Beginners and New Horse Owners

Read the following stories from Sandi’s beginner students and first time horse owners. (Then read more stories from intermediate and advanced riders or riders with young or green horses.)

Summer and Dawn Sauls & Stormy, McDonough, GA

Summer and StormyMy daughter, Summer, and I were new to the horse world. Not knowing enough, we were convinced by a friend that a two year old horse would be a good fit for my nine year old daughter. They said, “It’ll be a great fit, they will grow together.” Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. Concerned about safety, I came across Sandi’s website and made an appointment. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had put my daughter in danger. Sandi quickly made me realize that I had made a smart decision to seek help, which put us on the right track. Sandi brought us and our horse out of the danger.

We quickly converted to Sandi’s natural horsemanship way of training. It is gentle, calm, compassionate, and loving, as is she. We have been with Sandi for about five months now, and she has saved us. I’m afraid to think what could have happened if we didn’t find her. I call her the “know it all” because she does “know it all.” I learned more from Sandi in the first three weeks than I had learned from my “friends” in nine months. She will guide and teach you in a kind, fun, honest, professional way, proceeding at the level you and your horse are ready for. It’s been a year since we bought Stormy and, because of Sandi, we are not just riding her, we are understanding her thoughts, needs and wishes. Thank you so much, Sandi.

Dale Anderson & Calle, Conyers, GA

Dale and CalleIt was love at first sight! The first time I saw that beautiful chestnut Arabian mare with the flaxen mane a mile long, I was hooked. I wasn’t even thinking of buying a horse, but I couldn’t get her off my mind. A year later, unbelievably, she was mine. I thought everything was going to be wonderful because I had the most beautiful horse in the world and I loved her. Nothing prepared me for what followed. My beloved horse seemed to hate me! I had difficulties trying to catch her, groom her, tack her, lead her, mount her, lunge her, and of course ride her. Sandi patiently, yet persistently taught me about horse psychology. She explained that I needed to be her leader, as Calle was a rather dominate mare. Being firm, consistent and proactive became the rules of the day.

Slowly and painstakingly, I improved in my leadership role. Calle also improved as many of her behavioral issues disappeared. Not surprisingly, my horsemanship skills have also improved through Sandi’s instruction. Calle and I have become much more of a team than I would have ever thought possible because of Sandi’s knowledge, experience, and intuitiveness. Her patience is so important, but equally as important is her insistence on pushing you just to the edge of your comfort zone to achieve a higher level of skill than you thought possible. I am deeply indebted to Sandi for teaching me how to ride, but much more for teaching me how to have a positive and fulfilling relationship with one of God’s loveliest creations – the horse.

Kevin L. Ward & Magic, Atlanta, GA

Kevin and CiscoWhen I was dragged, kicking and screaming into the horse world by my wife, I was not what you would call an “ideal” student. Then, after a year of school horses and basic training at a good local barn, I began training on my own horses with Sandi Forester. Still reluctant, I recall one day getting off, handing the reigns to Sandi and basically saying “to hell with this.” It is a true testament to Sandi’s ability as a trainer of both horse and rider that I am now really enjoying riding and feel like I have developed the skill to overcome my horses’ stubbornness as well as my own.

Sandi’s intense, personal focus on my horse and me has helped me learn that horse and rider are one combined and collective spirit that function seamlessly. This is one of those classic unions that is greater than the sum of its parts. Sandi’s patience and guidance led me to the right horse at the right pace. Now I’ve learned to communicate with my horse through body language as subtle as breathing and as complex as a ballet. Sandi has taught me well enough that on a good day for me and my horse, I can look where I want us to go and we just go there. I even know why this happens and how to do it again. Sandi is one of those rare people in the equestrian world that loves horses and people, and has the patience to deal with both. If you get the opportunity to learn with Sandi, you will be learning in rarefied air with a mentor that is at the absolute pinnacle of her craft.

Sascha Ward & Cisco, Atlanta, GA

Sascha and RockyIt was just dumb luck that I had a chance to meet and watch Sandi teach a lesson one day last fall. I’d known of Sandi but had assumed she would be too hoity-toity and advanced for the likes of me. My goal was simply to learn to start, stop and steer my horse, Cisco, for what I’d hope would be a pleasant bit of trail riding for both of us. As I watched and listened to Sandi that day I was reminded once again why one should never judge a book by its cover! What I’ve learned about Sandi since that fortuitous meeting is that besides the charm, friendliness etc. she is an intelligent and talented teacher, patient beyond belief with both horse and rider, unflagging enthusiasm coupled with a sunny disposition and if that were not enough, it’s rolled all together with a thoroughly delightful sense of humor.

She is a true miracle worker, an Anne Sullivan to my Helen Keller. Taking me to places in my equestrian interests I had been deaf and blind to before. I had always believed that dressage was only for the very serious and competitive student. Sandi has opened my eyes to the importance of using the basics of dressage to enhance performance in both horse and rider no matter what the rider’s discipline of choice. Not to mention, it’s challenging AND fun (who knew?). If it were not for Sandi’s superb ability to patiently communicate and instruct, I believe I would have a very expensive and kooky (although much loved) lawn ornament on my hands and Cisco would be………living the Life of Riley!

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