We’d like to welcome the newest member of the Léttleiki team, Raileen Murray. A lifelong rider and equine enthusiast from Texas, Raileen began starting young horses at age 12. By 14, she was rehabilitating and helping to rehome horses that had experienced traumas leading to behavioral issues. Her focus has always been on building trust-based relationships where horses can work through their fears, stay responsive and soft, and enter into any area of specialization with the mental stability to be a reliable, safe, and willing participant. She has helped establish solid foundations in horses being used for Western Pleasure, trail, cutting/reining, endurance riding, speed events such as barrel racing and playdays, and working cattle on ranches.
In high school Raileen spent summers as a farrier’s apprentice and volunteer veterinary assistant at two large-animal clinics, one of which specialized in AI. Her passions led her to rank in the top 20 nationally in FFA’s Farm Business Management competition, then to serving as a wrangler on a guest ranch in Colorado for a summer. Developing the children’s week-long riding program and teaching newbies was her joy. She continued working part-time as an independent trainer/instructor helping first-time horse owners learn how to provide excellent care and troubleshoot riding, health, and behavior problems.
Along the way, Raileen acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Journalism (emphasis in Wildlife Ecology) from Texas A&M, worked extensively in non-profit management and education improvement, and became a certified teacher in Texas and Kentucky. She now holds an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction (Environmental Education concentration) and will be helping to enhance Léttleiki’s riding school program among her other duties as barn manager.
When asked about her transition from the Western disciplines to the gaited Icelandics, she replied, ”I really connect to the rugged hardiness of the Icelandic horses, their happy and willing engagement with humans, and the down-to-earth way they think. The discipline itself will provide an opportunity for me to develop more precision in my riding and take my horsemanship to the next level, but working with this breed feels like coming home.”