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April 2020 Newsletter - April has ushered in Spring at AMS - Let's get ready to ride.

Updated: Jun 22, 2020

How I got from there to here - Part 3

After completing my senior year in high school, I fished the Gulf of Mexico for three more months and then join the U.S. Navy in September of 1995. It was quite an experience, going from commercial fishing, to Navy boot camp.

It was early one morning in Oklahoma City, we were loaded on a bus, and driven to the base at Great Lakes, IL. We arrived late at night, and it was raining. The drill instructors made us stand in ranks for a couple of hours as we were being checked in. It was cold, and we were soaking wet from head to toe. Some of the guys were shivering, some were whining and others were asking if they could go back home. I remember thinking how nice the facilities were kept, and actually felt excited to see what this adventure would bring.

We were finally checked in, issued a number (455) for which division (ship) we belonged in.  We were issued uniforms, and bed linens, and marched to our barracks, it was about 2 AM and everyone was ready to get some sleep. I remember feeling wide awake!

As the days went by, I felt right at home, and was really happy with my choice to join the Navy. After all, we got three meals a day, plenty of sleep and exercise. I thought life was great. Some of the guys in my division thought they were in hell. They complained about everything. They didn't like the food, or the bed mattress. One guy asked me why I was so happy. I told him it was because I had come from much worse. I loved the fact we had lights out at 10PM and up at 6AM, and my rack was stationary. You see, on a fishing boat, you get maybe 4 hours a night to sleep, 1 meal a day, and it's hard work.

 The most valuable lesson I learned in Navy boot camp, is that perception is really powerful. People will perceive situations differently, and allow it to affect them differently. I was elected as Master-at-Arms in boot camp. As the ship's Master-at-Arms, I wore a yellow arm band to indicate my rating. I was responsible for the ship, enforcing the rules, and reporting to the chief anything needing his attention. I could come and go freely at anytime I felt necessary. If the ship needed anything, I could go get it. That responsibility came with rewards, and earned me a lot of respect with the guys.

As the 13 weeks of boot camp came to an end, we graduated and were assigned the next duty station. Everyone went their separate ways, and I was sent to Millington TN. for "A" school. This is the school that trained us for our jobs, mine was Aviation Structural Mechanic. I did really well in school, and as the top of class, was allowed to pick my next command first from the list. It was either Florida, or California. I always wanted to go to California, so I chose a base called China Lake. Little did I know, it was the Mojave Desert, and there was not a lake! I arrived late, after dark. The barracks manager gave me a room for the night, and would assign my permanent room the next day.

I remember walking out the next morning and a tumble weed blew by. I went to the office, and asked where the lake was at. They pointed to a dry lake bed, and laughed.

Needless to say, I thought maybe I had picked the wrong place, Florida was looking much better.

As always, I made the best of it, and eventually realized I had chosen wisely. It wasn't long after I had gotten to China Lake, I met my now wife Kristina. She was working at a movie theater outside the main gate of our base. I knew she was the one when I first saw her. And after I asked her out, and she said NO! I knew she was the ONE!

You see, our base had a horse stable. I was training horses for other sailors at the time, so I had six horses to ride throughout the week after normal navy work days. I knew if Kristina liked horses, that would be how I could win her over. Sure enough, when I told her about those horses, she accepted my invitation to go riding.

All through my life, horses have had a direct impact on me. If it were not for them, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Thanks to those horses, I've been married for 23 years now! I guess you could say my love for horses help me find true love. It's all a matter of how we perceive it.

To be continued.....


Last Month's Roundup

Our March 14 Mustang Meet and Greet at Crossroads Ford was a good time for all.  Cinnamon and Justin raced a Ford Mustang and WON.  Check out the fun!

From left to right - 

1. A special thanks to our friends at Crossroads Ford of Southern Pines.

2. New friends stopped by to say "hi" and meet Cinnamon!

3. This is Justin after he entertained the crowd - guess what he did - Answer at the end of this newsletter.

4 .Joey, Ford Mustang driver, chats with Cinnamon and her new girlfriends.

5. Danny and Joey show Cinnamon the Ford Mustang Bullet's engine.


AMS Adventures - Here's What's Coming Up

Online course starting this month -Are you a horse trainer, stable manager, equine professional, blogger, horse lover?  You probably have valuable information to share with like-minded people.  Why not teach online? I will coach you - step by step - how to create online income through your love of horses.

Clinics take a break -Due to the Corona Virus, and social distancing, we will be holding our multi-participant clinics after we get the all clear. Until then, we will continue our private one on one clinics, and therapy sessions. I hope all of you stay healthy and happy in this time of concern.

Land for Veterans Program -American Mustang School has been given the use of some private land and direct access to a couple thousand acres of public land to use for our veteran therapy programs. These programs are an extension of our therapeutic maintenance programs and are considered level 4 and 5, which are overnight pack trips, hunting, fishing and geocaching with horses. If you are a veteran, or know of a veteran who would be interested in these kind of therapeutic activities with horses, contact AMS for details.

These programs will be dependent on outside funding, and we are actively seeking donations to make them possible. If you would like to help, any amount is much appreciated. Here is the link to donate:

Stay tuned for Spring Training -April is the time for "Spring Training" where we will have all of AMS horses in the arena for grooming, hoof trimming, de-worming, and overall check-ups. We will have veterans assisting and doing the check rides. watch for this and much more in our private membership group on Facebook. Here is the link to join:

AMS is happy to welcome another new sponsor!  Cactus Creek Coffee

Head over soon for their fresh ground coffee beans!

120 O’Connor Place Aberdeen, NC 28315

Just a friendly reminder...

Group members have access to discount and offers from my sponsors.  Right now members get 10% off of all Big Dee's purchases and 20% of Synergy by Weaver products.

Not a member of our private Facebook group -Adventures of the Enlightened Horseman yet?

Please consider joining because every dollar goes toward providing Veterans and First Responders (and their families) Equine Assisted Therapy - at no charge to them. 

In return, Justin shares his knowledge of Bitless, Spurless, No pain, No fear Horsemanship with you.

A win-win that will save someone's live and enrich your horsemanship!

American Mustang School Horse Spotlight

Name -Harley (mustang)

Age -11

Favorite activity -Therapy sessions, and belly scratches.

Best adventure with Justin -One day some cows got out on the ranch. I had not moved cattle with Harley before that day. He happened to be in the trailer when I saw them, so I pulled over on the side of the highway. pulled Harley out of the trailer, crossed the highway into the down fence, and pushed cows. I showed him in 15 minutes what to do, and he showed me a better way for the next 45 minutes of moving those cows. He even stood ground tied while I mended the down fence! Awesome Mustang.

Harley is special because -He is a diamond in the rough. He was labeled un-trainable by the BLM before I got him.

Horse Fun Facts


  • Male and female horses have different numbers of teeth.Male horses typically have 40 teeth, whereas females only have 36. As long as the horse hasn't lost teeth, this is theoretically one way to tell a horse's gender (although, it's not the simplest method!)

  • Horses have bigger eyes than any other mammal that lives on land.

  • You can tell if a horse is cold by feeling behind their ears.If the area directly behind their ears is cold, it typically indicates that the rest of the horse is cold as well.

Words to Ride By

"Whatever you do with your horse today, prepares both of you for tomorrow."  Justin Dunn

When you are playing with your horse, always think and act in the moment. It’s important. Whatever you do, positive or negative has a lasting effect. The only way you can do anything about it, is in the moment with your horse, right now. 

Horsemanship takes time, and commitment. Investing time to prepare yourself and your horse, practicing together, will then allow you both gain confidence.

Answer to the photo question Justin did a really impressive cartwheel to entertain the crowd!

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