A Chat with Jillian Michaels


Jillian Michaels
It took me many months of follow up to get an interview with health guru and horse lover Jillian Michaels. In case you missed it in print (Horse Illustrated October 2013), here a recap of the fun interview. In all my years of interviewing horse people – no one has ever told me that they “suck” at jumping.

Kitson: What do you love most about horses?
Jillian Michaels: Everything. The sport. The feeling of peace I get when I’m out on trails without my phone. The camaraderie I get from my horse.

K: What life lessons have horses taught you that you apply to your career?
JM: Patience and compromise. You can’t muscle a horse into anything. They must be convinced carefully and patiently persuaded.

K: What’s your horse like?
JM: Buzz is a seven-year old black draft horse. He was a PMU rescue. He’s loving and sweet.

K: What are some of your favorite memories with Buzz?
JM: When he first met our kids, Lu and Phoenix. He loves kids, so it was adorable.

K: What’s your commitment to your horses like?
JM: I take every animal I bring into our family very seriously. It’s a life-long commitment. We actually have three horses. Buzz was the first. I plan on growing old with that animal. I’ll be 60 riding that horse.

K: What other horses do you have?
JM: We have a Holsteiner mare named Charlie that we rescued after she was abandoned. We also have a short-stirrup pony named Joey. Charlie, Joey and Buzz live in Malibu.

K: How often do you get to see your horses?
JM: I go twice a week. My partner, Heidi Rhoades, takes Lu and Phoenix, easily four times a week. We love to trail ride.

K: What was it like when you rescued the race horse named Royale with Speed?
JM: He was mistreated, abandoned, and set for slaughter. He had abscesses and other health issues. He was very sick. I rescued him and paid to get him healthy. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.) brought horse slaughter to my attention. I knew I had to do something to help pass humane legislation on this issue. Sadly, I have never met Royale with Speed. We sent him to a ranch in the Midwest where he lives a very happy life. Animals are resilient. All he needed was love and patience.

K: What is your involvement with PETA these days?
JM: I work with them on egregious animal welfare issues that require money and awareness to help initiate change.

K: What’s your biggest riding or horse-training challenge?
JM: Jumping. I suck at it.

K: What is your fitness regime for your horses?
JM: They all are in training so they work six days a week for 45 minutes. They get turned out every day.

K: What is the biggest challenge of having horses?
JM: Wishing I could see them more.

K: What advice do you have for horse lovers juggling work and horses?
JM: Find the time. It’s the best form of stress relief.

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  1. this woman has turned me off to her yet again. She is involved with PETA. That is an organization who believes that ownership of animals is abuse. They would rather euthanize an animal who is perfectly healthy then adopt them out. There are the option rate is 1% their euthanasia rate is 99% in their shelters. The fact that miss Michaels supports them makes me want to go out of my way to never support her


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