May 27, 2018
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A new generation of trainers

By: Irene Hilsendager
May 4, 2018

Annabelle Bumerts, born and raised in Santa Rosa, California, places her emphasis on endurance training, trail riding safety and working with riders and horses that have fear issues. She employs basic dressage, which, she explains, is a good tool for general riding skills. 

“Horse owners are savvy these days, and caring,” she says. “They know that horses are individuals and have different abilities, likes, dislikes and emotional make-ups. My riders require that same sensitivity from me as a trainer and expect training methods that reflect the philosophy and respect the horse.”  

In the past horses were used for work and viewed as livestock. “Now they’re more like family members,” she adds. “Horses are also great therapists. They reflect a rider’s every mood and attitude.”

“I like developing a horse and rider together and find schooling shows, not hard core competitions best for that.” 

Annabelle, who began riding at age four, has ridden many breeds and shown in multiple disciplines and show levels. 

“I train my clients to focus on their personal best. It makes the riding experience a win/win situation,” she says.

Bumerts offers clinics and summer session riding camps. Ages four to 104 are welcome. Contact her at www.sunridgetraining.com or 707-326-0755. 

Tamar Raff, granddaughter of Montana cattle ranchers, was “born on a horse,” and grew-up riding and ranching in Kenwood and Bennett Valley in Sonoma County. She’s ridden all disciplines from Western to English and Three-Day-Eventing. 

“I do have a soft spot in my heart for pleasure bred horses,” she says. 

Raff, a veteran of horse shows all across the United States, admits training horses is a passion for her. 

“It’s my love!  I don’t believe in ‘cowboying’ horses, the old 72-hour program where a horse is forced into submission and its spirit broken,” Raff said. “I prefer lots of ground training for horse and rider. Creating a working partnership creates an understanding between horse and rider that relies on their diverse and compatible strengths. It’s a more educated, compassionate approach than was used in the past.”  

Raff starts riders at age three and up, and instructs adult riders beginners through experienced and offers summer camps at the ranch. Contact Tamar Ruff at: www.morninglighttraining.com 

David Lawson raised riding in the Midwest, spent his early years “pining for a horse, shadowing trainers and riders, and earning the $350 needed to purchase my first,” he says, recounting paper routes and stall cleaning jobs. He climbed into a saddle at age 11 and has been in one ever since. 

Lawson’s qualifications include training as a teacher, extensive Western, English riding, trail riding and other disciplines; judging, showing and winning AQHA World intercollegiate team events; and two years in Texas riding with the famed Martha Josey.  His current love is Barrel Racing. 

“My goal is making all around horses and riders,” says Lawson. “I train my riders to be solid in horsemanship and I train my horses to be responsive, but relaxed and rideable, so they do well in other disciplines too. My riders are taught to know and trust their horses.” 

Lawson’s teaching background gives him an added skill. 

“I recognize that not everyone learns in the same way, and I’m able to break things down and draw parallels pertinent to each rider’s individual experience. I’ve developed my own methods based on firmness and fairness,” he says. “I never ask a horse or rider to do something they can’t do. My riders and horses always benefit, because I set my riders up for success.” 

“Training for the various disciplines overlaps much more than it used to,” he explains. “I attend lots of clinics to keep up on new thinking. His students remark on how much they enjoy their lessons and how devoted their horses are to David. Contact David Lawson at: 707-664-1455 or cell: 319-371-6663.

Valerie Bertoli hails from France where she trained with Three-Day-Event Olympic rider Jack Dulcy. Bertoli went on to compete internationally in Italy, Holland and Germany; and become part of the French Olympic Equestrian team. Formally certified as a trainer in France, she came to the United States at age 24, and has successfully trained both horses and riders in the art of Stadium Jumping, Dressage and Cross Country. She instructs beginners through top-level riders and accepts three-years-olds through top-level horse riders. 

Bertoli has qualified several horses and riders to international competition levels in the United States. “I work to the horse’s needs, and those of the rider. I figure out their plusses and minuses and make everything better,” she says. “It’s all about patience, gymnastics and repetition,” says Bertoli. “I don’t believe in roughness.” The horse needs to become a partner. He needs to learn to read the rider and himself. For more info email valvalerie@gmail.com.