Profile: Jody and Susan Cunningham

By Mike Thomas

During the weekend of December 12, 2008, I had the privilege of meeting Jody and Susan Cunningham at the Festival of Horses in Scottsdale, Arizona. The weekend was a cold one for an old man but I was drawn back each day instead of staying home. Jody and Susan have something special and I had to know more. This profile will later be expanded so this is my initial offering. 

Jody and Susan

Jody and Susan are based out of Grapeland, Texas during the "Texas good-weather season" and then go to Kemmerer, Wyoming during the summer. This dynamic duo offers clinics and private sessions in both locations. Susan does a "Rawhide 'n Ruffles" colt starting for women only in a series of clinics. Jody offers clinics with real ranch exposure as well. Jody is sponsored by Purina Mills and conducts many national demos and presentations for them.

I found Jody and Susan Cunningham to be a very delightful well-informed couple who have dedicated their lives for the last 18 years to the horse. Jody goes much further (like 50 years) back and is well experienced in the livestock industry. I have found over the years that clinicians whose roots are well established with livestock and big ranches just have something extra to offer students - horse and human - a depth of life experience that is very meaningful to both.

Jody and Susan bring Horse Sense and Common Sense together in a sound practical approach that is not only entertaining but very educational. They call it the No Sweat Method that makes real horse sense to the horse and lets the human develop the uncommon trait of Common Sense!

Teaching and Communication Skills

During the demonstrations, Jody and Susan used a well-coordinated approach to effectively let Susan’s actions become an integrated visual presentation of Jody’s words. Jody was on "Strawberry", a Bridle Horse, and Susan was mirroring his mounted work through ground work with "Paint"! This proved to be one of the best demos I have ever seen on relating how the groundwork relates to the ride and the horse and the human!

The horses were fully "hooked on" and Jody and Susan are even more "hooked on to each other", in a very real teamwork presentation. One would be not as much without the other, a real harmony of people and horses! After years of trying to find ways to help the horse understand the human, I found Jody and Susan Cunningham, ”A breath of fresh air for the horse and the human!”