Jeanne Heavens Gate

Maria Elizabeth Smith has been my teacher for 20 years, when I first started with horses. She was already extremely experienced then. Her impact on my life, and the horses I love, has been beyond positive and profound.Chris McSherry

Fearful Rider?

Don't give up on your dream!

pegasusIf you are one of the many riders who would like to build their confidence, Maria can help you with that. She provides an emotionally and physically safe environment for riders and horses that is free from judgment.

Through carefully planned lessons, your anxiety will be replaced with smiles and new goals.  Pushing through your fear without a plan or respect for your emotions does not work on people or horses.  Maria can show you a better way.

Putting the Horse Before the Sport

Maria teaches riders to bring out the best in their horses by setting the horse up to feel relaxed, energized, and balanced in everything that they do.  When a rider has a relationship with their horse that's built on trust and subtle communication, common problems of resistance fade away.  And when a horse and rider are working together as a cohesive team, their movements become efficient, powerful, and fluid.  This type of movement is more athletic, and it's more healthy which means a longer active life for the horse. 

It's not hard to see why this approach to riding and training is not only effective, it's incredibly rewarding. When horses enjoy the training and thrive in their jobs, progress comes fast and there is joy in the process.

What else can be included in lessons?

Maria has an extensive background in behavior, and also offers some lesson topics that complement dressage training.

KatrinaLogan 450x3381. PROBLEM SOLVING: Learn to solve behavioral issues with your horse using positive reward based (R+) methods.  No drama, no trauma!

2. LIBERTY: Learn to have an AMAZING fun time training your horse at liberty!  There is nothing like it to build commmunication skills, bonding, and motivation with your horse.

3. OBSTACLES: Working Equitation or trail type obstacles are also another fun way to cross-train.  It's ideal for horses who are spooky during their dressage tests or have trouble with control outside of the arena.  Perfect for horses who need to relax and focus more!

Lesson - Pricing & Information

Hourly Private
$ 70 Hour


Benson Oaks Farm Boarders -
$50/hr or $30/30 min.

Full Time Student
$ 600 Month

+ 1 hr Private Session twice a week.

+ Custom homework assignments in between lessons.

+ Unlimited access to Maria for questions via email.

+ 50% Off of 1 Clinic per month.

Hourly Group
$ 40 Hour

+ For groups of similar skill level

+ At my location or yours

+ Group chooses lesson topic

"Take your reins like a flower, not like a stone.

Take your horse by your waist and by your seat, not by your hand and never by force.  If you do it by force, it is not the art of riding, it is something else."

~ Nuno Oliveira