Meet Jillian Kreinbring M.S.
With a vision to train and ride horses in accordance with sound functional anatomy and posture principles, Jillian Kreinbring’s goal is to balance the natural and anatomic forces within and between the horse and human for healthy movement and vital longevity.
Each horse is an individual with specific needs. Jillian’s approach is to support horses in achieving their highest and best. She does this by applying classical principles combined with current knowledge of equine functional anatomy, posture, and psychology. Jillian has committed herself to blend the best of these worlds over several years by studying both past and modern day masters. She is passionate about carrying forth this wisdom.
Jillian’s work with horses draws upon Classical Dressage principles and her roots in the Western Horse arena, as well as from her equine education.
As a perpetual student of the horse, Jillian also spends quality time reading literature to stay informed with the latest research from professionals in the field.
Jillian makes decisions about what knowledge to apply in training, lessons, and lectures by determining if it is in alignment with horse and human functional anatomy, and their mental well-being.
Jillian has been working with horses her entire life. In her early years, she participated in horse competitions in the AQHA, APHA, and Open Stock Horse Association; trained with J.R. Reichert, and trained for Kintzel Paint Horses. In college, she trained and showed for AQHA judge, Jim Dudley. Throughout these early years, she won numerous year-end, high-point awards and futurity classes.
After graduating with her undergraduate degree, Jillian accepted the head training position at Circle L Ranch in Germany, where over the course of two years, she trained client horses, started young stock, and exhibited halter and pleasure horses. While abroad, she won three European National Halter Championships, the Circle L Western Pleasure Futurity, and High Point DQHA Horse of the Year, and trained AQHA World Qualifiers.
On her return to the United States from Germany, Jillian stopped competing horses and entered the Master's program in the school of Agricultural Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Here she studied equine movement, posture, and muscle development, as well as adult vocational education. Jillian’s research was guided in part by Dr. Hillary Clayton, Dr. Nancy Nicholson, and Dr. Sara Wyche. With their support, Jillian completed her Masters Thesis entitled “Desired Muscular Development in the Neck of the Horse: An Equine Observational Communication Tool and Study”. Additionally, Jillian has spent time with Dr. Deb Bennett studying gross anatomy through the school of Equinology.
Jillian’s deep concern for the health of horses fuels her ongoing study of classical riding and its relationship to sound functional anatomy and posture and mental well-being. She continues her riding and in hand education with Manolo Mendez, Stephanie Millham, and Peggy Cummings. Prior to his death in 2016, Jillian studied extensively with Mark Russell.
Jillian spends as much time as she can with Manolo Mendez studying his in-hand and riding techniques. She began studying Manolo’s work in 2005 and stood in as the student in his in-hand DVD. Jillian feels her “time with Manolo is extraordinary because he is such an amazing trainer of horses. It is a wonderful experience to be in his presence because with him I can see and feel what is possible in terms of helping horses use their bodies well without using force. His way with horses is uniquely special.”
Peggy Cummings, the creator of Connected Riding©, is a mentor of Jillian's. Of Peggy, Jillian says: “Peggy taught me the functional anatomy and feel of neutral posture for riders. This is simple, but not easy. Learning to ride in neutral posture was a complete game-changer for me: my ability to clearly communicate with horses from the ground and in the saddle has become much more subtle and effective. Her brilliance in understanding not only what is needed to support the rider’s body, but how to teach that, is an inspiration. I am grateful for my opportunity to learn from Peggy.”
Several times a year Jillian studies with Stephanie Millham. Stephanie was a direct student of Master Nuno Oliveira for many years. She authored a book about her experiences, The Legacy of Master Nuno Oliveira. Jillian explains, “It is a thrill and honor for me to learn the tacit knowledge passed from Master Oliveira to Stephanie. Her ability to teach the information in a kind and effective way is rare among instructors. The progression of my horses under her guidance is profound. It is utterly important for me to learn as much as I can from Stephanie so I can continue to pass along the invaluable information to my students to help preserve the classical work for future generations.”
Jillian also credits the late Mark Russell, student of Master Oliveira, and author of Lessons in Lightness. “I began my studies with Mark in 2012. The importance of his teachings in my life as a student and educator are beyond words. He opened many doors for me as I learned about his use of energy to help softly shape horses in hand and under saddle. His instruction will be a guiding light for me every time I put my hands on a horse. It was an honor and privilege to learn from this man and it is my goal to continue forth with his teachings.”
Jillian has also studied equine Osteopathy at the Vluggen Institute. This body of knowledge offers a different perspective aiding Jillian in her approach to horsemanship. It is her conviction that helping riders learn how the horse’s mind and all physical systems of the bodywork in concert, promotes healthy riding and training habits. The benefit of which is freedom of movement.
"Jillian is very well on her way to being one of the most important people in the equine world and this is happening before our eyes.
I watched Jillian teach beautifully and kindly and with an extraordinary amount of insight; she referenced Mark multitudes of times and was able to put his teaching not only into words, but into her hands during demonstrations, and into her eyes as she helped students along with their horses. Along with referencing Mark throughout the clinic she also referenced Manolo Méndez just as frequently. She was able to join the work of both masters depending on where the horse was and where the student was and it all segued into a pretty amazing phenomenon to witness.
Throughout her presentations and lessons, Jillian also referenced Peggy Cummings and Stephanie Millham as she was able to bring so many great minds and their wisdom together. To all of this, she layered her own personal experience through her studies and research in equine functional anatomy and posture. She also infused her personal learning as a student of Tai Chi, and her brilliance became evident. Mark is very much smiling.
Mark had always wanted all of his students to ride with Jillian. And that certainly holds true today, perhaps even more so as Jillian grows moment to moment. She is particularly relevant to professionals, equine bodyworkers, natural horse trimmers, veterinarians, trainers, and teachers. And of course all levels of riders for whom the only requirement is that they wish to learn about their horse’s movement, their horse’s health, and their horse’s psyche."
Hela Russell, Natural Dressage