For over 20 years the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) has been educating all levels of eventing instructors to confirm their knowledge base, both theoretical and practical, upon which they will continue to build throughout their teaching lifetime. The USEA is now shining the spotlight each month on some of the 300 ICP Certified Instructors. Click here to learn more about the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program.
Get to know a few of the ICP Instructors from Area VII, which includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.
Marc Grandia is an ICP Level III certified instructor that is located in Duvall, Washington at Common Ground Stables. He and his wife, Erin Grandia, an ICP Level II certified instructor, operate Full Gallop Eventing. Marc also travels around the Pacific Northwest to teach clinics. "I specialize in forming a solid foundation of the basics of riding to help build rider’s confidence when combining the elements of training for a competition," Marc said. "I clinic in several locations multiple times a year to help progress the horse and rider pair throughout the year. We do offer training at our home base of Common Grounds Stables. Many of my riders have competed in the AEC and Area Championships. Bringing young horses along to the upper levels is another passion of mine."
"I like to build a healthy relationship between myself, the rider, and the horse to form a strong partnership to reach their goals," he continued. "Through hard work, dedication, and of course fun, we work to achieve goals set throughout the year to have a successful competition season."
Grandia is also a licensed "R" Course Designer and designs courses all over the Western U.S. and Canada. "Being a course designer helps me as an instructor and rider to fully understand what is being asked by the questions in competition and allows me to be a better instructor. I also am working on creating new frangible cross-country fences to continue to make our sport safer."
"I teach riders of all ages through Preliminary," Erin shared. "I teach both teenagers and adults and enjoy taking them to their first events or helping them reach their goals at the next level. I encourage a positive attitude with all my riders, which promotes progress over perfection and puts the horse first. I teach them to see the bigger picture and long term goal of why they are doing this sport and let that drive them through their training. We create a team atmosphere at our barn with hard work and mutual support."
"I run my business alongside my husband, who is an ICP Level III certified instructor and an Advanced level rider. It’s a lot more fun to do your job with your partner by your side!"
ICP Level II certified instructor Jenny Holbrook runs Lodestar Training at Tall Firs Equestrian Center in Monroe, Washington. "I specialize primarily in young adults and adult amateurs who want to safely and successfully navigate into the show ring at the lower levels, though Preliminary. I also specialize in developing young horses through the levels. I had two horses who started their eventing careers with me in 2017 qualify and compete at the USEA American Eventing Championships last summer!"
"I strongly believe in fun, positive, flexible training and coaching methods for both horse and rider as well as teamwork and correct basics on the flat and over fences. I believe in building a supportive barn community with horses and riders from all different backgrounds! I really enjoy building lasting relationships with each of my clients and working together to develop a program that works best for them depending on each individual horse and rider's needs. I do not believe in a one-size-fits-all for humans or horses and do my best to use different exercises and tools tailored to how each individual horse and/or rider learns."
Holbrook graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in U.S. History and was considering law school but knew deep down she wanted to teach and train. "When I was 10 years old the neighbors would let me ride their pony and I pretended I was doing a 'training ride' on it, but it usually just rubbed me off on the fence around the arena or bucked me off promptly. Luckily, I have learned to stick a little better over the years!"
Anne Ryan is an ICP Level II certified instructor in Bainbridge Island, Washington at Stoneybrook Stables. "My specialty is teaching the skills needed for jumping," Ryan said. "From someone’s first fence to problem-solving a competitive rider’s challenges, I enjoy teaching jumping for all levels. My philosophy is to create confident partnerships between horses and riders so they can be successful at whatever level they choose."
In addition to instructing, Ryan is an avid reader. "I read lots of books - two to three per week - and books of all kinds!"
Christel Carlson is an ICP Level I-Novice certified instructor that owns Spokane Sport Horse Farm in Spokane, Washington, She also travels to Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, and Western Montana to teach. Carlson's specialty lies in dressage and biomechanics for both horse and rider. "I believe correct basics in rider’s position make all of the work easier/more fun for rider and horse," she said. Carlson is also a licensed official for dressage and eventing, DSHB, and FEH/YEH. "I love running our two events including the USEA Classic Series Three-Day at my farm."
ICP Level Level I-Training certified instructor Marie Schofield trains out of Lyleland Training Barn in Lyle, Washington as well as Borrego Springs, California in Area VI. She specializes in introducing riders to the sport of eventing and learning to communicate with their horses while staying safe. "My 'philosophy' is to ride what we have and do it well," she said. "My facility is small, private, and in a rural setting. Some of my students want to compete and some don’t. All want to improve, which makes teaching fun for me. I truly enjoy teaching my few very dedicated folks. Teaching is my passion and I don't consider it work. I am always learning from the horses and my students, who become my friends."
Julie Hook, an ICP Level IV certified instructor, teaches at Talisman Farm in Aurora, Oregon. "I teach all ages, having started Lizzie Snow when she was 2 years old to helping 90-year-old Sally St. John with her daily rides until two weeks before she died," Hook shared. "When starting new riders, I like to use a vaulting surcingle and have them walk, trot, and canter on the lunge line with no hands before they take the reins. Relaxation and being sympathetic to the horse are are key points in my teaching, and I strive to be patient as each person learns and progresses at their own rate."
"I believe in teaching good horsemanship as well as proper riding," she continued. "No matter what level a rider aspires to achieve competitively, I teach them that the horse comes first and they learn about care and conditioning along with riding. Promoting responsibility, good sportsmanship, and a positive community environment in the barn are all part of my teaching."
When she was learning to ride, Hook groomed for several of the U.S. Team riders. "I played polo, drag hunted, and vaulted in addition to riding in Pony Club, where I earned my "A" rating in 1969. Jack Le Goff’s grandson rode with me when he was young and Jack came to watch me teach one day. I was a nervous wreck, but it went well!"
ICP Level III certified instructor Stephanie Goodman lives in Boise, Idaho where she operates Wasatch Sport Horses. "We own and run a full-service competitive training facility with two large outdoor arenas, indoor, cross-country access, and more," she said. "Our team travels all over the country and Canada to compete, teach, and train for improvement, enjoyment, and challenge. We have kids and adults all wanting the tools to improve the quality of time with the horse in competition and at home. We are a community of like-minded horse enthusiasts that support one another on reaching our goals and enjoying the process and the animal as we go!"
"I really get more enjoyment out of watching my students reach their goals and milestones as in my own riding," Goodman added. "I coach and teach because of the joy it brings me and wanting to share tools and experiences with others so they can feel it too!"
Sarah Lorenz, who holds ICP Level II, USEA ICP Certified Young Horse Instructor, and USEA ICP Certified Young Horse Professional Trainer certifications, teaches at Stone's Throw Farm in Wilsonville, Oregon, outside of Portland. "Having ridden through the Advanced level many years ago, my focus has shifted to giving young horses a proper foundation and teaching riders correct basics," Lorenz said. "For over 25 years, I have been teaching both adults and children. I have enjoyed my time working with the local Pony Clubs in both the Oregon and Northwest Region as well as the Area VII Young Rider program. As a rider, I am currently developing several talented young horses with hopes to train them through the levels of eventing and dressage."
"I firmly believe in building a strong dressage foundation as the building blocks to progress one’s jumping. Getting to know each horse/ rider’s strengths and weaknesses will reveal a pattern of success. I love to create an individualized road map for each student. A successful outing at a level entered in a competition matters most rather than how high of a level or the ribbons achieved. Improving your skills, putting in personal bests, and enjoying the process creates a sustainable life with horses. As a Pony Club 'A' graduate myself, I am a huge supporter of my students joining the organization especially for the exceptional horsemanship that it provides."
"For several years I was breeding a few Holsteiner mares for eventing. Recently, I have had the pleasure of working with two endangered breeds, the Cheval Canadien and the Cleveland Bay. Both have incredibly willing temperaments, are very amateur-friendly, have sport horse athleticism, and most have good feet and bone. I have begun to cross a few select Holsteiner mares to create a unique versatile sport horse. I also support pure breeding to assist in the continuation of these wonderful breeds!"
Sara Mittleider, an ICP Level III certified instructor, operates Mittleider Eventing at Rocky Hollow Farm in Kuna, Idaho. She also travels throughout the Pacific Northwest and California to teach and host clinics. "I have coached successful adult riders at the USEA American Eventing Championships [and I focus on] safety in a positive learning environment," she said. "I have competed at 48 FEI Events on six different horses in three different countries."
ICP Level II certified instructor Stephanie Parker operates Parker Eventing in Redmond, Oregon, although she also travels to teach clinics in the Pacific Northwest and California. "[I focus on] strong basics," Parker said. "I am devoted to developing riders and horses. I have developed beginner kids to FEI Young Riders and OTTBs to FEI level mounts. I have helped adult riders with no competitive background become competitive eventers and assisted riders with 'backyard' horses train and complete their first event. My small eventing farm has a nice cross-country schooling facility to support the development of horse and rider."
"I enjoy teaching," Parker continued. "To help a student acquire new skills is what brings me enormous job satisfaction. I teach correct fundamentals and work to impart the 'whys' and the 'hows.' My goal is that a rider becomes an empathetic, self-confident problem solver who enjoys their horse and our wonderful sport."
"My ancestry traces back to farming folk who came to this great country in 1633. Five generations ago my family pioneered from Missouri to Oregon over the Oregon Trail. My predecessors have been Oregon farmers and educators, interestingly that seems to be coupled in me!"
World-class equestrian competition is back with full spectator attendance and opportunities for giving back
After a one-year hiatus for spectators due to Covid-19, The Event at Rebecca Farm will be running at full strength for competitors and spectators, July 21-25. The Event draws more than 600 riders and 8,000 spectators each year to the picturesque Flathead Valley in northwest Montana.
Max Corcoran, President of the USEA & 5* event groom, joins host Nicole Brown. Talking all things from preparations & time management tips to specific top-level grooming insights. Max shares her wealth of experience with us, highlighting that knowing your horse is the most important factor when considering all elements of equine management.
“My whole journey has been a series of interconnected circles,” says Gina Miles.
The central compass point of those circles has been the Olympics. The Games are what set the Californian on her path, and where she reached her pinnacle - the individual silver medal in Hong Kong in 2008.
Gina, now 47, was 10 when the Olympics came to Los Angeles in 1984.
Plenty of event riders have chosen to cross oceans and base themselves thousands of miles away from “home” in pursuit of their career dreams - look at the likes of New Zealanders Sir Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson, and now Tim and Jonelle Price, while Andrew Hoy, Clayton Fredericks and of course Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton have set sail from Australian shores. Not many American riders do it, though, probably because the sport is big enough and competitive enough in the U.S. not to make it necessary.