The Things That Really Matter

MeOnNateI have been training horses and teaching riders professionally for 30 years now, with time spent in just about every aspect of the horse industry.  I've competed with horses at the national level in multiple disciplines, managed breeding farms, and run large training and lesson programs. 

For a portion of my career psychology & behavior, starting young sport horses, and rehabilitating problem horses were my specialty.  In addition to whatever I'm working on day-to-day, I study bio-mechanics, body work, saddle fitting, and hoof care, so that I can do even more for the horses that I train. 

Through all of those years and experiences, I've arrived at the conclusion that there is no job more important than being a champion of the rider & horse partnership.  Neither of them would have a reason to be in the arena without the other, and they can do amazing things together when they're connected and focused.  I see my job as being a coach for the team, rather than an instructor teaching riders to force horses to perform.

Maria's Training Philosophy

The Training Philosophy of Classical Naturally

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The Dressage Training Stages of Classical Naturally

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Equestrian Arts Foundation

eaflogoI believe so strongly in the ability of good horsemanship to change people for the better, that I founded a non-profit in 2003 with the mission of ..."promoting a culture of connection, personal development, and wellness by bringing people and horses together for mutual benefit." 

If you'd like to know more about EAF, visit the website at

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Favorite Books & Videos

These are some of the books that I have enjoyed and recommend to others (in no particular order).  It gives a bit of insight into my "flavor" or dressage, as well.

There are too many to list, and I've learned from dozens more than would fit on this page. There are also many great books on my wish list that I haven't gotten to. I need more hours in the day!


  • Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage: A Search for a Classical Alternative  by Philippe Karl
  • 30 YEARS WITH MASTER NUNO OLIVEIRA: Correspondence, Photographs and Notes Chronicled  by Michel Henriquet
  • Classical Dressage with Anja Beran: Foundations for a Successful Horse and Rider Partnership  by Anja Beran
  • Dressage Principals Based on Biomechanics  by Dr. Thomas Ritter
  • Racinet Explains Baucher by Jean-Claude Racinet
  • The Art of Classical Horsemanship   by Egon von Neindorff
  • Dressage in Harmony: From Basic to Grand Prix  by Walter Zettl and Paul Schopf
  • The Complete Training of Horse and Rider in the Principles of Classical Horsemanship by Alois Podhajsky
  • Dressage Naturally... Results In Harmony  by Karen Rohlf
  • The Athletic Development of the Dressage Horse: Manege Patterns (Howell reference books)   by Charles De Kunffy
  • Gymnasium of the Horse  by Gustav Steinbrecht and Helen Gibble
  • DVDs, Video, & Articles by Manolo Mendez (


Next Event

Each workshop will focus on learning 2 New Pattern Exercises that will improve your horse’s relaxation, straightness, and impulsion. AND... everyone does a MUSICAL FREESTYLE with the patterns at the end!


* Movements that are put together into effective combinations

* Great for every skill level. The difficulty level can be easily adjusted for each horse and rider

* Creative and fun, but challenging enough to bring real training improvement

* Perfect for improving test elements without over-drilling the actual test


Only 6 Riders per Workshop
For a fun, supportive setting with individual attention.

3 Hours Long & Goes Fast!
A mix of discussion, individual riding, and controlled group riding, with musical freestyles at the end!

Printed Copies of the Exercises
Take home copies of the exercises, so you don’t forget. Start a notebook!

No Two are Alike!
Every workshop is different with new exercises and discussions.


Classical Naturally

is located at

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5544 Sportsman Club Rd NW, Johnstown, OH 43031

Contact Me