The Rhinestone Cowgirl ... Heidi Herriott
Contributed by Around the Water Trough
Heidi Herriott is a third-generation equestrian, show producer, trainer, and performer – sounds like a busy equestrian lifestyle!
Heidi had a childhood much different than most kids, “I had a magical childhood. I grew up in the circus with animals and a dad who was Dr. Doolittle,” smiles Heidi. Her great-grandfather travelled with the “Miller Bros. 101 Ranch and Wild West Show” as a chef and her grandfather was just a young boy when he started working with horses.
“My earliest memories are of drafts that pulled the circus wagons, ponies that performed a liberty drill, and the dancing horses. We also drove the ponies in cute carts. It was wonderful and diverse – all the disciplines!”
Heidi credits her dad as her biggest inspiration and mentor, “My dad told us we were not allowed to get mad at the animals that were working with us. No “you’re a jerk,” or “I don’t like you” to any animals. IF we were having a hard time in the training ring, it was likely us and not the animal. We needed to up our game and/or rethink our approach.”
These days, Heidi has continued her training with the 5 horses in her show ... an Andalusian mare named ‘Salsa’ and her minis - ‘Lucky Star’ (who was on America’s Got Talent), ‘Buckshot,’ ‘Lilly’ and ‘Rascal.’ Keeping it in the family, ‘Rascal’ is the baby of ‘Buckshot’ and ‘Lilly!’
It’s no surprise after her upbringing that Heidi would go into an equine based career specializing in trick, liberty and dancing horse training. “Training a horse to do tricks is not always easy. I encourage owners to be consistent and to keep it up! It’s all there for the asking,” Heidi says of owners that wish to train their horses fun tricks. A few tricks to get owners started include ‘Yes,’ ‘No,’ ‘Smile,’ ‘Pickup with mouth,’ ‘step on a pedestal,’ and ‘bow.’
Herriott encourages people to embark on liberty work and round penning with their horses prior to introducing tricks. “Owners and horses need to get some early successes, and this will keep them, and the horse engaged. People need to be prepared to work with their horse and be prepare to start.” She believes in building a solid foundation with her horses. Through her hard work and dedication her horses are willing and able, and comfortable in any situation. They are always ready to perform in their show.
Heidi is currently on tour with her family friendly show, “The Rhinestone Cowgirls,” that features the performing horses. From 2012-14, Herriott wrote, produced, directed and served as the host for a national television series, “Heidi Herriott’s HorseTrix” which aired on the RFD network. She has also served as a national spokesperson with credits including the TODAY Show, Good Morning America and Fox.
Given her expertise, she has served as the Head Trainer and Entertainment Consultant for various equestrian theaters including the Tournament of Kings Show at the Excalibur in Las Vegas and The Dancing Horse Theatre in Lake Geneva, WI. Some career highlights include appearances on Animal Planet’s Pet Star and America’s Got Talent. Heidi and her dancing horses have also performed at Walt Disney World and the Nickelodeon Studios as well as with the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus.
A few of Heidi’s favs ...
Song - Chandelier by Sia
Food - blackberry cobbler
Favorite place to visit – I love to travel and find different parts of the country and world speak to me in different ways. I do love the west - Wyoming, Montana, Colorado!