About Missy Wryn
Specializing in problem and dangerous horses, Missy Wryn is an internationally recognized Gentle Horse Trainer, author and clinician who pioneered the WHOLE horse approach and training methods on the foundation of DO NO HARM. From horse training to natural horse keeping Missy's acclaimed Training the Whole Horse® program teaches how to accomplish a safer relationship and deep rapport with horses without using fear, force or devices. As a speaker and clinician Missy provides her critically acclaimed Training the Whole Horse® workshops and presentations at horse expos, fairs, shows and private barns.
"98% of the problem and dangerous horses that come to me for training are in pain! From physical to emotional pain we must get to the source of behavior problems before arbitrarily training the horse. I will not be swayed from my position that GENTLE and BITLESS horse training methods make for a SAFER more responsive horse, and a relationship you've always dreamed of between you and your horse. To the status quo horse industry that uses force, pain and fear I say "WAKE UP the change is HERE! Understand there's no cosmic or woo woo about the effectiveness of GENTLE horse training. We stand united and will no longer tolerate the inhumane abuses. My motto is Problems are not always training issues!" Missy.
Member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators
Missy serves on the board of directors for Parrott Creek Child & Family Services and is Treasurer
Missy is a Frank Bell Accredited Instructor
Member of the American Paint Horse Association
Member of the Appaloosa Horse Club
Member of the American Horse Publications Association
a life restored by horses
Mine is the typical story of a middle class family that could not afford to buy their child a horse. But my parents did the next best thing by putting me into horse riding lessons at the age of 6. My earliest memory of being horse crazy is when I was 3 years old playing with my Breyer horses along with Jose and Jay cowboy and cowgirl action figures. I began riding lessons, learning dressage with my instructor Nancy Knapp who placed playing cards between my knees and demanded I post without stirrups. I was always the youngest in my dressage classes competing with grown-ups – I was expected to meet adult standards.
Two step-dads and three high schools later I had to give up dressage lessons and moved out of the house two months before graduating high school. I worked two jobs and continued high school graduating top 10 of my class.
Resuming horses in my life had to wait a couple years until I bought Mazda a Welsh/Arab cross that I kept in the backyard of the house I rented in SE Portland (unbeknownst to my landlord eeeeeh). I lived within the city limits so I obtained a livestock permit and had a lean-to built on the side of the garage for Mazda. Of course the neighbors complained so the local animal control officer would stop by every couple weeks to make an appearance while he enjoyed a beer at my kitchen table. Eventually my landlord found out about Mazda so I had to move him to the countryside where I spent evenings and weekends riding and hanging out.
That winter I started skiing at Mount Hood Meadows every Friday night. One fateful Friday night driving home from skiing I lost control of my car and crossed into oncoming traffic. A Suburban pulling a helicopter trailer hit my passenger side killing my boyfriend instantly while sending us off a cliff. When the paramedics arrived I had no signs of life and was pinned under the dashboard with the gear shift stuck in my ribs. An hour and a half later I awoke with the lights on in the cab and my boyfriend lying in the snow out the passenger door (in fatal car crashes bodies cannot be moved until the accident photographer arrives). I tried calling out to him, but I had no breath. I told myself not to panic, that I simply had the wind knocked out of me, but the paramedics heard my weak voice and clamored down the hillside. The Jaws of Life peeled back the cab as the rescue team pulled me through the rear window of my pick-up. I was placed on a Life-Flight helicopter with a blood pressure reading of 70 systolic and 0 (zero), no diastolic pressure.
At the hospital the doctors found that I had a collapsed lung, broken back, broken pelvis, and internal bleeding. Needless to say I was in a state that is called "fluttering"; I was fluttering between life and death. Though I was awake and conscious the entire time during the emergency room ordeal I was unable to receive any pain killers and EVERYTHING hurt!!! I remember choking on my own blood pointing to my mouth in a panic since I couldn't breathe so a tube was stuffed down my nose that I had to swallow, it was horrific. A needle poked beneath my belly button into my stomach made me scream in pain as the concerned physician peering through a scope into my stomach found 2/3 of my body's blood. I was rushed to surgery where I breathed deeply the sleeping gas hoping that I wouldn't wake up knowing my boyfriend was dead because of me (my liver was lacerated in 3 places).
There is so much more to the story like my boyfriend's parents suing me for millions, the people who hit my car sued me, I lost my business being forced to sell my shares for a $1 to my business partner, and ultimately my life was in ruins. I didn't "live" for many years grieving and blaming myself for killing my beloved friend - I didn't deserve to be loved is how I felt.
After the accident I had to sell my horse Mazda since I was now disabled and unable to stand upright for many months. With a broken pelvis I used a cane to walk, but had no car to drive to the grocery store and my business partner would not give me the keys to my motorcycle in fear I would kill myself. I was stranded, but friends and family made sure I had food and company from time to time. Eventually my physician released me to ride a bicycle so I had wheels for awhile until I finally got my motorcycle keys, but then the motorcycle was stolen just a month later – was anything going to ever get better?
Years went by as I started my life over determined to be independent, never relying on anyone since I found out the hard way people could be cruel and untrustworthy, at least that's how I felt for many many years. I climbed the corporate ladder earning the title of Vice President at two Oregon corporations during my career. At the age of 26 I gave birth to my first son and four years later my second son. I had a need to bare those two boys that words cannot describe - it was like a ton of bricks lay on my back and chest until I finally gave in to the Universal pressure of having a child. I thought I was unfit to have children both physically and emotionally which is why I held off so long. I tell my boys "you have a purpose that is greater than my understanding".
I bought my first house in Portland, Oregon and five years later it doubled in value so I moved to the country to live my dream of having horses again while raising my sons in the expansive natural world. There in the countryside I met my beloved, my husband Ken. He is a gifted Luthier (www.NWLutes.com), artist and craftsman who devoted every day to realizing my dreams by putting up fences, building me a barn and subsequently a training arena. After seven years of living in the country I was finally able to bring horse’s home…..
Once I bought a couple horses and brought them home magical experiences began to manifest in my life. At first I rode my horses the way I had been taught all those dressage years. I used bits and spurs, crops and whips, but I could never get that loving bonded connection with my horses duh...... I couldn't figure out why my horses seemed distant and just wanted to go back to the barn rebuffing my affections. I rode with command and control as I was taught, but when it came time to just "be" with my horses they didn't want anything to do with me. I was heart broken, but determined to figure out what I was doing wrong so I set out on a quest to find a better way. I heard about Bitless Bridles which gave a new meaning to the word "whoa". "Hmmmm" I thought "I can ride bitless so long as I can stop my horse", thinking that's all I needed to do to make my horses happy with me. But that only frustrated my horses more since the crossing straps under the chin wouldn't release when I released pressure on the reins. I had to bend down and stick my finger under my horse’s chin to loosen the straps while my horse was tossing her head violently. There had to be a better way!!
I kept searching and finally came across Frank Bell along with Sylvia Scott who was affiliated with Frank at that time. I bought Frank's DVD "The Horse You Never Knew" and I was hooked, this was it for me. I was so inspired by Frank's methods while Sylvia lent her unending advice and expertise, that I became an Accredited Instructor of Frank Bell. Once I started applying these new found methods my horses responded in kind by relaxing, behaving and trusting me. I was no longer hurting them into submission, but now speaking their language, being gentle and treating them as a Sentient Being and they in turn were affectionate, responsive, soft and playful - the long awaited friend they were waiting for me to be..............
I expanded on Frank's methods coming up with a Do No Harm approach which I trademarked & produced my own video series Training the Whole Horse®, (watch hours of Training the Whole Horse® FREE - no log-in, no sign-up, no kidding >>WATCH HERE). I travel the country as a clinician at horse expos and private barns demonstrating my training and communication techniques along with my creation the All-In-One Bitless Bridle. My quest is to bring awareness that you don't need a bit to trail ride safely and that most problem horses are simply in physical and/or emotional pain. My preferred trail riding saddle is an English Wintec All-Purpose which allows me an independent seat and to get very close to my horse when ducking low lying branches in the enchanted forest that is just right across the street from my home and indoor arena.