One valuable part of the riding program at Stormwalker Ranch are “Schooling Shows”. Utilizing the discipline of “Cowboy Dressage®”, Schooling Shows are learning competitions that we conduct three or four times a year to assist our Riders and Instructors in benchmarking their progress. The shows afford Riders an opportunity to receive friendly, professional feedback from an experienced judge, sometimes even in the midst of the riding test. Think of it like height marks on your door jam.

Our June Schooling Show consisted of 28 rides of various tests (riding patterns and maneuvers). As a result, there were awarded: 9 Blue ribbons (72-79 points), 13 Red ribbons (63-71 points), 3 White ribbons (54-62 points), and 1 Green ribbon (> 53 points). To get a little more of a “what it’s like” perspective, see “It’s Showtime” below.

Debra Wheaton


“But they who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles.  They will run and not be weary. They will walk and not grow faint.”      – Isaiah 40:31

This well-known version out of the Old Testament book of Isaiah can often be seen on posters and wall-hangings, but it’s also one of my favorite Bible verses. So, I would like to explore the meaning of the word “wait”.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines wait as “to stay in place” or “in expectation of”. In Hebrew, the word for wait (qavah) translates “to bind together, like twisting strands” or “to look patiently”.

So what exactly does it mean to “wait upon the Lord”? Do we sit on the floor and do nothing until God “speaks”? Do we pursue other interests until God specifically redirects us? Determining just what it means for each one of us has been the topic of sincere discussion and debate for generations.

It seems clear that we should “wait with expectation”. It is an active waiting with a sense of anticipation. This coupled with preparation (Bible study) and communication with God (prayer) assures that we will not allow ourselves to move ahead and act on our own thoughts, emotions, or intentions. While we are “waiting on Him”, we are to bind together with God (our loving Father), the Lord Jesus Christ (our holy Savior), and the Holy Spirit (our Comforter) like twisting strands which will make us stronger. This will allow us to know Him better and to be led by Holy Spirit. 

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
– Ecclesiastes 4:12

Ask yourself: “Am I aware of when I am making self-guided decisions rather than waiting on the Lord?”

Harmoni Erhardt


As an instructor, lots of things go through my mind first thing on the day of a Show. Are my students ready? Did I do a good enough job preparing them? And, so on. Then the kids arrive and the best part of my job happens, I get to be a cheerleader and a fan.  It is an instructor’s job to teach them to ride and how to be safe. But you also must teach them that it’s okay to be nervous–or even scared. The important things is to get on your horse, do your best, and go have some fun no matter what.

I had quite a few “firsts” in this past schooling show (featured above).  It was either a rider’s first time showing ever, or they were showing a new horse.  I always remind them that it is important to relax and enjoy, because they are going to be great, and that I will be there to cheer them on.

It’s showtime!  As rider and horse warm up, I am there with a little tension-easing charm and encouragement.  We talk through the test once again and away they go. This is when I say a little prayer, “God, please let – Sackett, Esse, Lola, or other lesson horse – be a good partner today.” It’s out of my hands, but not His. Once again you become their cheerleader, and, as most of you know, my kids have no problem hearing me 😉

A couple of circles, hopefully. Some straight lines and a few stops–Geometry is hard. Then, in a blink, the test is over. I always instantly morph into my students’ biggest fan. They did it! They overcame their nerves and nailed it!  When they meet me at “A” I am so excited to see their smile of victory!  We instantly start talking about what went right. (We have loads of time in lessons to fix what went wrong.) I want them to always find the positive aspects of their dedication and effort.

I am proud of each and every Stormwalker Rider! You all did an amazing job. It is always a pleasure to watch and be there to cheer you on!



Hello, everyone, my name is Guns Gotta Surprise, but most people know me as Gunner. And I wanted to take a little time to tell you about myself.

I have had a pretty interesting start to my life. I was bred to be a “reining horse”, but through a series of unfortunate events my trainer lost track of me, So, I was sent off to the roping pens, and I worked real hard there. When the reining trainer realized what had happened and how hard I had been working, it was already too late for me to become a reining horse. So, a life of charging in to lasso cattle was not meant to be. 

I was put up for sale and Mr. Scott (Clay) found me and gave me a new home and a fresh purpose. And I am sure glad he did! I can’t think of a better place to end up than here at Stormwalker Ranch. Initially, I was turned out for a while, but when the call came, I was brought in and put to work helping kids learn more about horses, themselves, and our Creator. 

Over the last few years, though, I’ve started having trouble with my hocks. I have been injected, but nothing seemed to work. Enter Tracie Audette. She is a great lady who helps me with my hock problems. She has this machine called an “Acuscope” which helps stimulate the blood supply and oxygen going to the affected area on my body. In other words, the machine stimulates my body to help God’s natural healing work. I really love the treatments. They really help. 

When I told my good friend and neighbor Badger about the treatments and how much Tracie has helped me, he started getting the treatments for his left hip too. And I gotta tell ya, they sure are helping him as well.

It just goes to show you that God is always with you; He has a plan for your life. You won’t always know what that plan is, but if you trust in Him, you will end up right where you are supposed to be.

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” – Jeremiah 29:11

Thanks ya’ll for reading my story!


Koby Pierce has been riding at Stormwalker Ranch for some time now. A year ago, Koby’s family grew by two daughters when they welcomed two foreign exchange students into their home. Koby was excited to share his new sisters, Femke (from Germany) and Lili (from Spain), with his Stormwalker family as they enrolled in riding lessons for the year they were in the U.S.

At the end of their year together, Koby had to say a tearful auf wiedersehen to Femke as he and his parents took flight to Barcelona, Spain where they meet Lili’s family and were immersed into the culture of España. They went to a “county fair” in Cambrils, the beach near Montblanc, and explored an ancient Roman Coliseum. On the way home, they even spent a day in Geneva, Switzerland.

Both Femke and Lili will be greatly missed by their riding instructors and SWR staff. We wish them the best in the next chapters of their lives, which hopefully will include the opportunity to continue their riding.

“Hosting a student from another country is extremely rewarding. Lili (Spain) and Femke (Germany) have been amazing additions to our family. They will forever be our daughters. It has been so fun to show the love our God to these girls and their families. Opening your home can be vulnerable and scary, but God has really worked through this experience to open our hearts in ways we never expected.” – Lanae Pierce


July 02-06 – Normal except closed on 4th

July 09-13 – Normal schedule

July 16-20 – NO LESSONS

July 23-27 – Normal schedule

Heat Cancellation Policy  – “A temperature or heat index of 99 or above is recommended to cancel lessons at the discretion of the head instructor onsite. A temperature or heat Index of 105 or above is required to cancel lessons.



4H State Finals – Each 4-H district could qualify ten riders per event at their district shows, so most classes had thirty riders competing at the State level. Ribbons were given to the top 10 riders. Campbell Craig placed 3rd in Intermediate Trail, 8th in Intermediate Showmanship, and 8th in Intermediate Horsemanship. Quincie Walls placed 9th in Intermediate Horsemanship.

Quincy Walls and Campbell Craig

July 12-15: Little Mermaid – Come watch a couple of our riders, Emma Perry and Kaylee Morris in this Bartlesville Children’s Musical Theater production. [details]

July 4: Independence Day – (1776) “…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” (Declaration of Independence)

July 17-19: Hoofbeats – We welcome Middle Schoolers from “On the Rock Ministries” (Bartlesville, OK) Ministries out for our first overnight-camp.


July 7: Bono – He has been riding at SWR for about a year and a half. He always brightens our day with his contagious happiness. Happy 14th!

July 15: Caroline – She has been at the barn for almost two years, we have enjoyed watching her grow into a beautiful, confident rider. Happy 9th!

July 18: Sarynna – She has been riding for a year, and has already shown in two schooling shows!  Happy 13th birthday and welcome to a great crop of teenagers here at the barn!


Not in front, not behind, but beside

When leading your horse, you should always lead from alongside the neck, with both of you facing the same direction.  You don’t want your horse to be behind or in front of you for various reasons. If you are too far in front and it spooks, you are right in a pathway to get hurt.  If your horse is too far in front of you, effectively letting the horse lead you, you run the risk of being knocked off your feet and drug. Therefore, always remember, horses are big animals with minds of their own, so in partnership, take charge and be the leader.

– Safe and Happy Trails, Harmoni and Valerie

Stormwalker Ranch’s Generation Ride: riding lesson programs for 8-80 years old, beginners through advanced. Each rider is connected with a skilled trainer and one of our well-trained horses. Our philosophy is “soft feel”, seeking to produce partnership between horse and rider.

Our instructors are among the best in the field and have a great command of both disciplines. We teach riding from the standpoint of implementing a posture of “soft feel” and “light hands” as opposed to using mechanics and fear to get what we need from the horse.

PARTNERS – Scholarship Program

I have been retired from Learn on Demand Systems since January 1st and I love my retirement. I also love my new job as the Executive Director of Stormwalker Ranch. My days are filled joy and laughter as I work with our staff. I spend my days facilitating for our Ranch Operations Team with what they need to support our horses and facilities. I also have the joy of working with our Program and Outreach teams on the programs we are developing and delivering at Stormwalker Ranch.

The part of my job that I love the most is building up partnerships for the Ranch. We are building a great team of volunteers without whom little would be possible. We are also building financial partnerships to help offset the costs of our growing ranch programs. As I meet with partners, I am often asked about our priorities and what I would claim as our first priority. The buildings and facilities will come in time but our greatest priority is our Scholarship program. We offset the cost of roughly 60 lessons per week. If you are looking for ways to support the Ranch, I would encourage you to consider sponsoring our riders. 

Daily we are seeing the difference our horses, staff and programs are making in the lives of people!

Our goal is 10,000 USD per month. Please consider your role in helping us meet that goal.

Phyllis Scott
Executive Director

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