Rancho del Soule Dressage

The Art of Modern Dressage

About Stephanie

Since beginning her riding career in 1977, Stephanie brings  years of experience to competitive dressage, successfully training and showing  through the Prix St Georg.  Stephanie is a USDF L Graduate with Distinction. 

Stephanie grew up in Virginia horse country.  She was a longtime working student for noted trainer, USEF team member, and NATA (now ATA) founder Margret Gafford of Sankt Georg Farm International in Petersbrug, VA.  

Stephanie has a diverse equine background.  Stephanie initially started in the Hunter/jumper ranks at age nine, and participating in state 4-H programs.  Exposure to dressage as a working student lead to lessons with Captain Andrew DeZinay and Major Bella Buttekay.  The seeds of devotion to lifelong pursuit of a dressage education were sowed.  This developed into a working student position with Margret Gafford where she was exposed to the German riding doctrine, experiencing life on a Trakehner breeding farm that began in the breeding shed and culminated in the Grand Prix arena. 

While attending the VA Tech and earning a Bachelor of Science double majoring in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Equine Nutrition, while minoring in both biology, equine exercise physiology she also competed on the VA Tech Horse Judging Team and IHSA Hunter/Jumper Team.  She also worked full time at the VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine while maintaining two of her own horses and training with Heidi Erikson and Theresa Little.  These experiences have provided Stephanie with a well-rounded approach to horse training.

In June, 2004, Stephanie brought her skills as a rider and trainer to Grand Junction, CO. Stephanie believes that continuing education is a key component to her riding and training. Stephanie regularly rides with noted S judges Dolly Hannon and Debbie Rhiel-Rodriguez, Jean Francois-Favier previously of the Cadre Noir at Samur, France, and FEI trainer and competitor Susan Schneider, in addition to on-going participation with various clinicians.

Training Philosophy

Stephanie's Training Philosophy

My success has been developed through my use of classical training, using the training scale for both horse and rider. The beauty and harmony that is dressage is the responsibility of the thinking, training rider.  By identifying the rider's strengths and opposing weakness/deficiencies and systematically explaining how to overcome them; I teach the rider to  become a thinking, training rider.  It always starts with the rider.

It is then that my job as a trainer helps to create a successful partnership between horse and rider. It is important to base a training program on the rider's ambition combined with the capabilities of the horse. Establishing a progressive, goal-oriented training program enables the rider to achieve their objectives in a sound, positive environment. In my lessons I adjust the pyramid (rhythm, suppleness, contact, straightness, impulsion and collection) to each  horse and rider: always explaining cohesively the how's and why's of utilizing dressage to gymnasticize the horse.. For training to progress it is essential that the rider's aids are not only correct, but also effective. Using a consistent method will help create the best relationship between horse and rider.

Stephanie is available for lessons, clinics and training. Phone: (970)-201-0747 Or Click here to email Stephanie


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