by Laura Rodley

Horse trainer Luke Gingerich of Plain City, Ohio, gives lessons from Black Swan Farm in Ostrander, OH. He competes in reining and ranch versatility, and specializes in Liberty Horsemanship and bridleless riding. He currently offers demos, clinics, and private lessons.

He has just expanded his ability to give lessons beyond the spatial confines of a barn. At the beginning of March, he and his business manager Wendy Johnson purchased an online Facebook platform group called “Whatever It Takes” to launch his online coaching and video coaching business. “Members send me a video of them working with their horse. I review it, and we do a live chat. I give them instruction on what they could improve,” said Gingerich.

People can also view Gingerich training sessions in real time, with the ability to ask questions and network with other group members. Members also have access to Gingerich’s video collection of his own training sessions.

Gingerich has been performing with his horse, barn name Rio, registered name C.J. Rio Zan Bar Gun, a nine year old registered Quarter Horse gelding that he has owned and trained since Rio was a yearling. He rides Rio without a bridle. To do this, Rio has to rely a lot more on Gingerich’s seat and leg cues, as well as verbal cures.

“I work very hard to keep him relaxed in the arena,” said Gingerich.

To perform with Rio using skills derived from the Liberty Horsemanship method, “Instead of being in the saddle, we perform a variety of maneuvers on the ground, such as liberty circles around me, sidepass, spins, and flying lead changes.”

Relying on body language is how horses communicate, he noted. “Oftentimes, I find we’re too loud or exaggerated. When we can be more subtle, the horse can tune in or focus on us, especially when we are performing,” said Gingerich, who started riding when he was 10 years old. He is the first in his immediate family to become involved with horses, and he has been largely self taught.

In the past, Gingerich has competed with Rio at the Versatile Horse and Rider Equine Affaire in Columbus, Ohio. In 2016, he placed 8th, and in 2017, the pair earned Reserved Champion. In the spring of 2018, he participated in a demo focusing on bridleless riding with the professional horse trainer Stacy Westfall.

In January, Gingerich bought a second horse, Chloe, a two-year old palomino. He has been training her in the Liberty Horsemanship style of reining, and freestyle, with the aim to team her up with Rio.

“They get along very well. They really love each other. I’m getting the baby ready by herself. I think they’ll make a very good duo,” said Gingerich.

Chloe made her performance debut in the beginning of March 2019 at the One Horse World in Harrisburg, PA.

For more information, access his Facebook page, Luke Gingerich Horsemanship at