We had the good fortune of connecting with Priscilla Tooley and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Priscilla, what role has risk played in your life or career?
For a long time I avoided risk. I went to school, got good grades, finished college, got a good job. But the first day at my first job, I sat down at my desk with my assignment, and I realized I was in the wrong place. I’d done all the safe things, all the right things, and I wasn’t happy with the outcome. As soon as I realized the life I wanted wasn’t going to come from others, that I had to create it, I began taking risks. At first, risk to me meant putting myself out there. I’ve done plenty of dangerous things with horses (which I would not recommend), but the scariest thing to me was to speak in front of other people. However, I recognized that I needed to be able to speak in order to spread the message I was passionate about. I loved horses and was tired of seeing them being mishandled. I wanted people to understand that there was another way to do things using positive reinforcement methods, but my message wasn’t going to go very far if I only bothered my husband with my ideas.

So I started small. I built a course for a small local school. I gave one on one lessons to clients to gain more experience. I had the usual fears: “What if no one wanted to take the course? What if I’m terrible at this?” But then things would go ok, or I’d hit a few stumbling blocks and I’d try something else. This eventually built up to a successful business where I coached people through training their own horses using positive reinforcement techniques.

I don’t think risk has to be a giant leap. It can be small steps in the beginning. I’ve found that the first few steps are often the hardest to take. After that, you have momentum. You start to say yes to more things, and challenge yourself in new ways.

At this moment I’m in the process of taking another big risk (new location, brand, new horses, etc.). There’s no guarantee I’ll be successful, but I’m going to take a leap. I’d rather try and fail than wonder what could have been.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The mission for my business is to provide creative and accessible positive reinforcement training solutions to the horse community. The horse community currently relies on negative reinforcement based tactic for training, and I hope to provide a wider view of what is possible. Horses are highly intelligent, curious, and willing animals; and this is never more apparent than when you begin using marker training (commonly called clicker training). I’m most excited about the online courses I’m working on. I’ll be launching the first course summer 2022.

None of this is or has been easy. It requires a commitment to do the daily work that no one else sees. I’ve found that setting small goals, committing to daily work, and being brave (because putting yourself out there can be scary) are the keys to being successful. I’ve learned to take opinions with a grain of salt. Stop listening to all the voices and chatter and listen to your intuition and horses (because they always know best).

I want the world to know there’s a better way to be with horses. I simply hope I can be one example.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m not sure if this is for my area or Pheonix. I live in Abingdon, VA: so here’s where I’d take a guest in my home town:

1. My farm – Sycamore View Farm.
2. Grayson Highlands State Park.
3. The Tavern for good food and drinks.
4. The Virginia Creeper Trail – We’d do half he trail (17 miles).
5. Rain – more food.
6. The Barter Theatre (live shows)
7. Wolf Hills Brewing Company for live music and drinks
8. The William King Museum

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband, Brett Tooley, who’s always supported me in the pursuit of my dreams.

Website: www.pgthorsemanship.com

Instagram: @pgt_horsemanship

Facebook: @PGT Horsemanship

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.