Gamble & Jana"My horse, Gamble, a thoroughbred/Hanoverian cross, will be 19 years old this March. My horse had been ridden by a professional for several years and I had spent the last few years showing him in amateur jumpers. I came to April about four years ago after I saw her ad that said safe-fun-caring. I was so disgusted with my inability to have fun riding my horse that I gave her a call. We chatted and finally I set up a lesson. I’ll never forget the look on April’s face. She was stunned to see that I rode my horse in a twisted gag snaffle with a figure eight noseband. She said, "What do you need all that stuff for?" I said, "To stop him." She said, "Take it off!" We put on a plain snaffle with no nose band. Then she said, "Hop up and let’s have a look at the two of you." I was terrified.
April then proceeded to expand my comfort zone and show me how to stop my horse with my seat and my breathing. I could not believe it. I kept telling her that this was not my horse. April explained to me that if you don’t go to war with your horse, your horse will respond. He did!
It was (and sometimes still is) hard not to revert back my old riding style/habits, but I know I have made improvements because my horse is calm, enjoys his work, and moves the living best. This fall, we had the most awesome canter I have ever felt in my life. We floated around the arena and it was a brilliant feeling. Without April, I know I would never have been able to enjoy my horse. Thanks, April."
Jana Champion, 2008
Mark & Worthy Model
"I met April when one of her clients started trailering a horse in to use the arenas for a weekly lesson. I had inherited a Saddlebred gelding from my college-bound daughter, and wanted to improve my riding ability. After the first lessons, April convinced me to change from a western saddle and rope reins to an English saddle and leather reins. This allowed me to start improving my seat. Soon, I was wearing English attire also!! I then decided to change direction and concentrate on horse training. I learned this was a mistake after severely injuring an ankle at work. I was unable to ride for a few months and had my trainer do the riding. After recovering from the injury, I found I had lost the connection I had formed with my horse. Bad ground manners, an unresponsive and very difficult ride for me or the trainer had me considering sending my horse to a training barn.
Because of the costs involved, I decided to start lessons with April again. I remembered how happy I was experiencing what an improved seat did for ride quality. I found my centered seat had deteriorated significantly. April concentrated on correcting my seat position. It HURT!! Changing muscle memory in order to stay centered and develop correct form is difficult. But the results were remarkable. My horse is now so much more responsive and his movement more energetic. I can now communicate more effectively with my leg aids and my seat continues to improve with each ride. April’s help proved invaluable. It allowed me to reconnect with my horse, regain my confidence and it gave me a happy and confident riding partner. Thanks, April."
Mark Ferguson, 2008
Gwenna & Bella
"Thank you for your wonderful clinic and insight. Gwenna and Bella used your wisdom and went on to win the Event Championships for their division. We look forward to riding with you soon."
Gus, Jeanne & Gwenna Yakes, 2007 .
I met April in late 2009 at a clinic at Pine Crest Farm. She
talked to us about working with our horses and not forcing
anything. I was riding with spurs at the time, and she had
me take these off. Spurs and heels are a last resort. I
should be using my leg to move my horse. He did
exceptionally good and we had a great ride. I kept the spurs
off after that.
I continued to ride at the farm for another instructor and started to have troubles jumping. General control was good, but my horse started refusing jumps and I had a couple really bad falls. I got scared. Another clinic with April came around and I was excited and nervous as my horse was now refusing just about everything. Position, position and he jumped great.
Since this time I have ridden for April several times and learn each time. I continue to work on my seat and legs and relaxing and using the correct parts. In July I had a chance to go to Yorkshire Farm Riding School and have a private lesson. I was still afraid he was going to dump me. April had me jump several fences and he did them all wonderfully. That following Saturday I rode for our barns schooling hunt/jump show and he did wonderful and I was not afraid. Not one bit. It was the breakthrough I needed to help my horse relax.
My husband has even started riding for April and even bought an Aussie saddle so he could start to feel his horse better.We both love the way April relates her point. She offers confidence and care. Wonderful and I will continue to ride for her.
Vicki & Rob Hodel, Wisconsin Dells, WI