Scroll Top
PO Box 133 Patumahoe 2344

Lisa Earley & Oki

2021 Ultramox Freedom to Friendship Stallion Challenge – Professional Trainer

From a young age, Lisa Earley had a passion for horses and has turned this passion into her full-time occupation.  Whether it be making western saddles, braiding rawhide gear or starting young horses, the equine realm is part of her everyday life.

Lisa’s main interest is in the ‘Great Basin Buckaroo’ traditions. Riding in these clinics here in NZ led her to spend a few months in the USA learning about rawhide braiding, and colt starting at Martin Black’s. This trip inspired her to make horses her career. 

Since returning, she has spent the last 4 summers apprenticing with Russell Higgins. Where she learned the finer points in starting young horses and the importance of building a solid foundation.

Now based in Maungaturoto, she is looking forward to starting more young horses this summer and continuing her journey with her Kaimanawa stallion, Oki.

She thanks Kaimanawa Heritage Horses and their sponsors for this opportunity and is looking forward to the challenge.

Follow Lisa and Oki’s journey here:


Oki, short for Titoki, is a rich Liver chestnut; he has been aged at 5 or 6 and stands around 14hh.

He was mustered from the Argo Valley along with his band of 2 mares and their offspring (also named after native trees).

He has adjusted to domestic life well and enjoys days out in the paddock (with his giant 16hh friend Newt) and nights in the barn, in case it rains, while he is still recovering from being gelded.

Oki has a quiet, confident nature when it comes to new things and obstacles. Early on, we had the tractor and chainsaw going in the yards, finishing off an extra pen. He always stood close by happily munching his hay. 

His generally quiet disposition isn’t always easy to read, as he can look relaxed when sometimes he has really run away mentally and ‘shutdown’. This has made me more aware of the subtle changes in his eye and muzzle when we work on certain things. 

His morning routine usually consists of brushing and picking out his feet, followed by being ponied out and around the farm, happily trailing along with his buddy Newt. 

I look forward to building our partnership in bigger and better ways in the months to come.

Oki’s introduction to domestic life went smoothly and he adjusted to people, dogs, fences and vehicles quite quickly. With that being said he really doesn’t trust electric fence tape and can’t be convinced hard feed or treats are worth eating.

He comes across as a very stoic pony that refuses to admit he might actually need humans in his new way of life…. unless it’s for a good scratch.

Oki was gelded 3 weeks out from being mustered and after a slow, rocky recovery was started under saddle 5 weeks later. From his 5th ride Oki has spent a lot of time being ridden around the farm opening and closing gates, mustering cows and drafting calves. He is a very quick learner and picks up on patterns easily. He is also pretty sensible when it comes to new things as long as he’s given the time to think. 

When it comes to training and starting horses Lisa’s focus has always been on practical horsemanship that creates a safe willing horse on the ground and ridden. Even though this experience has been full of ups and downs she believes she has achieved this with Oki. Lisa is very happy with his transformation from an untouched wild stallion to a quietly quirky domestic pony.