About Us

Riding lessons and working student 1979

Pam started taking riding lessons in 1972. Focusing on dressage since 1980, she has continued to take Dressage lessons from instructors , professional trainers . judges and learn from the horses steadily for over the past forty years.

In 2008 she began an eight year sabbatical to answer a question, “What is dressage in the twenty first century?” , and to seek out actual Masters of Classical Dressage as were written about in some of the literature. Recently, this search has included an Internship with Mr. Paul Belasik who wrote the book, “ Dressage For The 21st Century”.

In 2017 Pam returned again to training full time. She has started and re-trained many horses since 1990 when after starting the three year old thoroughbred, Rondeau , he scored 70% in his first Training Level Test.

Pam also teaches Classical Dressage lessons at and away from the farm.

More About Pam

I have my parents to thank for sending me to riding lessons and making sure that I understood the basics of horse care by being a working student before they decided to help find my first horse. Thus began a lifetime of learning and a continuous search for knowledge and understanding with these beautiful animals.

Dressage was not well understood in the United States in the 1970’s and 1980’s when I was first trying to learn. I watched , read and learned while the “sport” and the “art” of dressage were articulated and demonstrated in articles from the USDF, local and national magazines, regional and national clinics and at the local barn. I was fortunate to live in a large metropolitan area where I could find international judges, trainers from around the United States, trainers from the Temple Farm Lipizzan School and even a FN Reitlehrer from Germany to learn from.

Learning to ride and train a horse that was supple and in harmony with the rider, two of the basic principles of Classical Dressage, was fairly straightforward.

In fact western trainer, Ray Hunt’s book. “Harmony With Horses” was one of my textbooks while I was in college studying Equestrian Science.

However, very few riders and trainers in the U.S. that were consistently showing horses at Third Level or above had straight, uphill flying changes or a piaffe that resulted from the horse taking weight on the haunches. Instead , in the piaffe the horse was fairly balanced on all fours and not bending the lumbar sacral joint along with the hip joint and hocks. In other words, not carrying weight on the haunches which along with suppleness and harmony with the rider was, according to Guerinierre, the goal of dressage.

My own personal training had begun to lean more toward a longer frame as what I was seeing in the “uphill” frame of many other trainers were tense horses who either used the bit as a crutch or developed various crookedness issues to avoid collection and throughness. At least, I thought , in the longer frame the horses were supple and in harmony, they understood what was being trained and were not tense. But really they could not correctly develop consistent carrying power on the haunches, over the back and nuchal ligament to the bit, unless they were one of the fortunate animals born “already collected”.

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During my sabbatical I searched out the reason for these gaps in Classical Dressage. It is no surprise that in 2011, I finally read a book written by Paul Belasik. This book was , “Nature, Nurture, and Horses” and it reminded me why I loved training and also made me laugh as Mr. Belasik described certain events which I also had had similar experiences with. Paul has done decades worth of research. Mr. Paul Belasiks’ work included collecting some very eye opening facts that were a result of his work done with his thoroughbred gelding at Michigan State University using force plates to factually see if the horse was indeed taking weight on his haunches. I did not need to keep looking. However I did spend two more years pouring over and re-reading books written on dressage by Gueriniere, Steinbrecht and Podhajsky just to name a few as the path to collection was becoming very clear.

In 2013 I spent a week at Pennsylvania Riding Academy, watching Mr.Belasik train and teach. I was awestruck by the beauty and consistency of the horses that he trained. These horses all learned to take weight on their haunches by following a system of training that has been in place at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna since its beginning in the 1600’s.

At home I taught my young mare, who has her own physical shortcomings, using these specific principles and exercises. Two years later I was able to ride this mare while I Interned with Mr. Belasik. I continued to develop her foundation and within three months watch a mare, not really built for dressage, learn to bend at the lumbar sacral joint and carry weight on her haunches. She actually does it very well, and in lightness.

Correct Classical Training is an attainable goal. It is not just a “show frame”. Collection is collection. The principles are the same but just as a young dancer must learn form and develop muscles before learning the advanced movements, so must the dressage horse.

The Classical masters of the 16th and 17th centuries learned that the Spanish breed of horse, the Andalusian, had both the most suitable conformation and temperament for dressage. With these horses they trained and perfected many of the High School movements including the “airs above the ground”.

From these horses, developed the Lipizzan breed used exclusively at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria. We Classical trainers have the Spanish Riding School to thank for not being sent off track on tangents or “new” training methods but staying with the fundamental principles of Classical Dressage and consistently training their stallions to take the weight on their haunches, many of which go on to excel at the airs above the ground.

It is my goal to give a percentage of the income that I make from teaching lessons to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna as a thank-you and to help support their Classical Dressage work.