Presidents Blog

1 Apr 2019 12:43 PM | Anonymous

April 2019

The most asked question in the American Saddlebred industry throughout the country must be “how do we get new people involved with the breed?”  

I (as surely other professionals do) often fall asleep at night dreaming of ways to share our horses with the public and create new Saddlebred enthusiasts, owners, etc. There are many ways to market the breed, however the conversation with myself and others, always seems to come back to the importance of riding lesson programs. Offering lessons is a simple way to allow the Saddlebred to market itself. If we can just get the people in the door, so to speak, our breed will do the rest! BUT WE HAVE TO OPEN THE DOOR by being willing share our knowledge and provide positive experiences with our horses.
This blog isn’t about me, but I will let you in on my motivation for this post. Let me start by saying, I used to run a large public lesson program. Several years ago, I stopped taking outside lessons out of necessity as we train about 50 horses, run a substantial breeding program, start young horses, spend summers competing on the Kentucky circuit, my husband and I own and operate a horse hauling business, I judge horse shows all over the world and I am on the board or committees of several local and national equestrian organizations. With all of this in mind, it may seem obvious I needed to stop trying to be a “jack of all trades” and start focusing on only a few projects. So, I let the lesson program fade away and concentrated on other facets of my business. I do not regret this decision, however over the years it has weighed on my conscience that by not teaching lessons, I am not doing my part to share the Saddlebred with the world. 
A couple of weeks ago, I apparently made a somewhat unintentional decision to start teaching outside students again. A woman called asking for lessons. She explained that she was a beginner rider who had recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and her doctor had suggested she try riding to ease her symptoms. Without even thinking, I said, “Sure! When can you start?” And just like that, I was back in the lesson business.  I have said yes to every person that has contacted me since. In hindsight, my subconscious mind had my and the NWSA’s back! While given my schedule, I realize that I am not in a position to teach full time, but I know that even my small contribution of introducing a few new horse lovers to the breed can potentially get more people involved in the NWSA.  
The good news is, there are a number of highly qualified and professional instructors in the Northwest with active and successful lesson programs. If you are looking for a place to take lessons or have a friend who wants to start riding, I encourage you to contact one of these top-notch barns. Even if you are a trainer who does not have a lesson program, please consider referring potential new Saddlebred lovers to one of these instructors. The most important thing to remember is that it is not about who rides with who, it is about promoting our breed and doing whatever it takes to encourage others to get involved. I truly believe that by helping each other we will ultimately help the entire industry! 
For the Instructors or new riders/parents reading this post:
The ASHA Youth Planning Committee has put together a highly informative and useful packet for instructors to pass out to new riders and new parents as a tool for those that are getting ready to show in tournaments/academy, etc. (or even to participate in the Cyberspace Classic). Click HERE to download the packet and start distributing it to your clients!
Below is a list of Northwest Stables who teach riding lessons along with those who have offered one FREE INTRODUCTORY LESSON to anyone who contacts them from this blog post. Make sure to mention the NWSA President’s Blog when making your appointment!
Blackburn Training
Oregon City, OR
(541) 232-0636
Blue Haven Stable 
Deer Park, WA
Contact: Shelah Wetter 
(509) 475-0442 
Corbett Stables
Redmond, WA
(425) 327-8970
Deardorff Stable LLC
Molalla, OR
(503) 829-6149
Erickson Stables
Snohomish, WA
(425) 239-1484
Far Niente 
Pleasant Hill, OR
Contact: Grace Perkins 
 (541) 954-3254
Gibson Stables LLC
Banks, OR
Hallcrest Farm
Sultan, WA
Joe Marcinek: (425) 530-9729, Erika Crohnholm: (425) 330-9729
Kardia Equestrian Academy
Pleasant Hill, OR
(541) 529-9334
Lueck Stables
Contact Mel Lueck or Spencer McDonald
Forest Grove, OR
(503) 830-5046
Morris Stables
Deer Park, WA
(509) 951-3413
Spring High Stable 
Salem, OR
Contact: Lisa Lesch
(503) 910-7874
Valley View Farms
Duncan, B.C., Canada
(250) 710-1517




Dana Johnson

15125 227th Ave NE 

Woodinville, WA 98077

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