When did your equestrian passion begin? When I was 12 years old I saved money to buy, train and show my first pony. During my teen years I was fortunate to be able to ride and train horses for other farms. By age 20, as a graduate from Morven Park International Equestrian Institute with an Instructor’s Degree, my “toolbox”of training expanded exponentially. However, as any rider knows- the learning never stops- our equine partners teach us every day as there is so much to learn. I am continually humbled, challenged and delighted as each interaction with horses reminds my of the lifetime journey of learning.
What came next? I studied under the Director of Morven Park, the late Major John Lynch – a rider in the Olympics and World Equestrian Games, and a genius in the reins – and trained and competed under top national and international trainers. The range of this experience included eventing, managing private hunters, jumpers and fox hunting farms in Virginia, Maryland and Colorado, and training young horses.
What does your equestrian training have in common with other things you like to do? I’m a lifelong athlete, and apply my degree in Exercise Physiology and incorporate other sport skills such as windsurfing and sailing, dance, yoga, surfing etc. to everything I do. Harmonious, balanced movement is at the heart of my process.
How have your experiences shaped your teaching? Many of the tools I’ve gathered from my experiences as an educator I use to this day to facilitate learning and training. My athletic commitment gives me a particular POV that informs how I train and educate as well. Both facets make a great fit to share with my students.
Describe the key component of the training you offer your students. It’s an emphasis on position biomechanics and relaxation – allowing for true ‘feel’. This is crucial in two respects: for following the horse’s movement and for the rider to better communicate and influence their horse in learning these techniques. (and ok, humor is a major component to keep the joy present!)
Does this influence other riding disciplines? It’s a fundamental technique to help a rider excel across the spectrum of horsemanship; from groundwork, to jumping/eventing and my personal passion, Dressage. Dressage is the basis of all disciplines.
Any last words? Since the circle is such an integral part of training I apply it to myself. I believe riding, careers, relationships and life come ‘Full Circle’.