Jenny Pearce

Sheer guts and the courage to be different at 71 years old – Just Say YES!

The Just Say YES!  category on my blog was established back at the time of the blue tongued Rollkurred horse furore about the abuse of horses in the highest levels of competitive dressage. 

A bunch of us around the magazine Horses4Life, decided that it would be good to focus on the wonderful things about horses and people, as a balance to all the negativity that was happening at the time – and thus Just Say YES! was born.

Just Say YES! is about all the beautiful heart warming things that we just want to shout ” YESSSS!”  to.

I got this email from Norma after the Horseconscious interview last week.  She just awed me at her sheer guts, her sensitivity to horses in the face of others who weren’t being sensitive and her courage to be different at 71 years old.  

This is definitely a Just Say YES!  for me.  Enjoy this email as much as I did.



I learned about you from Mark’s conference call this morning. I live in Los Angeles, California USA. I do not own a horse, never have. I wore cowboy boots and Levi’s in my 20’s & wear them up to now. I started with horses somewhere in my 60’s. I will be 71 this May.

I always forget the exact year but it all started with a read of Linda Kohanov’s book, The Tao of Equus. For about 3 years, I contemplated with terror and fear, wondering how I would ever ride, having come out of a shoulder surgery due to a fixed dislocation, and four dislocations on the other shoulder.

I conquered the fear finally, got up there, and have taken riding lessons on and off for years. Thank heavens, I have never come off, and sure hope I never do. I try to ride “safe” horses and don’t take too many chances, but we all know how that goes!

I enjoy riding lessons, except for the fact that having started out reading all kinds of things about the horrors of bits and the ill-fitting tack we put upon horses, to barefoot vs. shoes, need I say, I am a bleeding heart and a tree hugger. I wish I were not this way, but I am, and seek others with heart and compassion just so I can be with horses, for I cannot go this alone.

But this is very difficult, and most often, I am alone.

Hence, finding has been a real boon and salve to my soul, there are wonderful others out there in good abundance, and now, you being one of them in a serious way for me. You touched a heart cord.

I love your laughter, and surmise that the joy you would love for us to have between horse and rider comes from your love and happiness. Not that you have not striven to achieve this level, perhaps not!, but you exude this, and I appreciate it. I will strive to smile tons more as I ride, as well as breathe, on or off the horse.

Anyway, I had my first lesson I think it was back in 2005, bareback. The lady never used saddles, a former dressage rider. Since then, I have read a lot, gone to lots of clinics given by the big and famous, as a spectator, and continued here and there with my riding lessons, some bareback, mostly Western saddles, and now dressage for the first time, the last few months.

In the past, I would often and perhaps prematurely, end the lesson taking because intuitively it was not “right.” I don’t think I quit for all the right reasons all of the time, but maybe I got what I needed, dealt with fear, uncertainty, as best I could. I must praise my sheer guts and courage, because I was working off passion, and the seat of my pants.

I wanted to ride bitless. I was ridiculed, laughed-at, snarled at, and I think it is better now, but still iffy. I even bought Dr. Cook’s bitless bridle not knowing where I could try it out, so I started cold-calling, begged and finally found a willing dressage trainer who did not even know me, to try the bitless. She tried it, said it worked okay, but it was damaged.

I took it home and figured out we, she, had it on wrong. I say she because I was too timid and untrained and green to put it on her horse myself.

So here we are, I don’t stop trying. I may never have my own horse, but I keep riding, always fretting internally because it is not my horse, and I have no control over the saddle fit, the nails in the hooves, the bit, the on and on, and I worry so much, and I don’t want to transfer my pity to the horse, so I keep stuffing my bleeding heart, ride as best I can, and therefore am kinda tormented most of the time with the inner conflict that I inflict upon myself.

Sounds like a horror story, but I must be around horses in some way or other for their love and healing.

Because I love being with horses just on the ground, taking them out to graze when I am permitted, with other people’s horses. I have contemplated not riding at all, but always wind up back up there. There is just an unspeakable joy feeling them in that way, and I will take your lessons on that.

Most of the horse world is improving I pray, but maybe so much of it is not. Perhaps I can be an example, but that is almost laughable, because most often, I have to be very careful lest I get ridiculed, and ostracized for being a wimp and bleeding heart.

Truly, this is the norm. It has happened to me often, so to remain in the horse world, to keep taking classes at Pierce College in Woodland Hills in their equine program, and to be part of the horse world, I keep pretty mum. I wish I could overcome concern for their mean comments, and just woman-up to what I want, think and feel.

So that is me, and well, sorry for the “book.” Those of us who love horses, who are driven through our hearts with deep passion, can go on and on forever. You reminded me this morning how forgiving horses are, thanks to their massive heart chakra. So that’s what it is and why they put up with us.

Thanks for listening. I will take your free lessons, and benefit as best I can. Thank you, and for getting up extra early for us this morning.

Warm wishes,





  1. Veronica in Cambridge 04/29/2014, 6:40 am Reply

    Hi Norma,
    Keep going and doing what you have found to be a ‘calling’. I am at that age where I am now riding with, shall we say, ‘the younger set’. Do not let anyone intimidate or stop you from doing what you truly love to do. I am 64 and own my own horse. I have been fortunate to own 5 over my lifetime and each one has taught me something, even the difficult ones. Now that I am older, like you I feel what they feel and have great respect and empathy for them. Like I said at the beginning, keep going and do not fret or worry about it. Enjoy the ride of your life! You inspire me to keep going!

    • Jenny 04/29/2014, 6:50 am Reply

      She IS inspirational isn’t she?
      I have heard that Norma has since joined in leasing a horse and has found some like minded souls through this article – so go Norma!

  2. Paul W. Sloot 04/23/2014, 3:45 pm Reply

    Hi Norma!
    What a wonderful and incredible story! You’re not alone though! Not in being laughed at, not in being isolated without support in your neighbourhood, but also, but MUCH more important, not alone, because your horse friends will be with you along the way!!!

    Those “other people” do not have that privilege, won’t experience that unique feel of finding a true connection like you did. They will only find resistance….

    Many of us found this key to harmony too. That gift from the horses will only be given to those humans who really respect them. And thanks to Jenny and others who speak up, more and more people are waking up!
    All the best!!

  3. amanda 04/23/2014, 3:24 pm Reply

    Norma I am so glad you have found some sisters. At the moment we are holding hands in mind and heart. Soon as we grow, we will know there is someone just over the next hill and, from there, a short skip and jump to fingertips touching. We are so fortunate to have horses in our lives (and the internet!). Love and happiness in your journey. Amanda and Zephyrus

  4. Megan 04/23/2014, 1:30 pm Reply

    Norma, you are not alone in your quest to be better with (and for) horses. I have been around them since I was a child, and it took me a long time to find the horse-people I fit with. I always treated horses as individuals and that was often frowned upon. I thank my horses first for teaching me and then I thank people like Jenny who offer a different view of how we can be with horses.

  5. Norma Faith Rockman 04/23/2014, 12:52 pm Reply

    I feel so much love and support, thank you!! I know our like energies and kindred spirits DO make a difference in the universal herd. I am so, so happy we have all met, thank you Jenny for your wonderful website, and of course, Mark at I am not alone!!!!! I love you all, and the horses feel that love, I just know it. So great to have a place to express our hearts!!

  6. Narel 04/23/2014, 7:13 am Reply

    This is absolutely beautiful and so inspiring.
    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this and blessings to you Norma 🙂 from a kindred spirit x

  7. Corey 04/23/2014, 6:36 am Reply

    NORMA I LOVE YOU!!!!! What an inspiration you are to us ALL! I am THRILLED beyond measure you were able to find Jenny through her HorseConscious interview. I do so hope you will join our burgeoning group of like minded equestrians: I do believe you’ll find the support you’ve been missing. All the very best to you in your pursuits and thank you for totally making my day!!

  8. Caroline in Portugal 04/23/2014, 6:15 am Reply

    What an absolutely beautiful and heart felt message from you Norma… thank you sweet sweet lady, the horses hold you in courage and love, and the universal herd thank you xx

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