Phoenix Hug 338x450Champion of the Horse

I have been training horses and teaching riders professionally for 30 years now, and I’ve spent time in just about every aspect of the horse industry.  I’ve competed with horses at the national level in multiple disciplines, managed breeding programs, and run large training and lesson programs. I’ve specialized in psychology & behavior while developing young sport horses and rehabilitating problem horses.  And I’ve spent years studying bio-mechanics, body work, saddle fitting, and hoof care, so that I could do even more for the horses that I trained.

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 horse.

To me that means guarding the potential of every horse…

  • to trust a human completely, with no need to brace or defend.
  • to respond to mere thoughts or the lightest touch with clarity.
  • and to move with every ounce of the grace, power, and expression that they were gifted before being burdened by humans.   

In order to do that, I have to place a value on those pristine qualities that is higher than any ribbon in a competition or forced cooperation for a rider’s entertainment. I genuinely care about every rider and helping them to reach their goals, but I am also every horse’s advocate.  I believe that classical horsemanship serves them both.

I get no medals or rankings for that job, but it’s the one that I feel is worthy of being called my life’s work.  

Maria's Training Philosophy

The Training Philosophy of Classical Naturally

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

mark n jack sunset

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
  • Dressage: The Art of Classical Riding   by Sylvia Loch
  • 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 (



About Classical Naturally


T. Recer
We had a great day of training with Maria. I'm so glad that I can have my son learn a safe and peaceful method of horsemanship and not the wack'em, … read more