Lillan is one of the most inspiring horsewoman I know. We met many years ago in Washington state not long after I bought my first horse Pegasus – my awesome Red Mare. I was struck not only by her amazing gift with horses but what genuine person she was and still is today. Not to mention, I was equally in love with her amazing Arabian mare Damo. Lillan went after her dreams from a young age and has been driven to excel in her chosen field. I am proud and flattered to have her wear my jewelry as she continues to inspire to this day.
Conversation with Lillan.
You have followed your own path. What makes you, uniquely you?
I would say that what makes me me is a my attempt to strike a balance between happiness and progress. We all know that growth and change and progress in our lives and our horsemanship comes from getting out of our comfort zones, which usually isnt pleasant. However … that’s where all the good things in life comes from! On the flip side … Im a strong believer that we have to balance this growth and personal development with enjoying the now. Our horses need that too!
When did you first decide to follow you dreams of being a professional horsewoman?
OH my gosh ? I would say when I was 10. I knew from when I first started riding, that this would be part of my life forever!
What were the challenges or struggles you faced?
I think the biggest challenges for me have been knowing whats right for ME, and not going with other peoples expectations. Making sure to realize that whats right for me, and my horsemanship isn’t necessarily what might be right for others.
What made you keep going?
What made me keep going is the moments when you get it right! The moments when you find the right path for a portion of your life … and everything fits and feels great!
What changes or tradeoffs did you make in order to achieve your dream?
Hmmm … I would say that nothing I’ve done has really felt like a trade off. Of course hindsight is 20/20 and all that … but as much as I can think of, the choices I’ve made have made me who I am … and I’ve tried to strike a balance between enjoying life, and making choices to improve and advance and grow. Im super glad that I put my development as a horse woman on hold to go to college … even though at the time, that felt like the HARDEST choice ever … Im super happy that I did my last semester of college remotely so that I could begin an internship at a breeding facility even though that felt hard at that moment in time. BUT all those choices brought me to where I am today, so Im grateful!
Tell me about your love and connection to animals.
I get it from my family. My earliest and best memories are all about animals. My mom instilled in me the belief that they are part of the family … they have different rules, and responsibilities from us, but they are part of the family. Its a privlege to get to help them thrive and grow in the human world that we have brought them into … and its a responsibility.
How do you find balance in your hectic life?
PHEWF! I struggle ?. It sounds dorky … but I actually play a little game with myself! Each week I have the goal of doing FIVE things that are not horse related (bike ride, gym, movie, etc!). If Im succesful … I give myself a prize the next week. Something small, coffee, lunch out, a new pair of socks, etc! It helps me keep some balance in myself!
Who were the inspiring women in your life?
My mom for sure, my grandmother, my best friend from high school, my first riding teacher. There has been so many … but its all been ladies who can see my strengths, as well as holding me acountable when I need it!
How do you give back?
I try to inspire people who have a passion for horses and for changing lives. I also work regularly with equine therapy centers … especially to improve the knowledge of their staff.
What is your favorite place in the world to travel to?
Sydney Australia! Its an amazing city… and all my cousins and family lives there, so it always feels a little like going home!
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
“If you can dream it, you can do it! Always remember, this whole thing was started by a mouse!” – Walt Disney
Tell us about your favorite piece of Red Mare Jewelry?
I love the messages ?. The quote about treasures has a special place in my heart, and I love wearing it CLOSE to my heart! Simple, elegant and beautiful designs!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to any woman out there struggling to find a way to be true to their passions, or follow their dreams?
I would say … JUMP! Go for it, surround yourself with others that believe in you as well, and try to learn as much as you can about WHY they do! Let them help you, and then follow them around and improve! Be humble, and go for it ?
What is the one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Try to remember to have faith in yourself … the doubters are not your problem! Keep doing your best, and love yourself thorughout it all ?.
I grew up in a family of animal lovers—but not horse people. So my journey with horses began by begging and begging and begging some more to have a horse. When I was 8 they found an amazing barn for me to ride at
I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. This continues to help me to better serve students, especially with overcoming fear and achieving goals in their horsemanship. I was an intern at Atwood Ranch in California where I had the opportunity to spend over 3,000 hours developing horses under 2. It also fueled the beginning of my love for the American Quarter Horse.
I spent time riding and learning with Pat and Linda Parelli. I’m very grateful for the years I spent with both of them as their protege, as they gave me a strong foundation in Natural Horsemanship, and in the power of teaching horses on the ground and in the saddle.
Today, I continue to learn from as many great horseman as I can, studying regularly with Trevor Carter of Carter Ranch Horse and teaching students all over the country
Horses are beautiful and incredibly sensitive beings. Most of the time if they aren’t trying, it’s either because they are scared or they don’t believe in your leadership. Approaching horses with compassion allows me to always look at things from their point of view. If a horse will willingly give me control of his feet, he trusts me as his leader, and then, anything is possible!