"One thing that I have noticed about Dale's riding students is that they all have a way about them of poise and class in how they treat each other as well as how they handle their horses. Having ridden and worked with Dale and watched her coach, I know that the class and poise that I see in her students is a reflection of her teaching. She's always quick to give praise and affirmation at just the right time. Combine this with her understanding of the horse, as well as her calm affirming way of bringing her riders along, and you really have an environment for growth. "
~ Lester J. Buckley ~ Buckley Sport Horses
"Whenever people suggest to me that today's children are not as interested in riding lessons and horses as they once were, I tell them that those children just haven't met Dale Rumens-Partee and her crew of people and horses at Western Sky Horsemanship. Dale's program should stand as the model for a wholesome, humane, versatile, safe, and fun way to learn about horses and horseback riding. Her unflagging enthusiasm for all aspects of the horse experience never diminishes. Dale is truly one in a million, and she understands in her heart that the future of the horse industry resides in our children."
Far Field Farm
My daughter, Claire, now age seven, began lessons with Dale and Mckenzie in May of 2012, and I wouldn't think of having her ride with anyone else. Dale and her team are professional, warm, and patient. My heart is at ease every time Claire rides because I know that the teachers at Western Sky Horsemanship put safety first, and because Dale's horses are so gentle and well-trained. Claire loves the horses and her teachers, and has found riding to be confidence-building, athletic, and fun. I would recommend WSH to any parent of a young rider.
"I've been riding with WSH since June 2009. And over the past years I have had tons of fun learning all there is to know about riding and natural horsemanship. When I first started riding with WSH I knew absolutely nothing about horses. And now, I can confidently say that I am an all around horseman.
I have been in weekly lessons ever since I started with WSH, and in addition for the past 3 years I have been leasing various WSH horses. The thing about WSH is that they will always be there to challenge you, and push you out of your comfort zone, all in a fun and safe learning environment.
Along with lessons, WSH offers many opportunities such as overnight clinics, trail riding, ranch roping, English schooling shows, Cowboy Dressage shows, and trail competitions. All of which have grown my horsemanship, confidence, and versatility even further. Looking back at where I started, and where I am now it's amazing to see how much I've grown.
Lastly, WSH is such an open and inviting environment that is always thinking about what's best for the rider and horse, I couldn't even begin to imagine riding with anyone other than WSH."
Jadon Schiller, age (18)
After starting to ride with WSH and Dale when I was only three years old, introduced to the program through her annual summer camps than later pursuing private lessons, Dale has become more than just a horse instructor, she has become family. The highlight of every single week is getting to go up to the barn to ride, see the horses, Dale, and McKenzie. I’ve been riding with Dale and McKenzie for over half my life, and I feel privilege to be in their program. Not only have they taught me how to respect a horse while earning the horses’ respect in return, but the lessons of responsibility, maturity, and how to be in sync with something bigger than myself, a horse. All the while, I feel completely safe. Never once have I felt uncomfortable in the arena working with Dale or McKenzie, they are easy to talk to and very relatable. Besides that, they are outstanding people, role models. My entire life, I have looked up to these two women and everything they have ever taught me. I have always wished to grow up and someday be just like them. While the barn is over an hour drive from my house, every minute is worth it. Dale’s program is safe, action packed, full of memorable moments, and definitely worth it. Throughout my entire life, riding with Dale and McKenzie at WSH has always been something I can count on, a place/time where nothing else matters, not school or friends, only the horse I am working with, learning from, and the time spent with some of the most important people in my life is all I can focus on. Western Sky Horsemanship is a safe haven, my home.
-Jamie Krueger (14)
Before finding Western Sky Horsemanship in the fall of 2013, I had only experienced the “ride around in circles” method of horseback riding. I felt completely disconnected when in the saddle, and could never figure out why I just couldn’t get in sync with the horses that I was riding. What I came to realize is that my various riding experiences throughout the years had only scratched the surface when it came to what goes into a long-lasting partnership with a horse, and what it takes to be a true horseman/woman.
That all changed when I met Dale. I can honestly say that I learned more in my first two hour lesson with her than I had in all the lessons, trail rides, and clinics I had experienced in my life combined.
Within the first month of training, I gained confidence in my skills and a holistic view of what a true partnership with a horse means. At the same time, it made me realize how utterly lacking so many lesson programs are, and how rare (and wonderful!) Western Sky Horsemanship is. Dale and McKenzie’s focus on “feeling of” a horse (i.e. connecting with and tapping into their signals) give you the tools to be able to succeed in any situation you find yourself in, NOT just in an arena setting.
Along with regular lessons at the barn, one of the unique and amazing things about the Western Sky family is the opportunity to get out in the world - I’ve had the opportunity to go on trail rides, attend clinics with industry experts, and this summer will be taking my first trip to Montana - on horseback!
In working with Dale and McKenzie, I’ve learned how to read a horse’s expression, synchronize my movements in the saddle with the horse’s feet, and practice safe riding and ground work at all times to keep myself and other riders out of harm’s way. Looking back, I can’t even imagine trying to approach a horse (let alone ride one) without the valuable lessons I’ve learned from Western Sky.
Because of the confidence I gained through riding with Dale and McKenzie, I was recently able to buy my first horse, Jessie! Without the support and dedication from Dale, McKenzie, and all the other riders at Western Sky, it’s a step I never would have been able to take. Owning a horse is an unbelievable joy (that I highly recommend if you are ready for it!), but requires an incredible amount of learning in a short period of time, and Western Sky has been there for me every step of the way. Having Jessie in a regular training program along with continuing lessons for my own riding has enabled me to feel supported, safe, and has given me the freedom to really experience the joy of the journey!
If you are looking for a supportive environment to learn everything there is to know about riding, working, and connecting with horses, you’ve found it. Western Sky Horsemanship is by far the best program there is - I can’t say enough about how profound of an impact it’s had on my life and my knowledge of horses. Stop reading this and schedule your first lesson now! :)
My daughter, Alexa, has been taking riding lessons with Dale and McKenzie since she was seven years old (2009). I've watched her progress from a little kid into a real rider. She loves working with both Dale and McKenzie, and I love watching her grow as a person.
One of the things I really love about Dale and McKenzie is their love: for the kids they teach, for their horses, and for the parents who often make sacrifices to give their kids this chance. It's obvious to anyone that they take great care of their horses and that their horses feel safe and loved at all times. Their first priority for kids and horses alike is safety. As a parent, that's really important. I feel like Alexa is as safe riding the horses as she is riding her bike at home.
If you have a child that loves horses and is interested in riding, you couldn't find better instructors than Dale and McKenzie. I'm so glad we found them!
We started training with Dale after two horrible experiences with other trainers. Cody loved horses from a very young age and was thrilled when she started lessons. After a horrifying accident, we were afraid that Cody would be too fearful to ride again. Luckily, we found Dale. Not only did she help Cody regain her confidence, but she increased Cody’s love for riding by helping her discover how to create the bond between horse and rider.
Always a shy person, Cody’s self-assurance grew as her riding improved. What was astounding was that this new-found confidence also became evident in her daily interactions. As a high school student, we were fearful that Cody would struggle and be lost in the social challenges that teens often face. We have been pleasantly surprised at Cody’s poise and composure as she navigates through school, and it has been wonderful to watch her blossom. Cody now competes in Hunt Seat and has done quite well. Her new endeavor is to also compete in Western Dressage, and we know that under Dale’s tutelage, Cody will have a wonderful experience. Dale emphasizes that it is the experience that one gains, not the ribbons that are won, that is important. It is a wonderful lesson for Cody to learn and through all the ups and downs of competing Cody has learned that as much fun as it is to win a ribbon, it is OK to lose. She knows that one can survive disappointments and that it is not the prize that matters but building the skills that really counts. These are not just horsemanship skills that Cody learns these are wonderful life’s lessons. Thank you, Dale, for all that you do!
Arlene and Thor Angle
My daughter has been taking lessons with McKenzie for close to a year and we are so impressed with how much she has learned and how much her confidence has grown. Thanks to both Dale and McKenzie for their patience, focus on safety, ground work, and care of horses Eden's passion for horses continues to grow.
I've been riding with WSH for three years now and I absolutely love it. I feel safer and I'm not a naturally confident person, but riding with them has helped me in many ways including with school. McKenzie and my Aunt Dale, (yes, Aunt), are very supportive of every student who joins in on the fun learning we do. I do not get anything extra just because she's my Aunt. Everyone is treated equally and fairly. Everyone rides at different skill levels and the instructors respect that and they listen to what students have to say. WSH is like a second family to me and I love all of those who are there supporting everyone else. The people involved not only care for each other, but for the horses as well. The horses are well cared for and gentle with kids. There are horses for all skills and needs. WSH also does fun clinics and overnight trips. One clinic is the cow clinic. It was so much fun and learned many more things; we learned how to track and turn the cows, and how to cut one from the herd, turn it, and bring it back. WSH is a great environment to learn and have fun!
Kacie Rumens (14)
Western Sky Horsemanship has given me many opportunities to learn and grow as a person and as a rider. I have enjoyed working with many different horses. Each horse has a different range of skill, sensitivity, and a distinct personality which allows the rider to learn several different things from each horse. Dale does an amazing job challenging both the horse and rider by putting them in different situations in order to experience a large verity of opportunities that the rider can apply when working with any horse. A unique thing about WSH is that Dale and McKenzie teach groundwork, which is a distinguishing factor from other barns. Working on the ground before riding gives both the horse and rider an opportunity to get a feel for each other and the rider an opportunity to understand what work needs to be done under saddle. Another distinguishing factor, that I have really valued, is the ability to ride and learn for fun without being surrounded by a super competitive, show environment. That being said, riders who want to show are still able to prepare and compete for multiple events throughout the year. Over the past 10 years riding has been a big part of my life, due to the guidance and training I have received from Dale and Western Sky Horsemanship.
Started: October 2004
“This is our 4th year with Western Sky Horsemanship. It’s become our family date on Friday nights to hang out at the barn and watch Libby ride. I knew within 5 minutes of watching Dale teach at the Pony Camp that this program was different than any of the other places we’d tried. She and McKenzie have been an amazing influence on Libby….teaching her to love and respect the horses, how to be safe while riding, and what it means to be a part of a team at the horse shows. The kids encourage each other and root each other on and they’re taught that it’s not about winning a ribbon as much as about having fun riding and treating your horse with respect. Dale and McKenzie teach the kids to ride correctly and safely, but always with encouragement and support. As a parent, I couldn’t ask for better role-models for my daughter. We’re hoping to be a part of this family for as long as they’ll let us hang around them!”
“I love riding horses more than anything! Everybody is really nice to me, including the horses. ☺ I love the way that Dale and McKenzie teach me. I’m learning, but it’s a fun way to learn!”
“I loved horses from the time I was 7 years old, and my wife’s family owned horses when she was growing up. When Libby started showing an interest in horses people said “All little girls love horses. It’s just a phase”. I knew that one thing would be different for Libby. Her parents would encourage her love of horses. When she started lessons with Dale and McKenzie, I thought I would get to help out a bit. Maybe I’d get to help with the grooming, maybe lift the saddle… Nope. Libby wanted to do it all. So after watching her for a couple of years, I said “Why should she have all the fun?” So I started my own lessons with Dale and McKenzie. They are both wonderful teachers for adults. Riding seems to have become more complicated than it was when I was a kid. They have helped me understand not only what I need to do, but also why I need to do it. Libby and I have now taken 1 riding trip together with them and I hope for many more.”
Not being a spring chicken, I did something crazy and bought a green broke horse and I was green! I had no idea what I was getting into. That was 9 years ago and less than a year later I met Dale. I am thankful everyday for meeting Dale and Western Sky Horsemanship!
From the very beginning Dale had the patience and skill to get my horse and I from a very nervous place, to loving everything we do together. There have been so many adventures, challenges and experiences both indoor and outdoor that have given us the opportunity to grow in our relationship as "rider and horse" to partnership.
Dale has always been driven to do the best for her clients and keep her skills to notch, yet always knowing where each of us is at in our horse relationships.
I know I will never stop learning and look forward to many more challenges, adventures and experiences with Western Sky Horsemanship.
As a side note - you also gave me my BFF to enjoy riding with !!!
I feel so fortunate to consider both Dale and McKenzie friends as well as teachers. I started my journey with Western Sky Horsemanship while working for Kelsey Creek Farm. I believe I started actually taking lessons from Dale the summer of 2008. Unfortunately, I could only take lessons during the summer since I was still in college. After I graduated and settled myself into a full time job I started taking more lessons. I love having the opportunity to ride so many different horses that challenge me in different ways. Riley helped me become a confident rider in the arena and on the trail. Tarzan tested my confidence and showed me how to build his trust in me as a rider. I learned how to "ride ahead", and be ready for anything and direct before my horse makes a different choice. I will never forget my experience with him in Montana tracking cows at Jon's place. It was such a joy to work with him and watch his curiosity towards the cows and take the brave steps after them. Dale and McKenzie are such a great teaching team. They know how to encourage a rider who is unsure, push you when you need it, and really cheer you on when it all goes right. I am so glad they challenge me constantly with Cowboy Dressage, cow working, jumping, trail rides, bareback riding, liberty work, and so much more. I am so thankful for the joy that Dale and McKenzie bring to my life.
"My horse, Kat, and I are new to Western Sky, but already I feel she and I are benefitting from Dale and McKenzie's approach. I never really understood the idea of groundwork and how it can be helpful and in a few short sessions I now can see for myself how it helps a horse bond with their human and how it helps the human become a true "horseman" vs. just a passenger.
I love being around people who are passionate about what they do and that describes Dale and Mckenzie to a "T". I feel my horse and I are making rapid progress together and I am having so much fun!"
“I started riding with Dale when I was 5 years old. Over the past twelve years I’ve learned to rope cattle, gallop down trails, ride bareback, and jump over tree stumps; but most importantly I learned to believe in myself. Riding with Dale taught me to never give up, and literally get back in the saddle. Thank you Dale, Mckenzie, and the ponies at Western Sky Horsemanship for teaching me some of the most valuable lessons that I’ll never forget. Love, Maya”
"I have been taking lessons at Western Sky Horsemanship for four months and it has already become a very important part of my life. I look forward to the challenges and rewards of each and every lesson. Having worked with Dale and McKenzie I can say they are both wonderful instructors - firm yet extremely encouraging. They emphasize safety and solid fundamentals strongly grounded in natural horsemanship techniques. Groundwork shares equal billing with saddle time.
Having the opportunity to work with many different horses – Drifter being a personal favorite - is teaching me how you must learn to adapt when working with each unique individual. An important lesson and one best learned early.
Western Sky’s participation in several clinics during the year provides additional learning experiences and instruction from well-known clinicians.
Being in my mid-sixties I've gotten a fairly late start but it's exciting to think about how much more there is to learn and explore. I can't think of a better place to continue my education than Western Sky Horsemanship."
Dale and Mckenzie provide a positive and challenging learning environment for all types of riders. Safety and respect for both student and horse is evident in every lesson and activity they offer. Their program is more than just learning how to ride a horse; it’s about developing a meaningful connection between horse and rider no matter what your experience level. Dale and Mckenzie have a natural and comfortable way in their teaching style and adjust their approach to match the student. My children have been riding with Western Sky Horsemanship for several years and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a safe, positive and challenging riding experience.
We met Dale the summer of 2011, when my daughter, McKenna, attended the Kelsey Creek summer horse camp. The minute we met Dale, we loved her! Her warm and enthusiastic personality was welcoming. When camp ended, McKenna begged for private lessons. She wanted to learn from the best and made sure we left with a Western Sky Horsemanship business card. ☺
Dale and Mckenzie put their heart and soul into teaching. They stress the importance of student safety, as well as the safety and well-being of each horse. They teach their students how to communicate with the horses and the importance of groundwork. They challenge and encourage. They guide and instruct. They tailor each lesson to the rider’s ability. They make each student feel like an important member of the Western Sky Horsemanship family.
While continuing lessons, and leasing a WSH horse, we contemplated purchasing a horse. Dale spent countless hours searching for a horse that would be the right fit for our family. We are now the proud owners of a beautiful and kind horse named Reggie. We are grateful for Dale and Mckenzie’s knowledge and expertise. They are helping us build a partnership with Reggie, as well as providing additional training. They are helping us each step of the way, and we are thankful for their support. We are excited to continue on this incredible journey with Western Sky Horsemanship.
I really enjoy taking lessons from Dale and Mckenzie. They love their horses. You can tell by the way they treat them and take care of them. Dale and Mckenzie are always kind, caring and helpful. I now have a horse of my own and they are helping me get to know him. With their help, I know we will become a great team. I love everything about Western Sky Horsemanship and I promise you will too!
Dale and McKenzie- I wanted to take a few minutes and write a testimonial for you to say thank you for training me and my horses for the past 6 months. When I started I wanted to gain confidence in riding and controlling the horse. I have not only gained confidence in riding, but also in managing the horse on the ground.
WSH's style of training includes groundwork and riding, rein management and how it connects to the front and back legs, and interpreting the horses reactions has been very enlightening for me. Remember when all Gabby did was shake her head at McKenzie! LOL. I want to thank McKenzie for all her time spent studying gaits of Tennessee Walkers. As an natural instructor McKenzie figured out my issues and was creative in ways in way to get me deal with those issues. Dale has taught me safety first and technique and worked with Destiny and me and now I can ride Destiny with more confidence than ever.
WSH is great place to learn horsemanship and I look forward to continued lessons in the fall. I still have a long way to go!
Sincerely, Kathy Podmayer
Growing up I did not have the best experience around horses. After a couple of negative experiences I developed a fear of horses that stuck with me as an adult. So, when my young daughter expressed a strong interest in riding horses, I was nervous. I explored several places but none made me feel at ease until my daughter’s teacher, an avid horse enthusiast, shared the place that she took lessons. After one conversation with Dale, I knew it was a place I felt comfortable bringing my daughter. From the first conversation she talked about a respect for the horses in the same way I would talk about my kids. She had a strong focus on not just safety but education about the animals and relationships with them. Over time with WSH both as an observer and student, I realized a lot of my fears stemmed from not understanding the animals and how to communicate with them. This is a focus at WSH that I appreciate and realize that we have become friends with not just the people at the barn but the animals as well.
After a few months of watching my daughter ride and learning so much I decided to jump back in the saddle myself! Dale and McKenzie are phenomenal teachers and have a way of challenging and encouraging all riders while constantly reinforcing the importance and value of respect and safety for their horses. It is all about teamwork at WSH and that is an ethic that I love seeing my children being a part of. You don’t just come to WSH and get on a horse, ride and leave. You are a part of getting the horses ready, listening to the horses and helping to understand what they need each day and pitching in and helping where is needed. My son does not ride, but he is still part of WSH and enjoys spending time at the barn. While my daughter and I have our lesson he spends time getting more comfortable with the horses and playing with the dogs that spend time at the barn. We all look forward to our weekly trips to WSH and each get something out of it in our own personal way.
My daughter has begun competing in shows and is growing in her horsemanship skills. Dale and McKenzie do a great job of pushing her at the right time but making sure she is ready for each new challenge and can keep both herself and the horses safe. They don’t just let her compete in the shows, they make sure she earns the opportunity and is ready for it. They care and are literally watching each and every step she and the horses take and give her fantastic feedback that she can learn from – and would step in at the drop of a hat to insure her safety.
Lastly, not only has WSH been a great experience from a horsemanship perspective and given not just my daughter, but my family the opportunity to grow a love for horses but Dale and McKenzie are fabulous role models. They are exactly the type of individuals that I want my children growing up around and learning from. They both give and demand respect, have an incredible work ethic and model the values that are important to me and I want for my children.
I love riding at western sky horsemanship because I can trust all the horses and trainers to the point I consider them my second family.
Hi my name is Gabe! I’m not a rider but my mom and sister are. Dale and McKenzie always make it fun especially when Dale brings Ryder, her Corgi who is there 99% of the time. Even though I’m not a rider, I still feel like part of the barn and have a good time whenever I go.