Training/Sales barn in Northern CA?
I am looking for recommendations. I have a perfectly wonderful 4 y.o. young mare that is going great under saddle, has a great mind, quality gaits, trainer loves her, well-priced, bloodlines etc, and yet nobody has made the admittedly long trek to our remote location in Northern CA to even try her. This is a shame, quite frankly, as she is exactly the kind of horse I set out to produce as a breeder. Now that Winter is nearly upon us, I am looking for a quality dressage training/sales barn location closer to a major airport or metropolitan area in the Northern CA area where it will be more likely that this mare will be seen and tried. Can anybody offer some recommendations or referrals? She's getting quality training now, that's not the issue, but having her in a more accessible area is. I posted in the Dressage forum too. Is that OK to do?
Recommending Brian Hafner as a dressage trainer.
I highly recommend Brian Hafner who currently trains at Woodbridge Farms in Petaluma, California (http://www.woodbridgefarmdresssage.com). He is an excellent young horse trainer having trained his own youngster to GrandPrix level and winning the Brentina Cup at the U.S. Equestrian Federation Dressage Festival of Champions in June of 2012.
In Brian, I have found the perfect trainer for my young horse who is currently receiving some "re-training" because some of the basics were never correctly established by a previous trainer (the "unfinished business" Volker refers to in the video narrative). I am thrilled at how relaxed and happy this horse works under Brian's direction.
Brian trains for the highest quality movement he can get from the horse in a quiet, non-confrontational manner. He doesn't over-face a young horse beyond its current strength/development level. And the thing I like best about his patient training approach is that Brian knows how to "wait" to ask for a movement - to properly set the horse up in its transitions for success. This is a rare quality in a young trainer. More often than not, I see horses tensely rushed from movement to movement in the dressage ring with little or no preparation on the rider's part (especially in the eventing dressage ring).
Here is a video link showing Brian's quiet and tactful approach. The lesson concentrates on strengthening this young horse's hind leg use for future higher level movements in the years to come. Brian trains for 100% lightness and self carriage on the front end - something he is still working on with this young horse. My horse is moving forward again in his training and I am anticipating a very good 2013 competitive year.