“The horse is a great equalizer, he doesn’t care how good looking you are, or how rich you are or how powerful you are – he takes you for how you make him feel.”
WHERE THE JOURNEY BEGAN.
“I was always drawn to horses. As a kid, there was an intense magnetic pull toward them and I’ve been obsessed for as long as I can remember. My family is ‘non-horsey,’ but my grandfather (a race car engineer, who fantasized himself a cowboy) always rented a gentle Quarterhorse for the Salinas Rodeo Parade. I was a toddler when my dad popped me up in the saddle with my Papa Lee and I imagine the obsession started from there.
I started my riding life with lessons at Cypress Stables in Monterey, Ca at 8 years old. Cypress was a very typical hunter/jumper, family, orientated barn where the lesson ponies taught me how to hold on tight and sit through some wild rides. I got my first horse at 14 years old. Jack was a papered OTTB, with a sorted past, but a big jump and a bigger bolt. He was cheap, and silly and no one else would ride him. He taught me the art of letting go of a bolting horse, riding it through and how to not hold a grudge. Definitely a great metaphor for life. “
My philosophy in training horses from the start to FEI:
I am an ambitious competitive rider, however I believe and have experienced that when training horses we are either building them up or breaking them down. My main objective is to always be working toward building them up to be content in their work and their time with their people, and on the best of days, truly enjoying what we want to do with them. After all, participating in horse sport wasn’t ever the horse’s idea.
Through horsemanship rooted in the understanding and continuous learning about how horses think based on how their nervous system’s function, I always strive to work with them as individuals and in a way that never preys on their instincts as flight animals.
An added benefit to my training clients has been my certification in Equine Body Work. This heightened level of awareness of the why and how of equine biomechanics helps me daily in riding and teaching in a way that is fair and true to the horse’s actual abilities so as to avoid the unnecessary and unproductive training that happens when there is a disconnect in understanding of both the horse and rider.
Each of my training horse’s programs are designed for results and we are goal oriented, but desires for the future should never supersede what is fair to the horse in the moment.
The trainer that I have worked with and have the most admiration for is the late Major Miguel Tavora, a long time student of Nuno Oliveria. While I always felt Classical training was true to my heart, Miguel solidified that belief for me with his example of calm, patient, but persistent teaching and training. I strive to embody those characteristics with every one my horses.