Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Natural Connection

UPDATE:  The Natural Connection has closed the doors for boarding and Ms. Jean has now moved the business direction towards trail riding and teaching lessons on the trail. 

On April 1st, 2017, Ms. Jean and family made the lengthy two month move to the Marriott Ranch, in Linden, VA.  Yes, the same Marriott Ranch that essentially created and was the driving force for Ms. Jean and the Natural Connection. 

The Natural Connection was conceived back in 2003 at a small farm in Centreville, VA.  At this small 17 acre farmette, Ms. Jean created her business prototype and began rehabilitating horses and teaching students on a part-time basis.

From 2009 to 2017, The Natural Connection had two primary locations, one in Loudoun for majority of it's time and a short amount of time at a beautiful farm in Fauquier County.  While at these locations, this lesson and training program focused on working horses in an arena and out on trails.  It was available to a specific "breed" of person. This program was created for people interested in the Natural Horse and our amazing connection to these beautiful creatures. The primary focus is on natural care, horses living outdoors 24/7 in a herd environment, natural trimming, riding with appropriate gear per horse, finding horses through adoption for lease or ownership, and the basics of natural horsemanship training and riding. English and western riding lessons were available for ages 12 and up. Beginners were required to stay in private lessons until they could demonstrate a specific skill set under-saddle, showing his or her ability to ride in semi-privates safely. The large majority of students in the Natural Connection owned their own horses and took lessons on a weekly basis, in either private or semi-private lessons.  These students were a pleasure to work with and have now moved on to the next step in their lives with their wonderful horses.    

Instructor, Jean French, has over 15 years of experience in training, coaching, riding and instruction together. With a Masters in Education and always aiming for attaining various certificates of continuing education yearly, Ms. Jean has brought her experiences of all ages together to offer a rare and valuable program to the Northern Virginia area and to the authentic western atmosphere at the Marriott Ranch.  Riders and horses are looked at as individuals...

What makes this program unique?  At the Marriott Ranch, students learn to ride out on the trails.  Private sessions allow for one on one time with Ms. Jean.  Students learn about the challenges in riding on trails, while also learning to ride at the same time.  Horses are carefully selected to match the riders skill level to help create a positive learning environment.

Students have the option to learn a different take on the western discipline and are expected to learn about horse care, management and training, as well as the basics of horseback riding!
  • "WHOL-ISTIC" (Ms. Jean's version of holistic) HORSE CARE IS ENCOURAGED
 What makes Ms. Jean different?
  • Instructor knowledge, and education; experience combined with the desire for continued education in horsemanship.
  • Ms. Jean seeks education yearly, attending clinics in natural horsemanship (Clinton Anderson and others), clinics in hunters and jumpers and is thrilled to be taking lessons as often as possible with top eventer and clinician Stephen Bradley.  Attending seminars on horse care and management keep this program up to date with the newest practices.
  • Horses for trail riding are often carefully selected from adoption and rehab situations, giving each horse the potential to be in this unique program and get a second chance at life.
  • Body language and communication are an integral part of the horse and rider partnership.
  • Horses are allowed to be horses, with 24/7 turn-out, access to water and forage 24/7, non-severe bits used in shows and trail riding, trimmed or shod horses based on the footing. 
  • Horses and riders that join the program have individualized lesson/training plans based on the rider's goals combined with the horse's abilities, medical needs, exercise and training needs and capabilities.
Horse Liability Insurance coverage. Private lessons on the trail available.
Must be willing to think and learn "non-conventionally" in comparison to what many equestrians are doing in the traditional horse world today. Beginners, ages 10 and up, ride in private trail riding lessons. Beginner II, Beginner III and Advanced Beginner and Novice riders will have the options of riding in semi-private trail lessons for learning arena and trail etiquette. CURRENTLY ONLY ACCEPTING ADULT RESTART STUDENTS AND CHILDREN OVER AGE 10 WITH SOME PREVIOUS RIDING EXPERIENCE. 250lb WEIGHT LIMIT. 

Students have the opportunities to participate in and get exposure to activities such as but not limited to:

-Trail rides
-Clinics with professional horsemen and women from varying disciplines held at the Marriott Ranch arena
-Encouraged to go on Field trips to specific locations for on-site learning on weekdays and winter-time
-Encouraged to Attend horsemanship clinics
-Train your horse with Ms. Jean at your facility, pre-scheduled times during the winter months
-Encouraged to attend Veterinary seminars
-Encouraged to go with Ms. Jean for Horse shopping and learn about the challenges of buying and selling

Email for private ride times to

Or you may go to to request more information.

I look forward to hearing from you!


In this program, you, as a student, can expect to see the below, at minimum:

Learning how to start, exercise, train or retrain the young, green, repurposed, older or rehabilitating horse.


  • Ground exercises 
  • Round penning
  • Lunging
  • Ponying
  • Trail riding
  • Introduction to Discipline training 
  • Lower level western dressage, Phase I (long and low), Phase II (slightly lifted), Phase III, (On the bit)

Round Penning
Fundamentals under saddle
Trail Riding
Lessons over fences
Practice, practice, practice