A lifelong horsewoman, Sara has two decades of experience with horses. Sara has extensive experience with transitioning barefoot horses, injury rehab, nutrition, lifestyle, saddle fit, treeless saddles, natural lifestyles for Southern California horses, and bitless options. A Ghost Treeless Saddle fitter, she is currently adding to her classical dressage background and pursuing Monty Roberts’ instructor certification.
She got her start at Joan Arnold’s Festival Morgans in 1998, and her love affair with Morgans began in earnest with her 9th birthday present: Festival Prophecy (UVM Promise x Festival Fashion, by Saddleback Senator). A true love match, Prophecy and Sara have been a team ever since–Prophecy will be 30 in August 2018.
Showing extensively on the Morgan circuit, Sara and Prophecy overcame a major setback, Prophecy’s major abdominal surgery in June 2000, to capture the Reserve Grand National Walk-Trot 9 & Under Classic Pleasure Equitation Champion ribbon in October, placing 3rd in the Pleasure class. That year, Max (Fawn Ledge Magnifique) joined the family, becoming Sara’s step-up horse into the English Pleasure 13 & Under division. Over time, Sara showed in nearly all divisions, adding Hunt Seat and Western Seat ribbons to her resume, and even a short stint in Classic Pleasure Driving!
2003 brought Sara to the world of dressage. Prophecy and Max took on new roles as dressage horses, as well as beginning to explore the world of horse camping. In 2005, Sara began working towards her upper-level dressage goals with Peliki (“Lily”), a Dutch Warmblood mare. However, she kept showing Max, who captured the CDS-San Diego High Point First Level Junior award in 2006!
Sara and Prophecy continued on, trying their chances at NATRC and camping extensively throughout Southern California. 2006 brought about the first major change in Sara’s mindset: Prophecy’s hocks grew arthritic, and at the age of 18, the vet suggested intra-articular (joint) injections. Six weeks later, she was only marginally improved and, with a 4.5/5 and 5/5 positive flexions nearly resulting in Prophecy’s collapse attempting to trot out three-legged, the vet suggested retirement, with only light, flat trail rides with bute before and after.
Morgans are NOT horses who should be sidelined at only 18–Prophecy’s grandsire and many siblings went well into their 30s! Instead, Sara transitioned Prophecy to bare feet and began a slow rehab. Just months later Prophecy was trail riding in the mountains again.
Later in 2006, Max, who was exhibiting signs of early navicular syndrome, also went barefoot. In November 2006 Prophecy and Max, along with Windy, moved home, to leave their pipe corralled lives behind and live more naturally. Max’s rehab was not simple and took some time. In 2007, Sara attended a Pete Ramey barefoot hoofcare clinic and began learning to trim.
While Lily was ultimately retired due to injury, she, too, made dramatic improvements with a natural trim and lifestyle. Sensitive and always sore for several days after shoeing, no matter how carefully or with what types of shoes and pads, she seemed like a poor barefoot candidate. Once she became comfortable, however, and we found out her trim needs, she did spectacularly well barefoot. When Sara went to college, Lily went to a training barn to be sold, and was immediately shod and stalled. Within two weeks she had severely injured a suspensory. The longest period of time this very accident-prone horse went without soft tissue injuries was while she was barefoot in a paddock!
Lily also put Sara through the wringer with saddle fit. Multiple custom saddles were made for her with only one success, which was short-lived, as when her back changed, the saddle no longer stayed stable. As such, Sara has experience identifying and resolving saddle fit issues.
In 2011, Sara purchased her next Morgan, ATMF Amulet (“Luke”). An unstarted 5 year old, Sara worked with him from the ground up, backing him herself. He challenged many of her previous ways of working with horses, including management of the cold-backed and reactive horse. He showed excellent prowess over fences and impatience for the dressage court; in 2016 he moved on to a jumping home in accordance with Sara’s philosophy to find the job best suited for the horse (and preference to only toy with smaller jumps–not go bigger and bigger!).
In 2017, Sara’s love affair with Ghost Treeless saddles began. At 29, Prophecy came out of retirement, but with her aged topline, traditional saddle fit was difficult. Riding longer periods in a well-padded bareback pad caused issues for Sara’s back. The solution was a Ghost! One year after ordering her Ghost demo, in March 2018, Sara partnered with Badlands Equine to become a Ghost fitter for the Southern California area.
Sara returned to riding Prophecy while she slowly began searching for the one who could follow in her footsteps. Certain that she would find a Morgan mare to fit her dreams, she searched for close to a year. In January 2018, Kismet, also known as Missy (Childs Mission Impossible; Drake’s High Command x Code Red, by Issues n Answers), joined Sara’s equine family. A long 4 year old with just 5 rides at the time, Missy is showing extreme athleticism and a brilliant temperament. While Sara has always enjoyed working her horses bitless and refuses to use the majority of bits on the market, Missy is simply unhappy in a bit, and Sara is traveling the bitless path with her.
In March 2018, Sara launched Spectrum Equine, so named for what she hopes to encompass. Her purpose is to help horses through helping people, using the spectrum of horsepersonship: from natural horsemanship to classical dressage, working holistically to build partnerships with horses. The concept of the Cowboy Dressage handshake, Buck Brannaman’s ‘soft feel’, Monty Roberts’ ‘language of equus’, the classical dressage ‘weight of the rein’–it’s all the same and can be accomplished in many ways. Sara aspires to sift through any excess and pull the true methods that work from each to create a brand of horse-person partnership that creates joy for horse and rider.