2015 CHA International Conference Speakers

Kim Brown


Kim has more than 35 years of experience equine industry publishing and marketing. Currently she is the Associate Publisher/Editor of two brands for Active Interest Media (AIM) that are focused on business. EquiManagement is for equine veterinarians and Stable Management is for farm/stable owners and riding instructors. Kim’s background includes nearly 30 years at Blood-Horse Publications, the first 15 with The Blood-Horse magazine, ending up as a Contributing Editor, and the second 15 developing The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care as the Publisher/Editor. Kim retired from publishing to become Global Marketing Manager at Kentucky Equine Research, and while there lead the team that created award-winning newsletters and videos, launched a new content-driven educational website, and developed an e-commerce site. Kim then ran her own marketing/content development company for a short time before accepting a full-time position with AIM’s Equine Network. Kim and her musician husband, Ben, moved from Kentucky to Wyoming and are enjoying the outdoor life riding horses, camping, cycling, hiking, fishing, canoeing, and Kim’s favorite—rockhounding. Kim can be reached at KBrown@THINInc.com.

Luck is Where Preparation Meets Opportunity Keynote – Thursday – 3 p.m. 


Fred Bruce


Fred won the CHA Distinguished Service Award in 2009.  He is a Standard, Combined, Seasonal, Trail, Driving and Equine Facility Managers Clinic Instructor for CHA. He has been a part of CHA since 1981 and has been instrumental in starting and improving many CHA certification programs. Fred has been a contributing author for many of the CHA manuals and has served on the CHA Board of Directors.  Fred currently lives in Holbrook, Arizona.

Knot Tying 101 – Trail Encampment – Friday 10:30 a.m.

This session will prepare you to try out your hand at the Markel Trail Challenge and also to get your own knots around horses and packing better. Come for a hands-on and fun experience with ropes!

Packing – Trail Encampment – Friday at 3 p.m.

This session will involve learning how to pack a horse to go into the back country. Keeping your loads safe and balanced and what types of hitches to use. 

Tara Gamble


Tara has been the Past President of the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) and of the Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF), as well as the opportunity to represent Canada as Runner-Up Miss Rodeo Canada 1998.  She has served on the Equine Canada Board of Directors as a representative to recreation, and on the Strathcona County Economic Development and Advisory Committee as the agricultural representative.  It has been an honor for Tara to receive both the CHA Clinic Instructor of the year (2006), and Volunteer of the year (2013) awards. 

She is a CHA Clinic Instructor, and a designated Professional Horseman with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and was appointed to the AQHA Youth Activities Committee in 2012, where she is able to contribute to her vision of helping the industry to work collaboratively to strengthen it.  Her education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture from the University of Alberta.

With over twenty three years of industry teaching experience and a background in both western and english, Tara offers weekly riding lessons at her facility east of Ardrossan, Alberta.  In addition, she judges various horsemanship competitions, presents seminars and instructs clinics.  She has been fortunate to work with many equine professionals on the provincial, national and international levels which has greatly enriched her experiences.  

Transitions to Improve Lightness – Indoor Arena – Friday at 10:30 a.m. 

This session will focus on how the use of transitions can assist in creating a more responsive and lighter horse. Through a series of exercises you will see a progression of how both the rider and horse improve their responsiveness to the aids, and discuss the benefits of this.  The ultimate goal is to achieve a true partnership; working in harmony to develop feel as a rider and in turn a more attentive, supple and lighter horse.  


Julie Goodnight

Julie-Goodnight.jpgJulie is the popular RFD-TV host of Horse Master airing Monday and Saturday nights. Julie travels the USA sharing her no-nonsense horsemanship training with riders of all disciplines. Whether you ride English, Western, dressage or trail ride, Julie’s “Classic Skills for a Natural Ride” teaching helps you feel more confident in the saddle and helps you understand the “whys” of horsemanship. She loves continually learning and sharing horse behavior insights and she relates that knowledge to how you should interact with your horses. She’s experienced in dressage and jumping, racing, reining, cow horse, colt-starting, and wilderness riding. You’ve probably seen her articles in Horse & Rider, The Trail Rider and many other horse publications. Julie is honored to be the International Spokesperson for the Certified Horsemanship Association and was named Equine Affaire’s Exceptional Equestrian Educator. Julie grew up on the hunter-jumper circuits in Florida, but is now at home in the west. She and her husband Rich Moorhead live in the mountains. Both love versatility ranch horse competitions and riding cow-horses. 

Working with Advanced Riders – Indoor Arena – Friday at 9 a.m. 
The Science of Cueing – Indoor Arena – Saturday at 9 a.m.
Schooling the School Horse – East Pen – Saturday at 1:30 p.m.


Van Hargis


Van Hargis is known as one of today’s most versatile horsemen/clinicians. More than just a clinician who talks about horsemanship, Van is a true horseman whose clinic and seminar presentations are born out of real-world experience working with and learning from horses. Van started riding horses when he was only four years old and launched his career as a trainer at twelve when the wife of world-renowned saddle maker Billy Cook hired him to train her horse. He spent much of his youth in the saddle, working cattle at ranches around his Texas home. At the same time Van was honing his skills as a trainer and competitor, taking both his own and his clients’ horses into the show ring and the rodeo arena. Van and the horses he’s trained have excelled in show and rodeo events like ranch horse versatility (his specialty), western pleasure, trail classes, calf roping, team roping, and steer wrestling. Van’s practical experiences on the ranch and in competition, coupled with a dynamic speaking ability, have made him one of the most requested clinicians at equestrian facilities and events across the country. He moves easily across the “great divide” between the western and English riding worlds, and has worked successfully with horses from many disciplines, including both working ranch horses and show horses in western pleasure, hunter-jumper, and dressage. In horsemanship and in life, Van firmly believes there’s “nothing but the basics,” and that those basics are the same no matter what equestrian discipline appeals to you. Van uses each presentation he gives as an opportunity to share how the horse has helped him realize the important lessons in his life. He utilizes the arena and the horse to emphasize the most fundamental lesson: the need for a solid foundation, in horse training as well as everyday life. Van’s ability to use the horse to educate, motivate, inspire, and entertain will encourage you to take a long look at your life, your relationships, and your horsemanship.

Reduce Your Problems to the Ridiculous – Indoor Arena – Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Are You Focused on Success?  – Keynote – Saturday at 7 p.m. 


Craig Huffhines 


Craig’s enthusiasm is contagious and his knowledge and passion for the agriculture and livestock industries is quickly recognizable. He graduated with a bachelor of science from Texas A&M University and received a master of science from Colorado State University. After college, he began working at the American Hereford Association where he was the director of feedlot and carcass programs and director of Certified Hereford Beef before he was elevated to executive vice president in 1997. 

On April 1, Craig accepted the executive vice president’s position at the world’s largest equine breed organization – the American Quarter Horse Association. Craig brings 17 years of experience with him to the Association. He has recorded success in turning around a 30-year decline in registrations and beef breed popularity, balancing budgets during lean years, developing a new branded-beef enterprise, executing and revising governance structure to meet the demands of the 21st century and reinvigorating the interest among youth, while growing the Hereford Research and Youth foundations and managing the American Hereford Association staff. 

Craig and his wife, Mary Jon, have recently relocated with their sons, Seth, Cole and Miles, to Amarillo, the home of AQHA’s international headquarters. 

Welcome to Amarillo and AQHA – Thursday Reception – AQHA Hall of Famepen


Jim Jennings

jim_jennings.jpgJim is the retired Executive Director of Publications for the American Quarter Horse Association. He worked full time for AQHA for 37 years prior to his retirement in 2008, following which he then served the Association as a consultant for another six years. He is the author of the award-winning book “Best Remudas” and of the book “They Still Ride Good Horses,” which was published this year in conjunction with AQHA’s 75th anniversary. He is a past president of American Horse Publications and of the Livestock Publications Council, has been inducted into the LPC Hall of Fame and was named an American Horse Publications Champion. Jim currently serves on the board of trustees for the Texas 4-H Development Foundation. 

Jim and his wife, Mavis, live in Amarillo, and although retired, Jim continues to write for different publications. Currently he writes the scripts for the weekly television show “Somewhere West of Wall Street.”

History of Amarillo – AQHA Hall of Fame – Thursday Reception


Teresa Kackert


Teresa has been CHA Clinic Instructor since 2003. She is an AQHA Professional Horseman and member of the Wrangler Extreme Team She is also Chris Irwin Natural Horsemanship ‘Double-Gold’ Certified and a Richard Shrake Resistance Free Riding Master Level Trainer/Instructor. Teresa is the creator of the ‘Soft Touch’ Training Program – Classical Equitation & Natural Horsemanship and has over 20 years professional experience as a rider, competitor, trainer, instructor, clinician and personal coach. She is founder of Great Horses of America, Consignment Horse Sales Company and Co-Founder of Pink Heart Pony Kids, Inc. Teresa specializes in: confidence building in both horse and rider, horse behavior modification, motivational personal coaching and skill enhancement for riders & horses of all levels and disciplines. www.GreatHorses.org.

Jumping Exercises – Indoor Arena – Friday at 1:30 p.m.

This session will be great for those just starting to teach jumping as well as those that have been coaching this discipline for a while. Come and join us to see different flatwork exercises, ground pole drills and jumping gymnastics and courses to help your riders succeed. 

How to Develop Feel in Riders – East Pen – Saturday at 9 a.m. 

We all strive to achieve true feel when we ride!  Now learn how to teach feel as well. Exercises will be presented at all three gaits for a variety of levels of riders in this session.


Stan Loewen


Stan won the CHA Clinic Staff of the Year Award in 2009. He is a lifetime member of CHA and has been involved since the 1970s. Stan has conducted Standard, Combined, Seasonal and Trail Clinics for CHA. He has put his heart and soul into CHA and has done over 70 clinics, so has certified at the very least over 500 riding instructors and trail guides. Stan has been on the CHA Board of Directors and very helpful in the creation of the Trail Program and the CHA Trail Guide Manual of which he is on the cover packing into the Bob Marshall wilderness.

Packing – Trail Encampment – Friday at 3 p.m.

This session will involve learning how to pack a horse to go into the back country. Keeping your loads safe and balanced and what types of hitches to use. 

Dutch Oven Cooking – Trail Encampment – Saturday at 9 a.m.

Come and eat some pastry for breakfast!  Learn how to use a Dutch oven and what you can cook in it while packing out with your horses or in your own backyard!

Amanda Love


Amanda is the Horsemanship Director at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas. She is the coach of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Team there and also teaches numerous classes. Amanda is currently on the CHA Board of Directors and is an active rider and does cross fit.

Jumping Exercises – Indoor Arena – Friday at 1:30 p.m.

This session will be great for those just starting to teach jumping as well as those that have been coaching this discipline for a while. Come and join us to see different flatwork exercises, ground pole drills and jumping gymnastics and courses to help your riders succeed.


Jordan Manfredi


Jordan Manfredi, MBA joins us from Purdue University Calumet, where she spent two years as a continuing lecturer in equine business management, marketing, promotion and sales within their School of Business. Currently, Jordan is the president of Big Red Advisory Group, an equine consulting group whose clients include Intrepid International, a global equine product distributor and Horse Tack Co., a leading e-commerce retailer. Furthermore, Jordan teaches equine business management at LIU-Post in Long Island, New York. Jordan, an avid hunter/jumper rider of 26 years has consulted for various national and international equine companies and has presented at several trade shows and conferences, including the United States Pony Club National Meeting and Hoosier Horse Expo.

Marketing that Works! – Classroom – Saturday 1:30 p.m. 

Tired of marketing tactics that don’t produce ROI? Are you throwing away valuable marketing dollars? Are you looking to grow your business but not sure how? Well then, let’s go back to the basics to create a plan that works. This seminar will teach you how to: Outline and intimately understand your target market; develop a SWOT analysis that highlights your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats; create SMARTS goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely and Sustainable; measure success and ROI; and implement tried and true marketing tactics that won’t break the bank. We will also brainstorm marketing ideas and share success stories. Furthermore, you will be given the opportunity to start a marketing plan and to discuss one on one any marketing questions you may have.


Jim McDonald


Jim is a lifelong horseman and a lifelong learner.  In the year 2000, he started a non-profit organization dedicated to horsemanship education.  Part of its mission is to make the joy of a relationship with a horse available to people who would not ordinarily have that opportunity and that was the original motivation for founding the Graham Equestrian center (www.Grahameq.org).  They work closely with anyone who wants to advance their horsemanship skills and knowledge.  Jim is currently the CHA Board Treasurer and an AQHA Professional Horseman.

Horsemanship Through Principles of Behavioral Science and Learning Theory – Classroom – Friday at 1:30 p.m. 


Ed Montana


From the polka dance halls of the Midwest with his father’s band at age 10, to the Alps of Europe singing songs about Texas and dang near every PRCA Rodeo in between, Ed is a busy man. Traveling with the original Coors Cowboy Band, Ed has been very lucky to have traveled all over the beautiful USA doing what he loves most… playing music.

Cowboy Welcome to Texas – Coors Cowboy Club – Thursday at 2 p.m.


Terry Myers


Terry is a leading trainer, teacher and national clinician, but above all he is a true horseman. Myers has trained stock and hunter horses for state, national and world competition. But he doesn’t just train the show horse. His training is for all horses regardless of the discipline. He incorporates work with both horse and rider to achieve balanced movements. His Ride-in-Sync® philosophy helps riders understand how body position affects horse performance. Through Myers’ 45 years of experience and work with thousands of horses and riders, he has developed coaching and demonstration methods which provides logical information that is easily understood and put to use. Consistent feedback from clinic attendees is confirmation that Terry’s training ideology and teaching style produces results.

How Shoulder Control Affects Performance – Indoor Arena – Friday at 3 p.m.

More than anything else, having your horse soft and square in their shoulders improves performance. A horse must be square in their shoulders in order to be able lift their back and drive with their hind end. If they are not square in their shoulders, the hind end has no place to go and they end up with their hocks out in their tail. Terry will show how the rider can lift and square the horse’s shoulders as part of softness and collection. With his instruction, this will be accomplished through rider body position and putting the horse into a correct frame. No matter what the discipline, shoulder control impacts performance. 


National Cutting Horse Association


Come and ride a trained cutting horse on a flag with local professional trainers during this session. On May 1, 1946, the National Cutting Horse Association was formed by a group of cowboys and ranchers with the main goals of promoting cutting competition, standardizing contest rules, and preserving the cutting horse’s western heritage. NCHA held its first cutting in Dublin, Texas, in September 1946. The ensuing decades have afforded tremendous growth for the NCHA, and today, more than 2,200 shows are held annually with total prize money exceeding $36 million.


Ride a Cutter – Indoor Arena – Friday at Noon


National Reining Horse Association


First offered in 2010 at the Alltech© FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Ky., “NRHA Ride a Reiner” has taken the country by storm by giving novice and experienced riders the opportunity to ride a reining horse. Nowhere else in the world can spectators find an option like this: the chance to receive a hands-on lesson from an NRHA Professional, to enjoy a dizzying spin and to feel the power of sliding stops on a well-trained reining horse!


Ride a Reiner – Indoor Arena – Saturday at Noon 


Valerie Ormond


Following a 25-year career leading as a naval officer, Valerie dedicated her time to promoting the horse industry and sharing lessons learned. Her two award-winning novels, “Believing In Horses” and “Believing In Horses, Too,” highlight rescues, competition, equine-assisted therapies, military families, and the healing power of horses. Valerie blended education, advocacy, and inspiration into stories that also introduce readers to real-life organizations which have since gained recognition in the form of grants, fundraisers, publicity, new volunteers, and political acknowledgement. Valerie founded Veteran Writing Services, LLC, and is a charter member of the first National Women Veterans Speakers Bureau, being named one of the Top 101 Leadership Speakers in 2015. A Certified Horsemanship Association instructor in both English and Western, she rides and competes in the National Capital Adult Equestrian League, and serves as Secretary of the Maryland Horse Council.  You can reach Valerie at http://BelievingInHorses.com/

Leading Beyond the Saddle – Classroom – Friday at 10:30 a.m.

You may be the most influential leader in your students’ lives. What lessons do you want to impart in the time you are with them? And how? You have a larger impact than you realize in the horse industry beyond your individual role at a barn, within a discipline, or in a lesson program — and communication is key. Come to this interactive session to discover ways to mentor, motivate, and lead our next generation of horse enthusiasts to help them achieve their goals.


John Pipkin


John is currently the Director of the Equine Industry Program and a Regents Professor of Animal Science at West Texas A&M University where his duties include coaching the Horse Judging Team, and overseeing the Equestrian and Stock Horse Teams, in addition to teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities. He has been an approved judge for over 20 years, and currently has judge’s cards with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), American Paint Horse Association (APHA), National Reining Horse Association (NRHA), National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA), National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA), and World Conformation Horse Association (WCHA).  He has judged over 400 total shows in 10 different countries and 33 states including 7 AQHA World, 4 APHA World, 3 International Championships, and other major AQHA, APHA, NRHA and NSBA shows.  Pipkin’s judging teams have won 120 (99 at WTAMU) National or World Champion or Reserve Champion titles including the 2013 and 2014 AQHA Collegiate World and NRHA Championships; and Equestrian Teams under his program direction have won 41 National Champion or Reserve Champion titles, including the 2013 IHSA Western National Champion team.  He has trained and shown professionally in Halter, Reining, Working Cow Horse, Western Pleasure, Western Riding, and Trail, as well as these and other classes as a youth exhibitor.  He is a National Director for AQHA, currently serves on the AQHA and WCHA Judges Committees, and has served as Chair of the AQHA Show and Professional Horsemen Committee, and the AQHA Show Council. Dr. Pipkin has been awarded the Outstanding Young Professional Award by the Equine Science Society and the Texas 4-H Alumni Award.  At WT, he has received the Magister Optimus award, the university’s highest faculty recognition.  The Texas A&M University System awarded him the Teaching Excellence Award, and named him a Regents Professor.   

West Texas A&M University Welcome – CHA Annual Meeting – Thursday 


Sanna Roling


Sanna is a life member of CHA devoting her talents as a Level 3 English and Level 2 Western Instructor to horsemanship for people with disabilities and youth-at-risk.  A past or present member of several committees including the Instructor Manual, Standards, and IRD, Sanna has devoted much of her CHA life to IRD and today runs Dream Catcher Stables, Inc in Houston, TX.  A Special Olympics Equestrian Coach (1995 World Games Coach from Texas), Path Int’l Registered Instructor, Certified Texas Special Education and Math Teacher, Sanna also played an instrumental part in creating the Top Hands Horse Show (Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo) which was duplicated by Ft. Worth, TX (Chisolm Challenge) and Austin, TX (Golden Stirrup).  In 26 years her athletes (298) have brought home 264 firsts, 282 seconds, 224 thirds, 188 fourths, 148 fifths 99 sixths, 151 honorable mentions.  

Teaching Riders with Disabilities in a Recreational Riding Program – Classroom – Friday at 3 p.m. 

Share in the abilities of people with autism, traumatic brain injury, Down Syndrome, complex traumatic stress disorder, Cerebral Palsy, paraplegia, amputation and hip replacement, visual impairment, hearing impairment, mental retardation, and anxiety disorder.  Be part of a discussion including teaching strategies and challenges, reasons why these athletes chose the equestrian sport, and advantages gained.


Darla Ryder 


Darla started at the age of eight with bareback and western riding and in her early twenties spent time overseas under the tillage of an instructor with the BHS (British Horse Society). Her career with horses has been varied in both breeds and disciplines. She has raised and shown Quarter, Arabian, Appaloosa, Miniatures and Gypsy Horses. Darla has successfully served as a trainer, facility/equine manager for a hunter/jumper barn, a cutting horse facility and as the Executive Director for a Therapeutic Riding Center. She currently schools horses for clients, teaches able bodied riders as well as riders with special needs and travels as a mentors for various equine programs. She has been with CHA since 1995 and is certified at the Master and Clinician level in Standard Certification, Instructors of Riders with Disabilities, Facilities Management and Vaulting Coach Certification. She is also a certified instructor with PATH. Darla has presented mounted and classroom presentation, clinics and workshops nationwide and was the first recipient in 2003 of the coveted  “CHA Clinic Instructor of the Year.” 

ABC’s of the Human/Horse Relationship – East Pen – Friday at 3 p.m. 

This workshop is a must for anyone who owns or works with horses. With over fifty years of equine experience and the mentorship as a girl of a retired cavalryman, these techniques Darla shares, work! Using the knowledge of how horses communicate with each other it will teach you, how to communicate with a horse in his own language. Gaining this knowledge and adapting it in your ground handling techniques bring about a true partnership between human and horse. Confidence and trust on both sides! This method of handling and training makes for the perfect personal or school horse.  A horse that willingly follows with the leader between the nose and shoulder on a loose lead, a horse that is quiet and willing, No special equipment is needed or used. 


Jochen Schleese


Jochen documented over 34 years of his experience as German Certified Master Saddler and Saddle Ergonomist in his books ‘Suffering in Silence – The Saddle Fit Link to Physical and Psychological trauma in Horses’ (2013), ‘The Silent Killer’ (2012) and DVD ’Beyond the 9 Points of Saddle Fit’.

Saddle Fit Issue that Affect Comfort, Performance and Even Soundness – Classroom – Friday at 9 a.m.
Identifying and Correcting Saddle Fit Issues to Horse and to Rider – East Pen – Friday at 1:30 p.m. 


Tom Scrima 


Tom serves as a board member of the American Competitive Trail Horse Association, a 501 c3 nonprofit. During his high school and college years Tom earned his tuition and spending money training horses and giving riding lessons. It wasn’t until meeting his future bride, while both were instructing at a summer camp, that he realized he really didn’t know much about riding so he took a back seat to her Intercollegiate Collegiate All American status and focused in on business during his later years at the University of Notre Dame. He then went on to obtain an Advanced Degree from DMAA in Direct Marketing.

How to Take Your Horse Business to the Next Level with Little to No Dollar Outlay- The Economics of Economical Marketing – Classroom – Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

We have all heard that you have about 2 seconds to capture the reader or you are out of there! In the horse industry we are all so busy with our passion and jobs that that’s probably a generous estimate! In this session find out the true cost of “free” emailing, true cost of snail mail, if digital and hard print pay off, how do you survive with a virtually zero marketing budget, and find out how to sell the sizzle. We will also discuss stories of Ed Maher…the greatest marketing genius ever and founder of the DMAA…a man who tuned pennies to hundred dollar bills…from a wheel chair and will provide you with a summary of cost free approaches to let new customers know you are ready for them.


Dennis Sigler 


Dennis is a Professor and Extension Horse Specialist in the Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University.  Dr. Sigler received a B.S. degree from Abilene Christian University, a M.S. degree from Texas Tech and his Ph.D. degree from Texas A&M.  From 1980 to 1989 he was the leader of the equine teaching and research program at Kansas State University.  For the 15 years prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M in 2006, Dr. Sigler was employed in the livestock feed industry as a nutritionist and sales director.  He has done nutrition, formulation, sales and marketing work for a total of 6 different feed companies.    In addition to extension education activities, Dr. Sigler conducts research and trains graduate students in the area of exercise science and nutrition.  Specifically, he is interested in conditioning and management of the juvenile and mature athletic horse to maximize performance and enhance structural integrity.  Other areas of interest include nutritional strategies to enhance performance and reduce musculo-skeletal injuries.  Dr. Sigler has served as President of the Equine Science Society, has published numerous scientific and popular press articles and has served as an invited speaker at many national and state-wide meetings.  He is a member of the American Society of Animal Science and the Equine Science Society. Dr. Sigler has a lifetime of practical horse experience.  He has been an AQHA-approved judge for 33 years and has judged horse shows in nearly every state and in 5 foreign countries.  He is also an accomplished horseman, having shown and trained horses for a variety of performance events, including cutting, reining and cow horse.  He was a founding member and Past-President of the Stock Horse of Texas Association and the American Stock Horse Association.  He currently serves on the Executive Board and is Immediate Past-President of the Texas Quarter Horse Association. 

Energetics for the Performance Horse – Classroom – Saturday at 10:30 a.m. 


Cheryl West


Cheryl is a Master CHA Instructor for English, Western, Therapeutic and Jumping, and a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship certified instructor and mentor.  She specializes in infusing dressage and biomechanics into all riding disciplines and developing instructors. Owns and operates West Equestrian Ranch in Sand Springs Oklahoma, teaching lessons to over 60+ riders a week at her ranch as well as Stillwater, Broken Arrow, Edmond, Stigler and more. She often travels certifying instructors, mentoring and teaching clinics. Serves on the board for Great Plains Dressage Chapter, Oklahoma Dressage Chapter board, the CHA development for Instructors for Riders with Disabilities committee, and in process of helping other groups start up.  She was the program manager for American Therapeutic Center, with 70+ riders, for 5 years. She strives to use to encourage riders and people from all walks of life that upper level equitation can be achieved no matter what discipline, horse or income. 

Connected Riding – East Pen – Friday at 10:30 a.m. 

Connected riding would focus on the rider and their ability to clearly communicate to the horse. Many times we spend a lot of energy trying to fix the horse, without realizing that what we do in the saddle, and how we ride affects much of their response. This includes fear and tension.  We use biomechanics and connection to help us be more aware of our bodies.


Melanie Wilhelm


Melanie Wilhelm of Wilhelm Performance Horses is located in Nazareth, Texas. A NRHA Professional, Melanie has a current NRHA Lifetime Earnings of more than $34,400. Her accomplishments include many great accolades including a 2011 Open Derby finalist, 2012 NRHA Professional Horse Woman of the Year, and multiple AQHA World Show qualifications. From the round pen to the show pen, Wilhelm Performance Horses specializes in producing reining horses of the highest caliber as well as developing youth and non pro riders.

Getting Your Students Involved with Reining – Indoor Arena – Saturday at 10:30 a.m. 

Melanie will teach you how to implement simple reining based exercises into your lesson program to keep your beginner students involved while giving them goals for success!


JoAnne Young 


JoAnne has been teaching riding and training horses for over 40 years, and is happy that she is still learning.  Every student and every horse bring fresh challenges that keep life interesting.  She has been privileged and blessed beyond her wildest dreams to study with such wonderful instructors as Walter Zettl (dressage coach to Canadian event team when they won bronze at Los Angeles Olympics), Bertin Potter in Germany,  Molly Sivewright (FEI judge and past chair of the Fellows of the British Horse Society), Carel Eijkenaar (FEI judge), Eddo Hoestra (F.E.I. Trainer) and Doris Halstead (Physical Therapist and author of “Releasing the Potential: Physical Therapy Modalities for Horse and Rider.”  Jo-Anne is the author of the M.A. thesis:  “Preparing students for riding instructor certification through college curricula.”

Lateral Work Defined – East Pen – Saturday at 10:30 a.m.