Road to the Horse is proud to welcome the International Liberty Horse Association (ILHA) to the Cowtown Coliseum. ILHA is the original and only recognized association for the Liberty discipline. ILHA was founded by world renowned Liberty Trainer, Dan James and his wife Elizabeth to promote the liberty discipline and celebrate liberty training, horses, trainers, and fans everywhere.
On Thursday March 25, immediately following the Wild Card clinics, Dan & Elizabeth James will be conducting a Introduction to Liberty Clinic. The liberty clinic will provide fans with insight into how to start your horse at liberty, as well as performances by these five talented liberty trainers:
Melissa Barnett – Flower Mound, Texas
Melissa started her journey in the Liberty Discipline in December 2019. She immediately was hooked after attending her first clinic, and couldn’t wait to continue learning with her horses. Since then, she has become a member of the ILHA and the Southwest Liberty Horse Club and loves to compete and try new things with her liberty horses. Melissa first learned with her mustang gelding, Jamaican Me Marley, and couldn’t wait to add her other gelding, Holy Smokes to the team! Learning to communicate with horses at liberty is her favorite experience in the horse industry so far and has greatly improved her overall horsemanship and relationship with her horses. Liberty training has given Melissa something new and challenging to do with her horses and introduced her to some really wonderful, supportive people. It’s a community that Melissa is proud to be a part of.
Candace Snow – Aubrey, Texas
Candace Snow is working with her Quarter Horse, Cayenne. She started riding at 6 and continued through her teens. She took a break for about 30 years then saw Dan James perform and knew she wanted to learn more about Liberty. She loves the Liberty discipline because it lets her horses express their personality but still stay tuned into cues. Liberty has transformed her relationship with Cayenne as it taught them to trust and listen to each other. The International Liberty Horse Association lets her compete in disciplined patterns and have fun with the freestyle class.
Patrick Sullivan – Collinsville, Texas
At 26 years old, Patrick took his first horsemanship lesson in March 2015. He did not grow up around horses, nor was he passionate about them until much later in life. Patrick grew up in Dallas, TX but was not involved with horses, instead had a passion for soccer. He played high school, collegiate, and professional soccer. Patrick coached collegiate soccer for 4 years starting in 2011, and was the head soccer coach for a high school. In 2015, Patrick graduated with his MBA in International Management from the University of Houston- Victoria. Once Patrick found horses in 2015, he was hooked. He was constantly learning and wanting to develop his skills. Over the past 6 years, he has accomplished as much as he could have ever imagined in such a short period of time. During the 6 years, Patrick has done the following:
- Completed Parelli Level 4 within a year and a half with the horse he started, Gami.
- Studied and interned with Ryan Rose, professional Brooklyn, WI.
- Worked with Dan James, of DDH since 2019. Since then has competed in the Mustang Makeover (TX), finishing Top 20 and 2nd in the newcomers.
- Finished Second in the Freestyle Pro Division in the ILHA Championships last October.
- Current Judging Coordinator for the International Liberty Horse Association
Patrick and Gamilah, will be traveling from California to Kentucky, riding completely at Liberty, bareback and bridleless. Doing so all in the name of charity and liberty, while giving back to people and horses! Journey Begins: April 16, 2021
Elliot and Caitie Holtzman – Gainesville, Texas
Elliot and Caitie Holtzman own and operate Versatile Horsemanship, LLC. Together as a team they host clinics and teach lessons, along with offering colt starting and training for versatile performance horses. Elliot grew up trail riding and learning some basic jumping. Caitie grew up at AQHA shows and saddle club playdays. Both have been past competitors in the Extreme Mustang Makeover, and have more recently competed in Ranch Horse Versatility. Elliot and Caitie have become accomplished competitors within the International Liberty Horse Association since its inaugural event in 2019. Caitie was the 2020 Freestyle Champion in the Pro Division as well as overall with her team of horses. They are excited to be stepping into the Reined Cow Horse and Reining disciplines in 2021. Elliot and Caitie both continue to study under more accomplished horsemen and aim to incorporate their formal and informal educations and experience into their horsemanship. Caitie is a graduate of North Central Texas College’s Equine Program and Texas A&M University—Commerce’s Agriculture Science Bachelor’s and Master’s program. Elliot is a 2014 recipient of the Legacy of Legends Scholarship. Along with their horse training business, Elliot and Caitie also manage the Southwest Liberty Horse Club; which is an active chapter of the International Liberty Horse Association. Caitie is also the Club Coordinator for the International Liberty Horse Association, and both are carded judges within the association.