As a child age 7-16, Joan Marie MacCoy was trained in Hunter/Jumper discipline. Although MacCoy loved the experience of jumping, and currently pursues Hunter lessons on occasion for fun, her goal in her riding career is not to show. MacCoy’s riding style uses a lot of fundamentals of Hunter Flatwork and Dressage, although her students will almost always start in a western riding saddle. Before proper schooling, MacCoy spent many hours on trail with her mother, who would jog beside a bobbing 4 year old, hanging on to Shetland pony “Cocquette’s” equally bobbing self! While she was on a horses since birth, she considers these experiences her first “horseback riding lessons on the trail.”
MacCoy began working with an equine trainer riding green horses late in life, at the age of 18, in New Bern, NC with Davo Moxham, who taught her to always keep horses thinking, and never let them start thinking! While most professional horse people begin training horses earlier than 18, MacCoy believes it was her consistent but slow start that has lead to the great grit and genuine interest she has with her approach to ranch management and horse care. It was through trail breaking horses during her first summer learning how to train, not just ride, that she found her niche. She continued working in the setting of the trail with an educationally-founded trail company in the Outer Banks at Cedar Island Stables. A brief stint in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, with a similar horseback riding facility gave her the final push she needed to begin her own branch of trail-based horse and rider education.
MacCoy has come to specialize in working with “Problem Horses.” All equine trainers should be familiar with the concepts of pressure and release, balanced and forward riding, desensitization and partnership. How they use these tactics varies from trainer to trainer. MacCoy’s skills of developing a partnership quickly have enabled her to help folks on a time crunch, who have horses that are hard to catch, won’t trailer load, unable to be handled for medical care or have shown a propensity for bucking, rearing and bolting. MacCoy’s method to “breaking, “gentling,” or “saddle breaking” horses (we can discuss the semantics later) include bareback breaking and halter breaking. Horses are taught to respond to leg pressure, turn on the forehand or hind, keep balanced in a forward gait, etc., all through learning specific jobs, such as opening gates, responding to the needs of other horses, or simply being exposed to a wide variety of obstacles on the trail.
Maverick Horseback Riding is deeply indebted to its horses, who take children and adults, beginners and experienced riders of all skill levels and walks of life on new adventures. These are the horses who continue to remind MacCoy to emulate the patience, gentle firmness, and awed approach she has seen in her mentors. If you have a problem child who needs a tune-up, need a pre-purchase evaluation, or some other specialty case, contact us for more information.