26 June 2023

Training tool to assist horse owners remotely

| Gail Eastaway
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Cherry Tree Equine now has a virtual tool for horse owners.

Michelle O’Neill of Cherry Tree Equine has developed a virtual training tool to help horse owners. Photo: Gail Eastaway.

Being a horse rider or owner can be very rewarding, but occasionally taking that extra step to improve confidence and knowledge can be a great idea.

It doesn’t need to be a problem to be solved – sometimes getting out of your comfort zone and into an arena with an instructor can provide a wealth of knowledge, assurance and confidence.

Which is where Michelle O’Neill of Cherry Tree Equine (CTE) can help.

CTE was founded by Michelle in 2010, with the aim to help people enjoy their horses more by forming a strong bond with them.

CTE is a family business located south of Canberra, east of Bredbo. Everyone involved in CTE has spent their life working with and training horses in every discipline from dressage to campdrafting and barrel racing.

Each of them working on the land, horses, and livestock have always been important and great educators.

Michelle has been involved with horses her whole life; growing up on the family farm there has been an endless supply of ponies and horses. Learning stock work with her father, Michael, and then progressing to Pony Club at Adaminaby and Cooma, helped develop Michelle’s love of horses from a young age.

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While at Pony Club, Michelle participated in everything from dressage to sporting and jumping, tent pegging to showing.

From these experiences, she developed a strong interest in dressage, and after several years of dressage competition, Michelle changed tack and started rodeoing, specialising in barrel racing and steer undecorating.

It was the love of the calm temperament of the Quarter Horse, and her interest in breeding true all-round competitors, that led her to start breeding her own horses to compete on.

Michelle has been known to compete beyond the rodeo arena in such things as campdrafting, western pleasure, reining and showing at halter.

An experienced educator, Michelle teaches clinics across the country and at her home.

Now, however, she has taken her courses to another level, launching Cherry Tree Virtual (CTV).

Living as remotely as she does, Michelle understands the problems of getting horses and all their associated paraphernalia to a clinic.

CTV solves that problem, allowing horse folk to access Michelle’s wisdom and advice from the convenience of their own paddocks or stables, anywhere in the world.

Michelle sees this new service as a means to support her existing clients as well as a means to contact new ones who may have difficulty getting to an in-person clinic.

Michelle said she fully understood how the tyranny of distance could impede attendance at a clinic, for people living in rural and remote areas.

“I am excited that CTV will make horse training more accessible and affordable for more horse owners.

“Instead of spending time and money transporting horses and kit to a clinic, horse owners will be able to switch on their computer and learn at a day and time that suits them.

CTV has been professionally filmed and edited and will launch with more than 200 videos. All aspects of horse training will be covered, from the basics of horse care through to training exercises and programs.

Michelle has drawn on her lifetime of experience and developed content that will improve the skills of all horse people, with no particular discipline targeted.

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CTV is available via subscription and comes with a variety of discounts and offers, for $25 per month.

Michelle certainly enjoys her work – she genuinely gets a thrill out of assisting people to become more confident, more relaxed riders.

Michelle writes training articles for the Australian Performance Horse Magazine.

She previously had her own question and answer column in the very popular HorseWyse Magazine called “Ask Michelle” which helped people with their horse problems.

She is the co-producer of the DVD Please … Can I Have A Pony, which was produced by Cherry Tree Equine and HorseWyse Magazine.

Michelle has been a presenter at Equitana since 2012, first with the Equitana HorseWyse Kids Interactive in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and then in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2022 as a presenter in her own right. She has presented topics such as “Finding Your Ideal Equine Partner” and “Happy Trails”.

Michelle’s clinics cover three basic principles – consistency, control and confidence.

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