tom Chambers built the “Melody Ranch” training facility in Sonoita, Arizona. His purpose for this was to be able to take on problem horses that were at risk of being slaughtered and give them another chance at a productive life in the human world. They came in every breed, age and size. During the next 11 years, Tom retrained and placed nearly 70 horses with new owners all over the United States. Each new owner was carefully selected for compatibility and educated in the art of natural horsemanship. The combination of training both horse and owner resulted in 100% retention rate, and all of those horses are alive and well today. In 2003, Tom began doing horsemanship clinics with the sponsorship and encouragement from Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. It expanded tremendously in popularity and the demand for Tom’s clinics caused the expansion to an additional location at Bellota Ranch in Reddington, Arizona. Tom believed that he was able to help many more horses by training people than he could by handling each individual horse. Tom Chambers was recently recruited by Dr. Rolf Gunnar and his wife Marge and has relocated to their BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Education Center in Harvard, Illinois. Tom currently conducts his “Harmony with Horses” clinics all year long at the BraveHearts Center. In addition, Tom was recently certified as a therapeutic riding instructor by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, Inc. A grant from the Baxter International Foundation will also allow Tom to develop equine therapy programs specifically designed to help veterans who have served our country. A lifetime of learning can now be put to good use!
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