Category Archives: Training/Clinics

Auction Winners Collect on Winning Bid for Laura Kraut and Nick Skelton Clinic

Barbara Borg and Quinn, Nick Skelton, Laura Kraut and Mary K Schaughnessy and Java. Photo by Sue Weakley.

Wellington, FL – March 9, 2017 – Barbara Borg and Mary K. Shaughnessy looked like they were having the time of their lives. They were all smiles as Olympic gold medalist Laura Kraut led them through a series of exercises including flat work, ground poles and jumps. But more important, the three equestrians were doing it for a good cause: The Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center located in Loxahatchee, Florida.

Kraut and seven-time Olympic athlete Nick Skelton offered up a clinic, including a barn tour and lunch, as a fundraiser for the 30th Annual Vinceremos Benefit Dinner and Auction in February. As the bidding heated up during the live auction, Kraut and Skelton graciously offered TWO clinics and Borg and Shaughnessy were the winning bidders for one day while Angi Holtgers won the other day, netting $40,000 in donations for the two clinics to the Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center. Vinceremos serves children and adults with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities in Palm Beach County through unique equine partnerships and Borg and Shaughnessy are fans of the non-profit.

“Mary K. and I are good friends and we did this three years ago,” Borg said. “We were at the benefit and it was available again and we looked at each other and said, ‘Can we do it again?’ I love Vinceremos and they do so many wonderful things. What better way to contribute to it? I just had a tour of Vinceremos last week, so this was perfect.”

She and her 10-year-old Brandenburg gelding Quinn took the jumps in stride in the South Florida humidity. “It was fabulous and so much fun,” she said.

“It was great,” Shaughnessy echoed. “Working with horses is a benefit for children and adults and this combines everything: caring about people and caring about horses.” She loves that the charity is local, allowing visits and volunteering opportunities. She and Borg used to ride together until they branched off into different disciplines but they have remained friends. Borg is competing in the hunter ring while Shaughnessy concentrates on flatwork and jumping exercises on her Hanoverian, Java.

“I was lucky enough to have been in a clinic with these two a few years ago,” Kraut said, laughing that she counts on them as her faithful buyers who won’t leave her standing on a stage at a charity auction without “purchasing” her. “It was really fun. Both of them are on different horses this time and they’re both wonderful riders. They’ve really got great eyes and they see the distances well. We just tried to work on some of the fine points of strength and concentration.”

In fact, Kraut schooled both riders on getting more energy out of their horses. “One of the hardest things to learn in riding is getting a reaction,” she said. She also had them work on asking for accuracy and establishing straightness. “A very important thing is to feel the horse is straight before you ask him to move laterally. In hunters, a correct straight approach is everything. If your horse is crooked or off balance, you also have a better chance of getting a rub.”

Kraut was as equally enthusiastic about helping Vinceremos as she was the riders. “It’s an honor to get to do something for such a great cause,” she said. “It’s the least we can do.”

Susan Guinan, Director of Development for Vinceremos, was on hand to watch the clinic. “I’m thrilled that Laura and Nick and so many are willing to support the efforts we make at Vinceremos, because it absolutely does enrich the lives of all those children and all those adults. For these kids and adults, holding the rein translates into holding a spoon or a crayon. It makes a difference in their everyday lives.”

For information about how you can help, call (561) 792-9900 or email Vinceremos at

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

I heard one of the horses at our barn say that the grass is always greener at the barn across the road. I’ve heard people say that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but I think the grass here at home is just right. YUMM!

Sometimes people think if they buy a new horse, get a new trainer, order a new saddle, or move to a different barn, that things are going to be “greener,” or better for them. But remember this: changing things on the outside is much easier than changing things on the inside. What if changing things on the inside was the only way to really CHANGE?

If you’re one of those people who thinks the grass is greener somewhere else, I challenge you to stop for a moment and direct your attention to what is going on INSIDE YOU. Because if you move, buy a new horse, change trainers, or get a new piece of tack, you’ll still have YOU in the equation. YOU are the common denominator. Is there anything you’re doing that you need to change first?

Change is inevitable, but growth is optional. Change is rarely easy. But if you really want things to be different, start from the inside. Growing strong from within is the foundation of everything you wish to achieve.

Let’s go work on our canter departs today!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I am the King of the Forest! Okay, maybe I’m just the King of the Pasture. But it’s fun to pretend. I can imagine all the other animals being in awe of me as I sneak around in the bush, ready to pounce.

When I was a puppy, I wasn’t afraid of anything. I had never been hurt, and everything I needed had always been provided for me. I was fearless as I prowled the thick grass around my home and chased anything that moved.

Then one day a horse stepped on my foot. I don’t think the horse meant to do it, but it HURT! Now when I visit the horses, I’m more careful. I’m not really afraid of them, especially my friend Moshi, but I’m cautious like I never was before I got hurt.

I’ve listened to Jane as she helps people with their fear of riding horses. Often these people are terrific riders who had been hurt by a horse accident and found that they lost their nerve. I know just how they feel.

It takes willingness and dedication to let go of our mental monsters. But the kind of people who seek Jane’s help are the kind who love horses so much that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to move on from the fear. Their love of horses is stronger than their natural desire to avoid anything that might cause them injury or pain.

I’m so glad Jane and Rhett took me back to the barn and helped me overcome my fear of being stepped on. I’d feel very badly if I didn’t get to visit my friend Moshi anymore. My love for Moshi is stronger than my fear of being stepped on. So I was willing to do the work to let go of my fear. And I’m glad I’ve learned how to be safer when I’m around those giant feet!

What are you afraid of? Is it worth the risk to overcome your mental monsters? Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

Meet me at the barn and we’ll see if you need some help with fear! I’ll be the one pouncing on monsters in the grass.

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website

Michel Assouline Conducts Para-Dressage Symposium March 12-14 in Wellington

Michel Assouline (credit

Wellington, FL – February 22, 2017 – Michel Assouline will conduct a Para-Dressage Symposium March 12-14, 2017, following the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* in Wellington, Florida, March 9-12. The symposium will take place at the Van Kampen Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Riders will begin working with Assouline on March 12, and will continue to ride over two full days March 13 and 14. The cost of the symposium is $500 for riders and $200 for auditors. The focus of the symposium will be finding the appropriate competitive horse for each athlete’s Grade, working on what the judges are looking for in the new FEI Para-Dressage Tests. Assouline will work in collaboration with the U.S Para-Dressage Technical Advisor and Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt. For more information on the details of this symposium, please contact Laureen Johnson, High Performance Director, Para Equestrian & Vaulting, United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Email: .

About Michel Assouline

Michel is a graduate of the French National Equestrian School, home of the Cadre Noir in Saumur and gained a vast international experience in the USA, France, Germany and the United Kingdom as an international dressage rider and trainer. Michel was long-listed to represent France at the Seoul Olympics and won the French National Championships in 2000.  He has also scored numerous successes at International and National level.

Michel was voted in 1995 UK Dressage Trainer of the Year, and is a member of the International Dressage Trainers Club. He is also currently on the British Dressage panel of trainers eligible to judge Potential International Dressage Horse classes and officiated several times at the Championships for four, five and six-year-old horses.

In 2005 Michel became the British Para-Equestrian Dressage Team Coach and has led Team GBR riders to win Team Gold medals at the 2005 European Championships, the 2007 World Championships, the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, the 2009 European Championships, the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games, the 2011 FEI Europeans, the 2012 London Paralympic Games, the 2013 FEI Europeans, the 2014 FEI World Equestrian Games, the 2015 FEI Europeans and the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. At the Rio Games his athletes came back with a total of four silver and seven gold medals, medaling in all their classes contested.

In March 2009 Michel was awarded the PDTT Coaching Award, and in November 2012 Michel was awarded the UK Sports Coach Medal and inducted in the Coaching Hall of Fame at the UK Coaching Awards ceremony. Later that year at the London Olympia International he received the prestigious British Equestrian Federation Medal of Honour. Team GBR made the following statement at the time: ‘Michel has been the British Paralympic team coach for eight years, during which time the GB team have remained unbeaten at major team championships, amassing 85 medals in total, including the 2012 Paralympic haul of 11.

At the 2016 UK Coaching awards Michel Assouline, along with Carl Hester, Angela Weiss, Lisa Hopkins and Helen Burt, was awarded the Mussabini Medal – a sports award recognizing Coaches of British sports people and teams, and was inducted in the UK Coaching Hall of Fame.  Michel recently successfully completed the inaugural intake of UK Sport’s Elite Coaching Programme.

For more information on the details of this symposium, please contact Laureen Johnson, High Performance Director, Para Equestrian & Vaulting, United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. Email:

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

When I was a baby, I used to love to run around the pasture as fast as I could go, then launch myself in the air, kick out behind, land with a thud, then do a sliding stop into my mom’s side. It was great fun. I would play fight with my friends, rearing up and striking at each other with our little hooves as we shook our heads in mock anger. We were preparing for the day we’d have to fight for our own band of mares, but we were also just having fun.

Of course, being a domesticated fellow, I never had to fight for a band of my own. My “family” became Jane, Rhett, and Indy. I have horse friends too, but I’ve never had to compete for company or food. That’s the nice thing about being cared for by human friends.

But that playful colt is still in there. Sometimes, when I’m turned out, I run as fast as I can and launch myself in the air. It’s not as easy as it was when I was a baby, but it’s still fun. It’s exhilarating.

What fun things have you stopped doing? What could you do, today, that would put a smile on your face or rekindle the enthusiasm you had as a youngster?

I heard Jane say once, “We don’t stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.”

I hope you’re going to go to the barn today! Your horse wants to PLAY with you!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

In dog years, I’m a teenager. I’m at the prime of my life. I can run as fast as a car (well, at least a car going down the driveway), I can jump as high as a deer, I can wrestle my friend Geoffrey to the ground in three seconds or less, and I can catch a fast moving ball in mid-air.

I don’t intend to grow up. You know what? I don’t have to! I’ve heard Rhett tell Jane how much he enjoys my child-like enthusiasm in everything we do together. He says I remind him to “play full-out.”

Play isn’t just something for kids. The sense of play is what keeps you going when things get tough. It is the inspiration to keep you from stopping when you’re tired. It’s the difference between quitting and giving everything you’ve got.

It’s easy to change your mental focus from serious to playful – just remind yourself of a time when you had a whole lot of fun doing something you love to do. Remind yourself what that feels like. Own it. Feel it. Let your imagination rekindle that sense of fun and excitement! Then apply it to the thing you’re doing now.

My body may look all grown up, but my enthusiasm for life is very puppy-ish. I don’t intend to ever lose that. And I intend to remind both Rhett and Jane how to maintain that sense of play, no matter how serious the task may be. That’s a very serious job, but I do it with joy and playfulness.

Come on! Grab the ball and let’s go outside! Let’s go PLAY!

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website

Sierra Keasler Accepts Invite for USEF’s Select Athlete’s One-on-One Coaching with Charlotte Bredahl

Sierra Keasler and Lux Stensvang (Photo courtesy of

Wellington, Florida (February 7, 2016) – The USEF’s Dressage Youth Program targets some of the country’s best up-and-coming dressage talent, helping aspiring Juniors and Young Riders break their glass ceilings and build their skills in the upper echelons of dressage sport. As part of their resolve to connect with and teach America’s future dressage stars on a more regular basis, the USEF implemented the Select Athlete’s One-on-One Coaching Program, which identifies top Juniors and Young Riders to connect with top FEI coaches with the intention of providing support and resources for them to advance in competition. Following a decorated Junior and Young Rider career, Wellington, Florida based dressage rider Sierra Keasler was selected to participate in the prestigious 2017 coaching program with FEI Judge Charlotte Bredahl.

Horse and athlete combinations must meet rigorous criteria to be considered, including average scores of 68% or higher on the USEF Ranking Lists for the 2017 and 2016 Festival of Champions/NAJYRC/U25 Grand Prix or have earned a top 3 placing of 68% or higher in the last 12 months in the Young Rider or Junior Divisions at the Festival of champions and/or CDIs. Keasler, who has been a top placed competitor since 2011, has numerous advanced dressage placings including Reserve Champion in the Brentina Cup, a top 5 finish in the NAJYRC, and scores over 70 in the FEI Grand Prix and U25 Grand Prix. She currently trains with Silke Rembacz in Wellington, Florida, who will be included in the coaching program’s workshops as she and Bredahl work to take Keasler’s career to the next level. As she gears up for another season of intense competition on Florida’s winter dressage circuit, Keasler is thrilled to be able to receive concentrated, in depth instruction from Charlotte Bredahl and Dressage Youth Program.

“Any opportunity to work with the USEF has been an invaluable learning experience and particularly rewarding in terms of my development as a rider,” said Keasler. “I’m so happy that I’ve been selected to receive the One-on-One training, and look forward to the opportunity to ride with Charlotte and utilize the input from a highly regarded coach and judge. I cannot state enough how beneficial these programs are for competitors and am thankful that the USEF has chosen to invest their time and efforts into developing young riders.”

Keasler began her advanced dressage career in 2011 as a successful Junior competitor in the NAJYRC. She placed in the top 5 at Nationals that year, and quickly progressed to the FEI level, earning her USDF Silver Medal after competing Hyperion Farm’s Corcovado at Prix St. Georges. She and Corcovado were also the Fourth Level Young Rider Region 3 Champions in 2014. In 2015 she earned the ride on Lux Stensvang, and in their first outing at Grand Prix scored 72.9%. That same year they successfully competed in the U25 Grand Prix at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival and were the Reserve Champions in the 2015 Brentina Cup. In 2016 she again campaigned Lux in the U25 Grand Prix, culminating in a 4th place overall finish at the 2016 US Dressage Finals. After purchasing Lux as her primary competition mount, Keasler began training in 2016 with FEI dressage trainer Silke Rembacz as she prepares for the 2017 Adequan Global Dressage Festival.

Media contact:
Equinium Sports Marketing, LLC
Holly Johnson
954 205 7992

The Warm-Up, by Jane Savoie

Many riders get confused about how to warm up their dressage horses so they can have a productive schooling session. As a rider and trainer, your goal in the warm-up is to take the restrictions away from your horse’s body. Depending on the day, your warm-up could be as short as ten minutes, or it could end up being your entire ride.

Here are 9 tips to help you with your warm-ups:

  1. Since your horse has probably been standing in the stall, spend the first five to ten minutes walking around on a loose rein.
  2. After walking around “on the buckle” for several minutes, pick up a contact with his mouth so you can begin your warm-up.
  3. Focus on the first three ingredients of the Training Scale: rhythm, suppleness, and connection. I always start my work with those first three ingredients on a large circle. Then, if all goes well, I’ll go large around the arena.
  4. Rhythm: As you walk, trot, and canter, check that the rhythm is always regular and that the tempo is neither too fast nor too slow.
  5. Suppleness: Spend as little or as much time as you need to supple and relax your horse both mentally and physically. Work done in tension is a waste of time. When you supple your horse, you’ll relax him physically. Once he’s physically relaxed, he’ll relax mentally.

In a nutshell, to supple your horse, bend his neck seven inches to the inside of a neutral position (neutral is when his nose is in line with the crease in the middle of his chest) while you close your leg on the same side.

Do a set of “three supples,” meaning you’ll bend and straighten him three times quickly but smoothly. Then do nothing for seven or eight strides, followed by another set of three supples. (This “suppling” technique is described in detail in Dressage 101, Train with Jane Volume 1, and A Happy Horse Home Study Course.)

  1. Connection: Use the connecting aids to put your horse on the bit. The connecting aids last approximately three seconds. During those three seconds you add, add, add hind legs through your closed outside hand while maintaining flexion at the poll to the inside.

To apply the connecting aids:

  • Close your legs steadily for three seconds as if asking for a lengthening.
  • Close your outside hand in a fist to capture and recycle the energy back to the hind legs.
  • Keep the neck straight by giving three to four little squeezes or vibrations on the inside rein.

In warm-up, I connect my horse and then ride him long and low as seen in the picture; or, if he tends to be heavy on the forehand, I ride in a horizontal balance with his topline more parallel to the ground.

  1. When things fall apart, always go back to the beginning of the training scale. First, reestablish regular rhythm. Then, supple your horse. Finally, ask for connection.
  2. While focusing on rhythm, suppleness and connection, it’s appropriate to ask your horse to do school figures like circles, serpentines, and shallow loops.

The First and Second Level horse can do school figures as well as leg-yields and rubber band exercises like modest lengthenings.

  1. Many riders do a lot of transitions from gait to gait with their dressage horses in the warm-up. Personally, I think your horse needs to be warmed up sufficiently before you can expect him to do good transitions. As a general rule, I save schooling the transitions until the second phase of my work, after the warm-up is complete.

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website

Kristi Wysocki Conducts International Para-Dressage Symposium

Para Dressage Judge Kristi Wysocki talks about shoulder in.

Wellington, FL – January 28, 2017 – Following a successful Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* in Wellington, Florida, FEI 3* Dressage and FEI 4* Para Dressage Judge Kristi Wysocki conducted an international Para-Dressage Symposium in Collaboration with U.S. Technical Advisor Kai Handt. The symposium ran over three days January 22-24, 2017, and it included demonstration rides of the new tests given by top level Dressage riders. The focus of the symposium was to talk about and work on technical aspects of the FEI tests that were recently released.  Kristi Wysocki was able to give her recent experience judging the new tests at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* and explain to the riders what they should aim for in each Para-Dressage Grade. Kai Handt worked with the riders and spoke to them about horse preparation and expectations in the ring. The format of the symposium included both riding intensive and sit down discussions.

Each FEI Para-Dressage Grade Test was demonstrated by top Dressage athletes those included Shelly Francis, Noel Williams, Rebecca Waite, Roz Kinstler, and Jessica Rhinelandar. During the Grade V test demonstration by Grand Prix rider Noel Williams with horse Caprice, owned by Hampton Meadows Farm, Wysocki spoke about the importance of geometry.

“It’s important to make sure your geometry is perfect,” stated Wysocki. “If you don’t get the geometry correct you get in trouble with balance and gait. If you know a particular movement is difficult for your horse, you can use certain preparations or movements on the geometry to get the best score.”

She also spoke about transitions. “Don’t throw your transition score away. Even if you have trouble in the lengthening, for example, make sure the transition is done well.”

Hope Hand, President of the United States Para-Equestrian Association, was happy with both the CPEDI3* and the participation at the symposium. Hand acknowledged, “I want to thank all those involved with both the CPEDI3* and the symposium. That includes the riders and support staff; Judges President Kristi Wysocki (USA), Carlos Lopes (POR), and Anne Prain (FRA); Show management, Thomas Baur, Monica Fitzgerald; Sponsors Mission Control and Mane Stream, Rowan O’Reilly; Chef d’Equipe Kai Handt; USEF Discipline Director Laureen Johnson; USEF; and USPEA.”

She continued, “Even with low entries, this event jump started the season off with great enthusiasm and hope for a fantastic year heading into The World Equestrian Games. The January show is a good way for our Developing Riders to get their feet wet and they did just that with promising scores that met the first step of WEG qualifications. I am excited to see new horse rider combinations coming up the ranks. I look forward to seeing our riders return in March.”

The Adequan® Global Dressage Festival CPEDI3* in Wellington, Florida is scheduled for March 9-12, 2017 at The Stadium at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.

For more information about the USPEA, please visit or contact USPEA President Hope Hand by e-mail: or by phone: (610)356-6481.

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

Misunderstandings happen. It’s just part of life. But it sometimes it hurts when we feel like we aren’t heard or we are misunderstood.

I thought Jane asked for a left lead canter depart but she apparently was only asking me to collect a bit more. I got confused and got upset. She was quiet and patient with me, but I was still a bit rattled. I remembered getting in trouble when I was a little colt, and that memory came back to me and frightened me. Once I understood what Jane was really asking, I got it right and we both felt better.

We perceive our lives through our personal histories. There is no such thing as an unbiased perception. For this reason, the best practice is to recognize that we all see things a little bit differently. Sometimes we need to ask for clarification or a different kind of explanation. We need to be kind and gentle with each other, and with ourselves. We are all doing the best we can.

Is there anything you are worried about today that might be a misperception? Perhaps it is time to ask the question. Would clarifying a situation make you feel better?

Let’s go for a ride today! Spring is in the air!

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I found it! I found the secret!

What secret, you ask? Well, the big one. The one and only TRUE statement that is always true, no matter what.

There is an ancient story of a rich and powerful King who gathered all the wisest men in his kingdom and asked them to take on a quest. The King asked them to search the world for something that was true… always and forever TRUE. Then King wanted to know that there was at least one thing he could always count on, so he would always feel secure.

The wise men traveled the earth and conferred with other wise men. They searched and they pondered. They meditated and they discussed. They gathered all the information and experiences they could, and finally came up with only one answer.

The wisest of the wise men approached the King and informed him that they could only find one thing in the universe that was ALWAYS true. With great anticipation and longing the King asked what it was. The wise man looked at the King and said, “The only thing that is always true is that everything changes.”

If you know that everything, good and bad, happy and sad, up and down, will at some point change, how does that make you want to live your life today?

Nothing is permanent. You might as well enjoy the moment… If you are in a bad way right now, know that your situation will change. It is the rule.

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website

Three USEF/USPEA National Para-Equestrian Dressage COEs Complete Series of Clinics

Thousand Oaks, California – January 11, 2017 – USEF/USPEA National Para-Equestrian Dressage Centers of Excellence (COE) Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports in Lyman, Maine; North Texas Equestrian Center (NTEC) in Wylie, Texas; and Ride On Therapeutic Riding Center in Chatsworth, Calif.; each completed a COE clinic this fall/winter season.

Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy & Sports
Lyman, Maine
October 21-22 and November 18, 2016

Carlisle Academy Integrative Equine Therapy and Sports recently conducted two Para-Equestrian clinics for para-driving and para-dressage. The clinics ran over two weekends and took place in Lyman, Maine on October 21-22 and November 18, 2016. The clinics, conducted by international para-equestrian coaches Clive Milkins and Scott Monroe, are part of Carlisle Academy’s ongoing efforts as a USEF/USPEA Para-Dressage Center of Excellence.

On October 21 & 22, 2016, five developing riders, including Carlisle’s own para-equestrian youth and disabled veterans, in addition to two adult riders from Virginia, and a PATH coach from New York took part in curriculum-rich para-dressage training with esteemed Paralympic Coach Clive Milkins. Participants gained new coaching networks, adaptive equipment ideas, and the fundamentals of para-dressage competition, but also received thought-provoking and empowering lessons to dive deeper into the sport.

On November 18, 2016, American Diving Society Judge and International Para-Driving Coach Scott Monroe offered an Introduction to Para-Driving. Participants from neighboring Maine riding centers included three PATH coaches, three veterans, several auditors, and one adult driver with a disability interested in the competitive sport experience. Monroe presented the foundations of para-driving while sharing his recent experience coaching international athlete Stefanie Putnum at the 2016 World Championship. Introductory lessons were given to those who were interested.

In both clinics, Carlisle’s Head of School Sarah Armentrout shared information on veterans’ funding assistance through the Department of Veterans Affairs, encouraging eligible veteran athletes to learn more about and engage in para-equestrian sports.

For more info on the Para-Equestrian Training Camps, contact Carlisle Academy Head of School, Sarah Armentrout at 207-985-0374,, or visit

Carlisle Academy is a recognized PATH Premier Accredited Center and a USEF/USPEA Para-Equestrian Center of Excellence.

North Texas Equestrian Center (NTEC)
Wylie, Texas
December 2-4, 2016

North Texas Equestrian Center (NTEC) of Excellence in Wylie, Texas held its first para-dressage trainer and rider forum December 2-4, 2016. This was a brand new format for the trainer and riding forum where the successful Danish Olympic coach David Amager gave a rider clinic and theory seminar after the clinics and Kai Handt USEF National Para-Dressage Advisor and Chef d’Equipe gave a Para-Dressage coach seminar. The clinic was exceptionally well received. The very intense course attracted lots of spectators, went from 8 AM to 8 PM each day, and involved not only horse and rider training but theory sessions about how to train, prepare, and show horses in national and international competition. The trainer seminar gave in-depth information about how to school and train para-equestrian athletes and horses for competition and how to correctly evaluate riders and their mounts for safety and competition.  Representatives from USEF, USOC, and USPEA were impressed with the high level of competition and excellent facilities.

USEF National Para-Dressage Advisor and Chef d’Equipe stated, “Thanks to the United States Olympic Committee for the grant to put on the first coaching forum. The seminar was an excellent combination of having a US and top rated European coach working hand-in-hand to give our riders and especially our trainers in-depth information on how to train and prepare horse/rider pairs for competition and how to evaluate upcoming or new talent for further training for competitions. The participation of local trainers as well as a few trainers from other parts of the country show that there is a large interest in seminars of this caliber and form.  We had excellent feedback on the theory, video, and printed material from athletes, trainers, and support staff. NTEC is looking forward to running multiple seminars of this caliber with international trainers and judges in 2017 and beyond.”

He added, “Just thank USOC for the Grant to put on the first coaching forum.”

Rider Katie Jackson added, “The clinic was a great experience. Everyone rode really well and showed significant improvements over the three days of riding. For me, this was my first dressage clinic since becoming a para-dressage rider.  David was spot on with his observations and gave me some really great tools to continue working with. The horse I rode, Wembley, worked hard for me all weekend and I enjoyed feeling the improvements in our connection and overall relaxation that David helped us achieve.  I really enjoyed meeting some new para-dressage riders and getting to know others better too. We had a very supportive and enthusiastic group. The NTEC family and Kai Handt did a wonderful job of organizing and hosting our weekend of learning and spoiled us with all kinds of delicious food.  Thanks to NTEC, USPEA, and USEF for making this symposium possible. I am already looking forward to the next one.”

For more information about the North Texas Equestrian Center clinic, please contact Kai Handt at and visit Office phone number: (972) 442-7544.

Ride On Therapeutic Riding Center in Chatsworth, Calif.

Ride On Therapeutic Riding Center in Chatsworth, California hosted a clinic with David Schmutz. The clinic was unfortunately cancelled after three rides due to 40 mile per hour winds.

Megan McQueeney expressed, “We couldn’t even keep the arena standing. Despite 40 plus mile an hour winds both David and the riders were extremely hearty. We managed to get in three rides before we had to cancel. Joann Benjamin also did a national classification for one rider. It was incredibly generous of Dave to offer his time to develop these riders and everyone had a great time and learned a lot despite the weather.”

She added, “We have been very pleased with the para-dressage interest we have received over the year. We hosted an Open House Clinic and Classification last fall and that event was great. Riders from all over California came including five riders that did five classifications.”

Ride On Therapeutic Riding Center in Chatsworth, Calif. will host another clinic February 5, 2017 with David Schmutz. There will also be a nationally recognized Para-Dressage show at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center May 13-14, 2017. For more information, contact Megan McQueeney at

USEF/USPEA National Para-Equestrian Dressage Centers of Excellence (COE)

The regional COE hubs of excellence goal are to attract new riders to the sport of para-equestrian dressage. Additionally, they work in partnership with the USEF high performance programs to develop athletes to a level where they can represent the U.S. in international competition and at the Paralympic Games and ultimately win medals.

COEs play a vital role in attracting dressage trainers to the sport and helping them understand the aids and methods of training the disabled athletes in para-dressage. The COEs are the primary hosts of USEF para-dressage high performance programs and educational symposiums. In addition, COEs aim to further develop their links with the therapeutic riding community, thus exposing interested athletes to competition opportunities.

Each COE is unique in the structure of their para-dressage programs and offer opportunities independent of other COEs. The USEF/USPEA is committed to working with each COE to build plans that complement their individual strengths and opportunities. These regional hubs of excellence will attract new riders to the sport of para-equestrian dressage. Additionally, they work in partnership with the USEF high performance programs to develop athletes to a level where they can represent the U.S. in international competition and at the Paralympic Games and ultimately win medals.

For more information on the COE programs, please contact USEF Director of Para Equestrian, Laureen Johnson at, or 908-326-1155.

The USPEA is the USEF’s Recognized Affiliate for all para-equestrian disciplines and exists to help develop, promote, and support athletes wishing to participate in the para-equestrian sport. For more information on getting started with para-equestrian, please visit or contact USPEA President, Hope Hand at

For more information about the USEF/USPEA Centers of Excellence, please visit or go to

Motivation from Moshi, by Jane Savoie

It’s hard for me to imagine Jane with another horse. She’s MY person, and I’m pretty possessive of her. I know she’s partnered with lots of horses before I came to her life, but I can’t imagine her with anyone but me.

I noticed Jane was a bit melancholy the other day, and then heard her say that her former mount, Woody, had passed away. Woody was very old and ready for his transition, but it was still sad for Jane to realize he was no longer on this planet.

Jane said she was so grateful that Woody had been cared for by a wonderful lady during his senior years. She talked about how much Woody had taught her, and how much fun they had together at shows and clinics over the years. Jane intentionally focused on the brightness he brought to her and others’ lives, not on the loss of his passing.

When someone dies or moves away there is a natural period of time when we need to grieve. Horses grieve too. It is easy to stay in that place of sadness and let grief become a habit. Sometimes it takes some conscious effort to focus on the happy memories and the joy your friend brought to your life. But doing so will not only help you feel much better; it will help you train your brain to look for the positive in everything.

Allow yourself to feel your feelings. There is nothing wrong with being sad or upset. Just remember that the negative feelings will subside. Just take it one day at a time, and make the decision to put some effort into your happier thoughts.

All will be well….

Love, Moshi

From Indy:

I was really hungry this morning. I mean REALLY hungry. I was so hungry I could have eaten a riding boot! But I remembered that I’m not supposed to do that anymore.

I wandered around the house and found Rhett in his office. I asked him for a biscuit, but he didn’t hear me. He was so intent on editing video he didn’t notice that I was at his side asking for something to eat.

Then I went to Jane and asked her for something to eat. She was focused on her computer, working on her next book, and didn’t even notice that I had come into the room. I sat at her feet feeling totally ignored. My feelings got hurt, and I felt very sad. I sighed and whimpered and felt like no one loved me anymore.

Before long, Jane stopped what she was doing, noticed that I was lying there, stood up, and asked me to follow her into the kitchen. She went to the cupboard and got a doggie biscuit and handed it to me with a smile. For a second, I considered refusing to take it, to punish her for being too busy for me. For a moment I thought I wanted her to feel bad, because I was feeling bad. But then I realized how silly that was.

Jane and Rhett both love me, and would never intentionally hurt my feelings. For me not to forgive them would only hurt me. So I decided to accept the gift of the biscuit and the love that came with it.

Forgiving someone helps the “forgive-er” even more than the “forgive-ee”. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to accept negative behavior. It’s simply acknowledging that we’re all doing the best we can at that moment. It is the mature act of letting go of the need to make the other guy wrong.

Who could use a dose of forgiveness in your life? Can you give them that gift? Give forgiveness a try and notice how good you feel.

Love, Indy

Jane Savoie
1174 Hill St ext.
Berlin, VT 05602
Jane’s Website