I can honestly say I don’t know much about Bill, I’ve only been working under him since February and I’ve honestly not spent much of that time socializing with the man(I’m a wee bit of an introvert). However being an introvert has its perks, by not being one to speak so much as I am to observe I’ve picked up on a bit. I suppose if I were to describe Bill with one word I’d say I couldn’t. It’s impossible.
As a breeder he’s pretty awesome, he’s produced some pretty awesome horses such as the few below:
As a rider he is REMARKABLE, when riding it should look effortless. Easy. A piece of delicious, mouth-watering cake, and when he rides, that is exactly what it looks like. The finesse with which he and whatever horse he hops on is displayed is rather impressive. One can only hope to be as good a rider as Bill.
As a trainer he is BRILLIANT. I’ve seen a few trainers, not a lot, but a few and worked with and under four or five before Bill. Of the five I’ve worked with before Bill there is only one whom I consider as good as he is. Bill takes time to work with, not against, the horse. He does not rush things, he does not lose his cool, he remains steady and consistent until an understanding is reached. He does not push the horse harder than what it is physically and mentally able to handle, which is something many a trainer will do at times(I’ve seen it, was horrible to watch). Bill cares about each horse he trains and works with and rides, this is obvious in the way he treats each horse as an individual with its own, unique personality and not a robot meant to carry your fat butt.
As a teacher and mentor he is FANTASTIC, I mean, c’mon, anybody who can put up with MY constant screw-ups and NOT lose their minds is a pretty remarkable person. Despite my many and constant screw-ups the man still keeps his cool and takes time to explain how to do things better and in a way that won’t be so accident prone. The amount of patience he has is impressive, I mean, I probably would have strangled me by now…….a great teacher and mentor pushes their students to the best of their abilities, accepts nothing but the best, and does not discourage, but encourages, does not offer destructive criticism, but constructive. Knows when to hold their student’s hand and knows when to let them go. As one who was raised by a teacher I know this to be true and I also know that Bill is a GREAT teacher to not just me, but everybody else who comes to him for guidance.
Bill, in my own words, is a pretty great guy. He’s worked hard to get the farm which he calls home. He’s worked hard to get the horses he’s got and the clients who also call his farm home. He is the proud owner of Chase Lake Equine Center, a remarkable barn nestled in the woods of Fowlerville, Michigan. This barn has slowly but surely become my home away from home, and how could it not? The horses there are as friendly as they are lovely and the atmosphere of the whole place is relaxing and welcoming. The barn always looks beautiful thanks to Bill’s detailed eye(and Doug’s OCD nature) and boarders who take time to clean up after themselves.
But who is Bill really? I asked a few questions and learned a little bit about him, like, for instance when he decided to pursue a legit career in horse training. Bill attended Findlay University in Findlay, Ohio, and went through their Western Equestrian Program. He didn’t do this though until he was in his 30s. Before going to Findlay he was working in construction and training his own horses, other people took interest and requested he train their horses as well, finally, one morning(2am) he decided enough was enough. It’s either construction or training and he chose training(smart man) and decided to go back to college, to Findlay University. Let me tell you going back to college and getting a degree at that age isn’t something that’s easily done. Neither one of my parents have completed college, they’ve both had college, but not completed it due to life. I believe I’ll be the first in my family(not including extended) to complete and graduate from college in four-five years. I’ve met while attending LCC several people in their 30s on up who decided to go back to college and they all said it was a lot harder than when they were younger. There was pride, being that old and surrounded by a bunch of “youngsters” all able to use today’s new-age technology better than them(I recall talking to a few ‘older’ students about this, that was their chief complaint, that they couldn’t keep up with how online classes worked and the new calculators of today). There was being embarrassed to be so much older than their fellow classmates and then there was the doubt. I had lunch with one student who was in their 30s still deciding if they would continue on or not, a part of them wanted to and the other part of them didn’t. They said at their age it seemed almost foolish to expend so much time and energy and money on books and studying and classes when they could just keep working and living right where they were, it was the degree and the potential at getting a better job that spurred them on. I’ve much admiration for those who choose to go back to school at an age that is considered “old” by most of today’s youth. Hats off to Bill on that accord, it makes sense then that his best personal achievement is being the only one in his family to graduate college and to still be working in the horse industry 10 years later.
When asked what his best horse experience was he answered: He had a horse named Tanner who was running a high fever. Something had to be done right away or else he’d die. Bill and the vet were trying to break the fever but nothing appeared to be working, so Bill asked the veterinarian if he could put the IV fluid in the refrigerator to cool his blood down. The vet said that’d never been done before, but it was worth a shot seeing as how it did not look like Tanner would live. Bill tried it and it worked, the horse lived to see another day. I cannot imagine experiencing something like that, and the fear of not knowing if your horse will live or not, or the relief and joy when he pulls through or the pride in knowing you saved your horse’s life.
Bill is a man who’s worked long and hard to get what he has, and to accomplish all that he’s accomplished. He is a man who puts 110% of himself into everything he does. He is a man who appreciates quality over quantity when it comes to horses, which is something not every horseman can do. He is a man of his word, he says what he means and he means what he says. He is a man made up of integrity, humility, good sense of humor, strong work ethic and kind spirit. Bill takes time to make sure every horse is taken cared of and is healthy and to make sure those who call his barn home are comfortable and happy with their surroundings. He’s a pretty remarkable guy for sure.
Happiest of Birthdays to you Bill, I hope your day was as awesome as you are.