Chris Lombard and Rocky met when the horse was a 5-month-old wild and defensive foal, which made it difficult for other trainers to work with him. Taylor Abbott / The Forecaster

POWNAL — A local man has turned his passion for connecting people with horses into a way of living and the source of inspiration for his latest book.

Chris Lombard connects people with horses to allow for a safer riding and learning experience. Last month, he released his second book, “The Horses in our Stars,” where he writes about his connection with his horse, Rocky, and how that has allowed him to find wisdom and insight to guide him through life’s challenges.

“I’m drawn to write about things that have helped me greatly and also feel could help others. With my latest book, I looked at what the greatest fears we can go through in life are and the ways that horses can help us get through that by how we look and work with them and their general nature.”

Lombard’s first book is titled “Land of the Horses,” and talks about how his first experience with horses inspired him to travel west to learn more about training and taking care of the animals.

Lombard sees two to four clients each day during the week and holds group sessions on select weekends. The sessions begin with a sit-down chat to see where the client and horse are at mentally and what the goals are for the session.

“My No. 1 concern is the connection that somebody has with their horse,” Lombard said. “The feeling that they click together and have fun, even when it’s not going well. Feeling safety and togetherness is so important.”

“I’ve worked with over 2,000 horses in my life,” Lombard said. “Which means that I’ve made a lot of mistakes, so I can help people to not make the same ones, which is why I get to have this job.”

Working with horses, however, was not what Lombard always saw himself doing. After attending Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, to study criminal justice and philosophy, he knew he wanted to help people, just not the way criminal justice would allow.

“I wanted to be able to do more, to sit and talk with people and help them. I liked the idea of being in the middle of the action, but criminal justice was not the way that I wanted to do it.”

Prior to his career with horses, Lombard spent a few years managing a bar, but “we didn’t do enough business during the winter to stay open,” he said. “At this point in my life, the bar was closing, I was in a relationship that was ending and my mom, who is my only real family, went into the ICU due to a heart issue. All of these things hit at once. Around this time, I got around horses and noticed that all of these problems drifted out of my mind, and when I left them, they would pop back into my head.”

Lombard then packed up his car in 2001 and drove out West, where he worked at the Van Nostern Arabian Horse Ranch in Colorado, the Sunset Ranch in California and Rancho de la Osa in Arizona.

“My first job was painting fences and mucking out stalls in Colorado,” Lombard said. “That was my way in. After a while, I was offered an apprentice position, which was my big break. I went from barely knowing what to do around horses to being an apprenticed trainer. I learned about how horses think and react as well as the tenants of training.”

After returning to Maine in 2003, the Parsonsfield native began working as a bar manager again until he was able to establish new equine clients.

“I had to work my tail off, but then the right thing clicked into place right under my nose,” Lombard said.

Moving forward, Lombard wants to put more of his energy and focus toward group clinics to allow for a stronger bond between the clients and their horses. Summer sessions and clinics are planned in January.

More information can be found at https://chrislombard.com/clinics.

“(I want to) continue downsizing to the point where I keep growing my quality, putting more of a focus on clinics, which is where the magic really happens,” Lombard said. “I want to continue traveling with my clinics and I want to see more of the world.”


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