Monet Lammers’ passion for teaching and riding continues at KML Farms
At first glance Steve and Monet Lammers’ KML Farms in Billings, Mo., may seem like just another horse facility in southwest Missouri. However, if you look just a little closer you will find something unique.
Monet started riding when she was young.
“I had a really awesome trainer in California,” she said. “She did a lot of the showing but she implemented a lot of the basics and the passion; why we like to ride. It wasn’t all about the competing and the ribbons and we did a lot of barn field trips and it felt like a family environment. Definitely I’ve pulled a lot of my program from her foundation. It was great. My second trainer, she was a grand prix rider and just lit up some passion in exploring more into that avenue. I apprenticed with a big barn out there and I kinda worked my way to the top.”
Monet then had her son and focused on being a mom for a while before moving to Missouri.
“I had kinda given up showing and teaching out in California because the politics were not what I wanted and I didn’t believe that people remembered why they wanted to ride and why they loved horses so much,” she said. “I said if I ever started again I would create something that reminded people that it’s not about the ribbons; it’s about that one on one bond with the horses, the basics and just getting to know your best friend.”
Monet couldn’t stay away from horses once she settled in Missouri.
“I started out volunteering with therapeutic riding and just realized how much I missed it and I had to get back into horses and little by little I’d run into a kid who just needed a little bit of tweaking in their riding and before I knew it we’re back into teaching again and I bought a farm.
“Steve and I bought this place four years ago in May and we just decided that it would be hands on and teach everybody everything. They could learn as much as they wanted to do; we’d have clinics, camps, field trips, and we will show as much as they want to show but it’s not about the ribbons. I love to have them just come out and hang out with their horses; learn the farrier side, the veterinary side, everything.”
Monet enjoys working with kids and young horses.
“They have so much passion and no excuses why they can’t give it their all. I love working with the adults too but the kids come out here with this huge smile just to be around the pony and you remember why you started this,” she said.
“When I first started I mostly had adult clients and then little by little I would take on their children and I just found that that’s what I loved. I love working with the kids and it’s just so fun and doing the summer camps and watching them light up with every little thing that you teach them. All the kids support each other at every single level. The top student will teach that first timer everything. It’s neat to watch them all work together and cheer each other on. I love it. It’s fun.”
In addition to the lessons, clinics, showing and other activities, Monet also started a sport pony breeding program.
“I like the Welsh pony; they have a great brain.” Monet explained. “Every horse can have a little bit of a naughty streak but I consistently like them with the kids. They are wonderful. I like to breed the sport ponies; the half Welsh and Warmblood. I think of the quality hunter pony. It’s going to have exceptional movement, a little bit larger size; I think in the area it just kind of just ups the bar a little bit for a quality pony around here. And we like the kids having a lot of hands on with the ponies to kind of get rid of the bad name of the pony. Our ponies are pretty kid friendly. Anyone can ride ours and they’re handled well and I think competing with them and taking them around just sets them up for success.”
They do most of the training at KML Farms and always prioritize quality, not quantity.
“Sometimes I’ll send them out but if we have enough staff here that it can be done safely then we’ll go ahead and start them here at about 3 years old,” Monet said. “We’ll just go slow; we do a lot of ground driving and we’ll do lunge work and put tack on them and things like that and go slow; we’ll trail ride them a little bit and lightly ride them through the 3 year old and once they’re 4, they can proceed to a little heavier program. We like to make sure that our babies are handled daily and desensitized and shown as well.”
The lesson students also benefit from is the breeding program.
“I think it is pretty cool for kids to be able to watch the process of how that amazing lesson horse got the way it is,” Monet said. “The couple that we’ve broken out, the kids has been able to watch from the very first ride. It’s neat; they can watch how they progress. Everyone wants to know how that lesson horse got so good. Well, it’s rides like this; patient rides, not pushing it, and the kids have just had a blast watching it. Yesterday we had some fun with a blow up dinosaur. Little things, desensitizing the babies, getting them used to whatever may come their way, that’s how that lesson horse got so bomb proof and so reliable so the parents could trust. When I turn my back to talk to that parent, that pony is not going to bolt away. We trust every one. And these foals that we’ve watched be born and then watch them hit the show ring. It’s just a neat process that I like being a part of.”
Monet also said there is much more to riding than winning ribbons in a show.
“We are not a big A show barn but my kids, they love their horses, they don’t care about the ribbons but they want to just hang out with their horse whether that be bareback or on trail. They love competing but it’s all about just being out here and learning.
“It’s a very tight family. Most of my clients have been with me a very long time. We have an open door policy at our house; everyone can come over for dinner, spend the night; the door is always open. No one feels like they’re intruding on us. It’s fun. I like it like that.”