Jill Willis (Bio)
Vice President & Secretary, AANHCP Board of Directors
Like a great number of the natural horse and/or hoof care practitioners in the AANHCP, I have had horses for most of my life AND had an established career in an entirely different line of work from what I do now -- when I first enrolled in the NHC Training Program in 2007. Many of us seemed to share the common denominator that we wanted to do something 'completely different' from the work we had been doing most of our adult lives and spend our time doing something more meaningful.
As much as I absolutely love being with horses and providing natural hoof care services, the majority of my time is devoted to helping to grow, expand, promote and market natural horse care -- as defined by the AANHCP -- using the free-roaming wild mustangs of the U.S. Great Basin as the model for excellence in health, humane care and soundness. I am one of the lucky ones. I did not come to natural hoof care as a 'last result' like so many others who are now dedicated and staunch believers. I discovered the AANHCP as a result of researching a wellness and preventative path for my now-27 year old Arab gelding that I have had since early 1995. When he was still a teenager, I wanted to expand my knowledge base on the topic of "Senior Care" so that he could thrive well into his 'later years' (as so many horses do in the wild). One thing led to another and I was hooked! And never looked back. It was as if I had only just discovered that the world was not flat.
In my previous line of work, I managed several artists and logged countless hours traveling between New York, London, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. I'm still doing a bit of that but now doing it for reasons so much more meaningful to me than my work in the past. I have five horses of my own and a small regular clientele in addition to my primary work with both the ISNHCP and the AANHCP -- and working with Jaime Jackson on the training program as well.
I love my work and I love the horses. I envision a day when those people who really understand how to care for a horse - from their hooves and diet to their need to live in a herd and be free from confinement - will be the majority of those responsible for these creatures. We need to throw out the molasses-laden feeds and supplements, get rid of the alfalfa, remove the shoes, trim them properly and allow it to run with others of their species. It is all so simple and yet it is a battle we fight daily due to the contradictory practices used in traditional horsekeeping.