I’m an equestrian performance coach and a hunter/jumper clinician and trainer. I have over 35 years of experience as a private trainer and member of the USEF United States Equestrian Federation (formally the AHSA), an assistant professor in equine science and management, an IHSA Intercollegiate Horse Show Association coach and an IEA Interscholastic Equestrian Association event manager. My personal journey and passion for mindfulness and self- awareness has lead me to develop a unique style of teaching and training. I blend traditional equestrian training techniques with mindfulness training and performance coaching. My 35 years of experience and training in the equine industry combined with my training and certification ( Certified Professional Coach CPC) from the International Coach Academy give me a strong foundation in both training and coaching.
My equine career started when I was 9 years old and I got my first pony that we kept at home. I began riding western and as I took lessons I developed a strong interest in hunt seat riding. Through my high school and college years that one pony turned into several horses, a tack shop and horse trailer business, a lesson and training program and many horse show experiences.
Once I graduated from college with a Bachelors in literature, I began working in Florida at a large farm and on the Florida winter show circuit. After that winter I was hired by Gary Duffy and Asbury Hill Farm as the farm manager. I eventually became the assistant trainer and traveled all over the east coast to many AHSA shows and helped to qualify several horses and ponies for Devon and the major indoor shows. Two of the ponies I helped train were Gayfield’s Blue Nile (Champion at The Pennsylvania National Show) and Serenade (Grand Champion Pony Hunter at Devon).
After several years I decided to make a change in my life so I went back to school. While at school I worked as trainer at GlanNant Farm in Ithaca, NY and then Hobby Horse Farm in Erie, Pa. I eventually graduated with a MS in Biology and began an internship as a nature educator. I then began a PhD in aquatic ecology at The University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, my funding didn’t come through. At this same time Gary and Donna Duffy began Little Brook Farm. They asked me to come work for them to help get the business started. I did and I was there for a couple of years. I was back to training and teaching all levels of riders and going to AHSA shows and helping to qualify horses and riders for indoors and Devon.
I eventually went out on my own as a freelance trainer and then began my own business called Winterset, Inc. There were trials and struggles with running my own business. When a job opened at Cornell University for the Varsity Equestrian team coach I applied and got the job. I worked there for a year and learned all about the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and coaching a team of college riders. I had a great team and still stay in touch with many of them today. But I was trying to find the career path for me. When a faculty position opened in the Morrisville State College hunt seat program I was very excited about the opportunity to coach a team and teach young people how to become successful professionals in the equine industry. I was hired and off to Morrisville I went.
When I began at Morrisville all of our programs, hunt seat, western, racing and breeding shared one barn and indoor ring. It was a balancing act to get everything done. Not long after I arrived plans for a new facility were made and a beautiful, state of the art new barn was built. The hunt seat program moved to this new facility with the breeding program and a new era began. For the next year and a half we lived without an indoor ring. Needless to say, this was a challenge in the long cold winters of Upstate NY. I was constantly watching the weather channel and did team practices in the cold at night under temporary lights and taught classes as weather permitted during the day. When it was time to host an IHSA show the horses, jumps and equipment were packed up and brought to the old indoor were we schooled and did our best to host the shows. Eventually a beautiful 100 x 200 indoor was built and we were on our way. The hunt seat program grew in size and positive national reputation. Students receive their associates and/or bachelor degrees. With 45+ outstanding horses to ride, train and care for, a barn to manage and businesses to run the students are well prepared. Semester long internships required at the bachelor level set them up for successful job placement and careers.
It has been a great career. Eighteen years later after great success with IHSA coaching and educating many young people about the ins and outs of training, teaching, managing a barn and working hard I am on to my next chapter as an equestrian performance coach. An eighteen month program with the International Coach Academy and much life and career experience has prepared me well for the performance coaching part of my new career as an equestrian performance coach. All my years in the equine industry have prepared me well for the technical aspect. Throughout the years I have had some major life upsets which made me look inside myself for the strength to move forward and the grit to make changes. Grit is a favorite word of mine. The quality of grit has allowed me to move forward in life no matter the circumstances and to embrace change. As your performance coach I will partner with you to find and use your grit to make the changes you want to make in your riding and life. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with many different riders and competitors on their journey towards mindful riding and great success.