Thomas Smittle and Banner
Thomas began to gentle and saddle-start mustangs at the Saddle Horse Training Program at Stewart Conservation Camp Carson City, NV, in 2009,under the tutelage of Hank Curry, who encouraged him to excel.
Aside from learning the skill of gentling wild horses, Thomas learned many important life skills, responsibility, consistency, congruence of thoughts, feelings and actions, connection over control and honest and respectful communication. Thomas currently is a HIP/HIGH clinician for Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue teaching these important skills to men/women combat Veterans that suffer with PTSD, TBI, Drug and Alcohol Dependency. Because of his excellent horsemanship skills, Thomas was hired by Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue in the spring of 2011 as a horse trainer. Thomas believes that mustangs are an excellent partner in helping those that suffer the after effects of various types of trauma. Thomas was also asked to join the Red Horse Nation staff to help provide Horse Inspired Growth and Healing workshops for Native Youth. He has now been promoted to Executive Director of Red Horse Nation, a program of BIG Heart Ranch (501c3). Thomas also conducts Wild Horses and Warriors Retreat for veterans and managed a 1,400 mile horse ride from Fort Reno, OK, to Lame Deer, Montana, to commemorate the Cheyenne Exodus.
Thomas recently moved to Custer, SD, from Nevada and was encouraged by his wife, who is an equine veterinarian, to join the challenge to demonstrate his brand of natural horsemanship and get involved in the local equine community.