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Because of Horses

Feb 8, 2019

Elise’s guest this episode is Sandy Collier: acclaimed international judge, clinician and member of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. Sandy’s analytical approach to training and reputation for consistency in both practice and show pens has resulted in a 50-year career studded with success. 

Sandy grew up in the Northeast riding three-day event horses, but fell in love with 

Western riding after landing in California in the mid-1970s. There, she worked for Doug 

Ingersoll and Tom Shelly, and began to compete on Quarter Horses in the California 

Reined Cow Horse Association. By the early 80s, she was running a training program of 

her own. 


Sandy’s competitive success grew quickly, with multiple AQHA and National Reined 

Cow Horse Association World Championships (NRCHA) among her notable results. In 

1993, riding Miss Rey Dry, she became the first and only woman to win the NRCHA 

Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship, regarded as the world’s toughest cow horse 



With lifetime earnings of nearly $1 million, Sandy has been inducted into both the 

Cowgirl and NRCHA Hall of Fame and Horse and Rider named her one of the Top 50 

Riders of All Time in All Disciplines. 


Sandy continues to positively impact the Western horse community through her clinics, 

training videos and book, “Reining Essentials.” In 2017, Sandy and Barbra Schulte 

teamed up to found “Be Unstoppable,” offering clinics and retreats to help equestrians 

overcome challenges in reaching their riding and personal goals. With a deep-seated 

love of the sport and a drive for constant improvement, Sandy is well known for her ability to find what works for the horse – no matter the discipline – to become their best. 


In this episode, Sandy talks about her deep love for horses and how they have inspired her life path; her thoughts on being inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, as well as receiving so many other prestigious awards; how her clinics and retreats are structured, and what participants should expect from each; Sandy’s special horses-of-a-lifetime; and her observations from travelling the world. She also gives her advice to those who are either taking their first steps in pursuing their passion or are at a crossroads in that pursuit. 


Topics of Discussion: 

[:18] About Elise’s guest today, Sandy Collier. 

[1:44] Sandy speaks about the path her life has taken as she’s pursued building a career around horses. 

[2:50] What it is about horses that speaks to her so deeply. 

[5:10] Was Sandy the only person in her family that had a deep love for horses? 

[6:25] Looking back on her career, Sandy reflects on her transition from riding English to riding Western. 

[8:54] Sandy explains the Reined Cow Horse discipline. 

[12:25] Considering that Sandy is competing in disciplines that have traditionally been dominated by men, has gender ever been an issue? 

[14:35] Up-and-coming female riders Sandy thinks have a shot at being the next champion of the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity. 

[15:22] Elise reads a quote from the author, Joyce Gibson Roach, and Sandy explains how the sentiment inspires her. 

[16:59] About some of Sandy’s amazing accomplishments outside the horse world. 

[19:04] Sandy gives some advice for those who are either taking their first steps in pursuing their passion or are at a crossroads. 

[21:24] Sandy’s thoughts on being inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and being included among these talented and inspirational women. 

[22:45] What horses mean to Sandy both personally and professionally, and how they’ve guided her life. 

[25:02] Sandy speaks about her special horses-of-a-lifetime. 

[29:47] Sandy and Elise address some horse myths. 

[31:22] Sandy’s observations on horse people as she has traveled the world. 

[32:25] About the retreats and clinics Sandy and Barbra Schulte run together. 

[37:05] About next week’s episode of Because of Horses. 

[37:40] Sandy talks about the mental and personal skill set that is essential to participants in her retreats and clinics. 

[40:47] Where to learn more about Sandy and her work. 


Know Someone Inspirational, Whose Life Has Been Forever Changed Because of Horses? Because of Horses would love to get to share their story! 

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Mentioned in this Episode: 

Sandy Collier 

Horse and Rider 

National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) 

Cowgirl Hall of Fame 

The Cowgirls, by Joyce Gibson Roach 

Donna Barton Brothers 

Because of Horses’ episode, “Distinguished Former Jockey and Accomplished TV Correspondent, Donna Barton Brothers” 

A Parent’s Guide to Riding Lessons: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive with a Horse-Loving Kid, by Elise Chand 

United States Pony Club 

Barbra Schulte 

Because of Horses’ episode, “The Cutting Edge: NCHA Champion and Trainer, Barbra Schulte” 

Barb & Sandy’s Clinics and Riding Retreats (Be Unstoppable) 

Barb & Sandy’s Clinics and Riding Retreats’ Facebook page (Be Unstoppable) 

Next week’s episode of Because of Horses 


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