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

Hi Samantha, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk surrounds everything I do as a horse trainer and instructor. Although it’s not the reason I decided to make this a full time career, it is the reason I’ve dedicated myself to it. As risky as it is for me to ride a horse, it’s so much riskier teaching someone to ride one of my horses or even their own horse. When a person decides to start riding horses they either don’t realize how dangerous it really is, or they come in already fearful of the risk and looking to become less fearful. So many people put themselves in dangerous situations when they start out their horse career. My main goal is to try to minimize as much risk as possible in order to keep my clients as safe as possible. And therefore, everyday I take a great risk just putting my clients on my horses and expecting my horses to behave.
I truly believe in my horses and for years they’ve packed people around safely. However it’s not just about how safe they are physically. A lot of what I work toward is making sure my clients feel completely confident on a horse. The horse not only has to be safe, they have to respond well without being too fast and without too much emotion themselves.
That’s a lot of variables in every hour! And a lot of risk, as not only do my clients sometimes act much differently than I would expect but then the horse feeds off of whatever their reaction is, and that always depends on the horse.
But it’s so worth it to see people being able to ride their own horses safely. To see people have a good solid start on a safe horse and move forward confidently is my ultimate goal. It’s definitely a risky career, but I know we keep people in the safest position possible to start out their horse back riding and I want to continue to provide that.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My biggest obstacle starting out was finding a consistent location. Horse property is becoming scarce in the valley, yet parents aren’t able to drive to the outskirts of the valley either twice a week after school for lessons. It took us a few years to find a spot to stay on and those were a rough couple years. But we’ve been on our location now for for 9 years and that gave us the stability to flourish. People know where to find us, we have reliable help to keep everything clean and up to date and I can keep consistent lesson horses always knowing where I’m going to be. In that time of searching I learned to really appreciate my clients as they followed me to multiple barns! And because of that I will always be loyal to my long time, great clients, and I would do almost anything for them. And not to waste time on those clients that aren’t worth it. If a client doesn’t get along with everyone or is causing grief, let them go! Don’t bend over backward trying to please everyone. Do your job first and foremost and then take care of those who have taken care of you.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would take the horses to lake pleasant for a swim! Hiking on Tom’s Thumb. Eating at the Thumb by WestWorld and possibly visiting a horse show there. Kierland and Scottsdale Quarter are fun to visit if you go all the way into town as well.

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?
Huge thank you to Michael Walker, my husband, for taking care of the business and financial side of my business so I can fully focus on my clients and their horses! And a big thank you to my lesson horses, for always being up to teach anyone!

Website: swphorses.com

Instagram: @swphorses

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/samantha.walker.9279

Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UC_kvQdp5Xx5e3qeOoeazkOw

Image Credits
Cody Parmenter (for the 2 professional ones)

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