At HART: As an Instructor at Hidden Acres Rescue for Thoroughbreds, Rene’ has several responsibilities. His top priorities are the safety of the volunteers at HART at all times when they are around or working with the horses, the safety of the horses at all times, and training horses to increase the horse’s trust and respect with people so they may be adopted to forever homes.
He is responsible for teaching volunteers on proper safe handling of horses, and giving instruction for ground work in a round pen so volunteers can build their confidence, increase the horse’s trust and respect for the individual, and learn to communicate to the horse through body language and verbal commands. He helps the volunteers bond with the horses by teaching them how a horse thinks. This is extremely important to better understand what the horse is thinking, as opposed to what humans are thinking, so there is better communication, which is the key to developing a partnership with the horse.
Rene’ also analyzes horses’ behaviors to assess the horses’ dispositions and uses this information to correct behavioral issues related to abuse or other trauma through Positive Reinforcement training methods.
In addition to training horses, Rene’ has also developed training plans and rider level requirements to help both volunteers and riders at HART.
Off the Clock: Rene’ can be found at his ranch in Cocoa working with his own horses or out on one of his boats enjoying cruising or fishing when the weather permits.
Background: Rene’s love of horses started early when a photographer came around the neighborhood where he lived when he was 3 years old with a black and white Shetland pony so kids could have their picture taken sitting on the pony. That started his passion for horses.
He studied engineering and is a retired engineer from Kennedy Space Center after spending 28 ½ years as a Logistics Engineer on the Space Shuttle Program.
Rene’s father bought a cattle ranch in Oklahoma and Rene’ would go there twice a year for the Spring and Fall roundups where he rode cutting horses and worked with cattle. He knew he wanted to be more involved with horses so he bought a ranch in Cocoa and started raising and training horses using methods he had learned from trainers Clinton Anderson, Chris Irwin, John Lyons, and Pat Parelli, and teaching people western riding and taking them on trail rides.
Rene’ was offered the opportunity to work at HART and started in March, 2017.