It has been my pleasure to provide Mike Branch with veterinary services for the past 7½ years. During that period of time I have had the pleasure of observing Mike's growth and development in training both horses and their owner's. Mike's love and dedication to horses is evident in both the amount of time and energy he invest in their lives and the results he achieves with them. I have seen his patience, knowledge and gentle but steady hand bring out the best in both horse and rider. Many people desire to understand and communicate with their horses. Mike has proven himself more than qualified to help individuals achieve those goals and, through the establishment of Shekinah Farms, Mike has made it possible for people to enhance their relationship with their horse in a positive manner.
Eric Martin, D.V.M., M.S.
Martin Veterinary Services, L.L.C
Mike Branch came to the UK and visited the Exmoor Pony Centre . I was told about his skills with the ponies and asked him to come and see an Exmoor pony in the north who was so wild and nervous. His name was Joe. In less than half an hour Joe had accepted Mike who was lying on his back. Joe was visibly relaxed and happy in Mike’s company. It was incredibly impressive and Mike was able to tailor his approach to the needs of the pony. Mike returned to England the next year to work with Martini another Exmoor pony who was having real issues about trusting people and very anxious about being ridden. He showed me how to work with her and understand her and she is now the best most honest pony I have .Mike’s ability to communicate with ponies and pass some of that skill onto others working with them is brilliant. Exmoor ponies run wild on the hills of the south west of England and require very specific talents not needed with other domestically bred ponies .
Juliet Rogers – chairman of trustees The Moorland Mousie Trust
I have seen Mike Branch work with horses over the last number of years and he has developed a wonderful sense of 'being with and for" the horse. I know Mike has studied with fine horsemen mentors and continues to...the sign of a great teacher,is the willingness to remain a student. I have witnessed the mustangs take on Mikes calm confidence and move to trust in a non traumatic way. I say BRAVO to Mike in the giving of his horsemanship,and in helping so many mustangs who need to know this new world of domestication. Mike is a champion for horses and especially the Mustangs in transition.
Mary Ann Kennedy singer/songwriter
I first heard of Mike Branch through an article in the Knoxville News-Sentinel in Jan. of 2009. It described him as using a gentle approach and "playing" with his horses like you would a dog. I then saw him at the Lex Lin Farm's open house in the Fall of 2010 doing a demo on one of their Gypsy Vanners. Once I put together that this was the same man, I became very interested.
I was having problems with my young Warmblood gelding who was very aggressive towards other horses while under saddle. I needed someone who wasn't afraid of getting hurt, but was also willing to help us work through the issues at our own speed and without unnecessary rough treatment. (I had actually been told by another "natural horsemanship" trainer that they couldn't help me because I loved my horse "too much".) Mike was the Perfect answer. I gave him a call and we talked for a long time and set up a day that weekend to work together. Mike never once seemed alarmed by my horse's actions, and he was well, extremely aggressive. Mike stayed patient and calm which allowed me and my horse to become calm and gain the confidence that we both needed to move forward.
I highly recommend working with Mike. Even if you are not having a specific problem, his approach develops the trust needed to make the relationship between you and your horses the best it can possibly be. My horse and I will always have some issues, but thanks to Mike, we now have the tools and the confidence to work through most of them. And of course, I always know, Mike is only a phone call away!
Thank You my Friend! Gena and Bali Brown
After only a few lessons, Mike Branch helped me overcome my fear of being hurt while riding and taught me ground skills which improved my relationships with my mare and three geldings. I was a good rider as a teenager but during the years of mothering, homemaking and professional work I lost my riding confidence and my previous horse skills faded. Now in my mid-fifties I have the joy of owning horses again and partnering with them to help my young clients in therapy. I needed Mike's help getting back in the saddle. I found Mike to be a patient and extremely competent teacher. He taught me how to be a more assertive but kind leader to my horses and due to my new skills I can tell my horse partners have a new respect for me. Mike communicates his lessons effectively with both the horse and the human student in his gentle, accepting style. I am grateful for his help.
Pamela H. Gross, Ph.D.
Harmony from Horsefeathers Farm
I adopted a yearling filly at the mustang sale in Archdale, NC in July of 2008. You worked with her for me for an hour under very difficult conditions before loading her in my trailer for the ride home. I just want to say that what you did for the filly's state of mind is beyond value. She walked off the trailer like a pro, and has been a joy to work with ever since. I truly believe, having worked previously with another filly that was not gentled first, that the time you spent with her set the strong foundation for trust and learning. Thank you!
I bought a Percheron PMU baby through auction almost two years ago. He was virtually untouched when I got him and I worked very hard to teach him to trust people. I was respectful of the fact that I had a clean slate on which to create a great partnership. I named the colt Ben and did what I could to work with him. I taught him to lead; to stand for the farrier and even started some basic round pen work. After all that, I had no idea what to do once I did get him used to having a saddle on his back. I wanted to be involved in his training but I was lost.
Then my friend found Mike Branch's website and we started reading. I had adopted a Mustang years ago and seeing that Mike had worked with Mustangs I knew he would understand how to teach Ben and my friend's gelding, Utah, without forcing them. My friend and I took our two year old geldings to Mike for a weekend colt starting clinic. Once there, we realized our fur children were rather on the spoiled side, but after just a few hours of re-teaching, we were ready to get the geldings started.
It was a wonderful learning experience. During that weekend, we worked both on the ground and in the saddle. We made sure that the boys understood by asking them to work with us and not forcing them. Everything I worked on with Ben I could see would be useful for my other horses. After seeing how gently and easily this large Percheron could be asked to turn or stop under the saddle made me realize that my "finished" Belgian mare at home had a lot of work that needed to be done. I have started working with her on all things I am continuing with Ben.
If you are searching for some new training methods for and old horse or wanting to work with a beginner, I recommend Mike Branch for training. We have already begun our plans for another weekend with Mike and our "finished" horses. I had mentioned to Mike that I wanted to start Ben myself but would send him somewhere to be finished. Mike said no one or their horse is ever finished. We are always learning. I agree with that and am ready to continue learning with all my horses.
I gave Mike Branch a call because I needed some help with a trailer loading problem. I have an 8 year old Hanoverian cross mare, who I bought two years ago completely green. When I bought her and brought her to Tennessee the transportation company I hired had no problems getting her on the trailer and down here from Virginia. Then a year later I decided to try to go trail riding with some friends away from the farm, and she threw a fit when we tried getting her on a trailer. I worked with her for three months and for hours at a time and we had hit a plateau in our trailer loading training, she would put three hoofs on, but the last one was always a tantrum, finally I decided I needed professional help. One day I was at a community event and discussing my issue with a business acquaintance and she recommended Mike to me. I looked him up online and gave him a call. He was so willing to help he offered to come help that day! Mike arrived with patience and a variety of tools. My girl showed Mike her great fear of the trailer and he responded with a calm attitude, and built a trusting relationship in a short amount of time. He then helped me use the same communication so that I can now load her onto a trailer. I am very excited to have the mobility to go to shows, trails and to the vet’s office in an emergency.
Thank you for all your help Mike!
Mike is definitely a "God Sent"! After several painful/dangerous incidents with my Spotted Saddle Horse, "Ladybug" I was at the end of my rope and unsure of what to do next.
The first time I met Mike he came to my house to do an evaluation on Ladybug. I was suppose to have gone to his place, but she wouldn't load into the trailer. As Mike evaluated her he determined that she had been abused sometime during her 8 years of life (hence her many issues). As I watched Mike work with her I sat in speechless awe as he got her to move to his commands.
I recently attended a green horse clinic and was, again, amazed at Mike's patience and willingness to teach us how to work with our horses. He took his time, on an extremely hot Saturday, and made sure we were all comfortable with the task before moving on. The clinic was a great learning experience for both me and Ladybug.
I am so thankful to see and talk to someone who is so humble and knowledgeable; someone who has such a love and gentle approach to horses and training. Mike has now given me hope for Ladybug and the horse she can become, especially seeing the dramatic changes in her after only 2 visits with him.
Mike and Lisa are wonderfully kind people whom me and my family feel very blessed to know! I would definitely recommend Mike to everyone I meet!!
Thank you for giving me and Ladybug hope!
Leadership through Trust
Partnership through Leadership
Trust Partnership and Leadership through
Love, Understanding, and Communication ...
... Mike Branch
On one of my trips to England, I was asked by the producers of this fantastic historical program called Edwardian Farm, if I would be a part of the series on one of the episodes. The program is about farm and country life in southwest England during the Edwardian era.
Horses and ponies were very much a part of country life in southwest England during that particular time. Since it was a history program, everyone dressed in period correct clothes.
My job that day was to begin the gentling process of this completely wild Dartmoor Pony. Although the pen in which I was to begin training on this little fella, had quite a few corners for it get into, he came round rather nicely.
Football is a huge part of life in east Tennessee where I call home. So too is hard work, family, God and country. When Russell Biven, the producer of the Friday Night Game of the Week asked me if I would do the lead-in opener for the weekly show, I jumped at the opportunity.
Take look at the opener he put together, I think he did a great job. From the end of this video it went straight into a football pass coming in ... it was a nice effect.
This video is day three of the mustang gentling with the news anchor from WBIR Knoxville, TN. I think that both the mustang and Russell did an amazing job.
Blaine, TN, USA
A few years back my friend Russell Biven from local channel 10, an NBC affiliate asked me if I teach him to gentle a wild mustang. I told him we would sure try.
The video on the right is day three of our working together on that little project. I think his mustang turned out to be a pretty good fella.
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