At the risk of sounding over-zealous, I am coming to believe that meeting Sandi Forester was one of the transformational moments in my life. In looking for an instructor, my chief consideration was the well-being of my horses. I wanted someone who “got” how horses interact with one another, someone who could communicate with them in language they understood. And having bought my first horse 11 years ago at the age of 51, I also needed someone who appreciated the potential challenges of working with a mature woman who did not grow up in the saddle. In Sandi I found all this and more. She is a gifted professional, a truly skilled and highly intuitive horsewoman. Unlike many “experts” however, Sandi has a natural ability to break things down into “bite size pieces” when necessary, facilitating more effective learning and assimilation of skills for both me and my horses.
For the last year Sandi has been working to refine my riding skills using her extensive knowledge of the techniques of dressage, helping me deepen the partnership I have with Shadow, my beloved, elegant Thoroughbred gelding. More recently she has been teaching me to train one of my young mares, getting Jet familiar with voice and touch cues in preparation for carrying a rider. This process has been a revelation for me, as well as a very positive experience for this beautiful mare, who is making great progress. It is clear that for Sandi the horse comes first, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I had been riding horses competitively and for pleasure since childhood. An avid pony-clubber in my youth, followed by years as a successful rider with my University’s Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team, and then as an exercise rider for a large eventing barn, I considered myself knowledgeable and well-rounded as a rider. One bad fall and a serious injury involving my newly acquired and very green horse, managed to shatter my confidence and turn what used to be my passion into something I dreaded and was afraid to do. I was blessed, and my love for riding was salvaged, when I had the good fortune of meeting and beginning lessons with Sandi Forester. With an abundance of patience for both me and my young horse, she has not only brought me back to the level of confidence I had before my accident, she has given me a whole new education regarding equine emotions, physiology, way of going, and how to achieve everything I ever wanted with my equine partner. I am grateful to Sandi for playing a huge role in helping me find the joy and exhilaration in riding that I was so close to losing and for taking me to a much higher level of understanding and ability. Sandi is a truly professional horsewoman who is not in it for the glory of the show ring or the awe of the spectators. She is in it for the good of the horse and the pleasure to be gained by the rider when real harmony is achieved.
My beautiful mare, Lace, and I have been taking instructions from Sandi Forester for 18 months. Thanks to Sandi we are finally beginning to work as a team. Lace was a frightened, mishandled horse when I bought her, and very dangerous in that respect. Sandi has brought us together by teaching me how to teach Lace to trust. I’m not afraid of my horse anymore. We are riding intro level dressage, and were just in a horse show at the Horse Park – my first! We can even ride trails now. If I had not found Sandi when I did, I’m afraid I would have been just one more person to have given up on such a wonderful animal. Thank you so much, Sandi.