Since starting dressage lessons with Michelle, my riding and self-confidence have improved in leaps and bounds. I had ridden only Western for many years and she helped me make my transition to English almost seamless!
I have a 6-year-old paint mare that was wasting away in my pasture. Highly intelligent she needed a challenge. I had always loved dressage and thought we should go for it. Still a little green,with Michelle's help, the quality of her performance is moving forwards by leaps and bounds.
Michelle is a fabulous teacher; her communication skills with both rider and horse are excellent. She understands how horses think and behave and is a fountain of knowledge that ultimately brings results. She gives a strong dressage foundation of command sequence and aids or signs. I can now say that my mare and I move in dance and harmony and we are both looking forward to many more classes with her.
My name is Debbie Fulps. I moved to Florida, from San Diego, California in 2008. I took great effort to pack and move 60 years worth of treasures and household goods. But I took the most effort to move my biggest and most valuable treasure, my beloved RedHawke, a Percheron/Morgan cross who weighs 1600lbs.
RedHawke traveled over 2600 miles and arrived here in wonderful shape. He is 15 years young and was bred by the Amish. I purchased him right out of a field and took him to a wonderful trainer who worked with him for several years. I knew he would never be an upper level dressage horse but wanted to give him a chance to be the best he could be.
My biggest worry was finding a trainer in Florida that would train and love him like the one in San Diego. About 6 or 7 months ago I moved to a new stable where Michelle had a student. As soon as I saw her ride and train I knew we had found our new trainer. She has exceeded our expectations in every way possible.
Red is a very big, heavy horse and when she rides him he sprouts wings and moves with beauty and grace. He absolutely loves her and when she is walking towards the barn on lesson days he always has a wonderful nicker and whinny for her.
I had a very bad fall about 3 years ago and was seriously injured. The fall from Red was not his fault, but I have not had the courage to ride since that time. Michelle is the first person to give me the knowledge and courage to ride again. That meant more to me than words could ever express. We look forward to a long and productive relationship with her and am thankful for all she has done for both of us in the last 6 months.
I have really enjoyed the challenge and the thrill of learning dressage with Michelle. She is incredibly enthusiastic and she sets a great example with her elegant, balanced and lovely riding. My Arabian gelding and I are working our way up the training pyramid with Michelle's support. This is an amazing journey!
You are never too old to learn to ride. I am 69 years old and I have finally found someone willing to train older persons. The lessons are educational and I look forward to them.
My horse, Cash's Clay is a Percheron that I purchased when he was 2 1/2 years old. At that time Cash was about 17 hands and was green to everything from walking properly on a lead rope, to getting a bath. Cash's Clay was my dream horse not realized yet. He was very kind and willing, and had an enormous amount of potential to be an amazing horse.
Cash had a rough start though. After I purchased him and brought him home he had had a constant sinus infection that we eventually found to be an enormous maxillary sinus cyst. The poor guy had to have facial surgery to remove the cyst and then was on stall rest for many months. After a full recovery and many months later we moved to a barn where I met Michelle.
At that time (2008) Cash was just four years old and had less than a year on him being broke (I use that term loosely here); so needless to say Cash was very green and still was lacking in the steering and stopping department to say the least ... which we all know is essential if we want to enjoy our rides. Through word of mouth I had heard about Michelle with glowing reviews from everyone that knew her, but for me, the proof is in the pudding, I needed to see her in action. At that time I believe Michelle was just coming off of maternity leave and just getting back to training. I watched her give lessons and work horses and was very impressed with her ability to tailor her training to each horse and rider's ability; and being exceptionally able to cater to their individual needs. So I decided I wanted Michelle to help me train Cash.
I had gone as far as I could training him with groundwork and some very basic things, but I lacked the knowledge and the ability to do any more training myself. I needed help, and Michelle was perfect for the job. Initially, I was worried that she may not accept Cash and me as students because I had read about her tremendous qualifications and experience working and showing upper level horses; yet here was Cash and I, just backyard warriors so to speak, but we had the passion to be a better horse and rider.
Michelle gladly took us on, and I can not say enough wonderful things about her. Michelle is very professional and friendly .... her desire is to help horse and rider achieve their goals and potential, and she works very hard to help you achieve these goals. She is just as dedicated to all her students whether you are someone who wants to show, or someone who wants to have a professional show your horse; or to the lay person that just wants to become a better rider and have a wonderful safe mount to ride.
Cash is back in training after about 6 months off from being worked by Michelle. He has managed to retain so very much of what she had taught him and still proves to be a very willing learner. Cash has developed with Michelle's guidance into very much the gentleman and a dream to ride, whether in the arena or on the trails. I am forever in Michelle's debt for helping me realize my dream in owning Cash, and helping to develop Cash into the tremendous, trusted horse and friend he has become. Thank You!!
My name is Melissa Miller. I am 22 years old and attend the University of Florida. I have been taking lessons with Michelle for almost 2 years now. I have a 5 year old Appaloosa mare that Michelle has helped me mold and shape into a wonderful show or pleasure horse.
When I first started with Michelle I was very frustrated by my young horse, but Michelle taught me patience and gave me the skills to get my horse where she is now. Michelle never laughed at me or thought I was crazy for asking for dressage lessons in my western saddle. She is understanding and does not judge my reasoning for doing so.
After every lesson I have with Michelle I feel as though I have accomplished something and that is a big thing for somebody who has been riding and getting lessons for over 10 years. She is a kind and understanding person and without her help I would not be as far as I am with my young horse. She has given me skills that I will use the rest of my life.
Annie VliegenthartMy name is Annie Vliegenthart, and Iím a law student at UF. Iíve been riding since I was 8, and started eventing when I was 13, so Iíve had my fair share of trainers, and riding with Michelle has been an absolute pleasure.
I started working with her about 6 months ago after I bought my 3-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Oliver. The progress we have made with Michelle has been amazing. He has improved so much, and I finish every lesson with a smile on my face feeling like Iíve really accomplished something.
Michelle always finds a way to keep our lessons positive. She never focuses on the negative and she is always ready to explain everything clearly, rather than getting frustrated if I donít understand or am having trouble with something. She keeps us motivated, and as a result, Oliver has made amazing progress in a very short amount of time.
Michelle is wonderful in so many ways. She really goes above and beyond, and I feel like I there arenít enough words to express how wonderful she is. Sheís always ready to help, and she genuinely cares about how we are doing. Iíve had so many trainers that make you feel like youíre just a time slot to get through. Michelle has always made me feel like sheís genuinely happy to be there helping me, and really cares about my horse and how heís doing. I finish every lesson feeling like my horse and I both improved and learned something. I look forward to every lesson with her, and I canít recommend her highly enough!
Chris McKennaAt the left is me atop my beautiful gelding Prophet. He was purchased for me by my former (great) trainer, Diana Mukpo, and could not be a more perfect fit. We were doing well for the first few years, but then I had an unfortunate car accident and riding went from 1-2 x a month to none.
For five years I was unable to ride and underwent multiple procedures and three surgeries on my hip. I was finally on the mend and able to ride about 10 months ago.
I found Michelle, explained our plight, and she agreed to begin rehabilitating both my horse and me. With both of us so out of shape the going was slow but Michelle knew just how and when to push. At our first lesson I could not do a 20M circle at a trot without running out of breath. Now I ride 3-5 times a week and work my second horse the same with energy to spare.
Michelle is able to communicate concepts through her use of language and on-the-ground examples and will continue to break things down and demonstrate until I understand the feel and can reproduce it consistently for myself. Fortunately, my horse is a quicker study and responds to her brilliantly.
I was sad to lose my former trainer due to distance and life circumstances - she was so good, I was sure I would not be able to find anyone of her caliber again. I was (happily) wrong. I cannot express my respect for Michelle. She has a wealth of knowledge of horses, riding and effective communication that enables her to get the most out of horse and rider. Both of my horses LOVE her and enjoy their work daily. We have progressed steadily, faster than I had even hoped for and with no injuries or days missed for anything but rain.
As for my progress, I spent 3 years limping and in pain, a good part of the last 18 months on crutches watching my muscles disappear to this last year, recovering from a total hip replacement without any other therapy than riding with Michelle. My muscles are back, I don't limp and I feel so pleased to have my life back that I can barely wipe the smile off my face. I am happy, my horses are happy and the world is great. I know this sounds a bit melodramatic, but after 5 years of not being able to ride and not having the physical outlet and identity with the 'horse world'- it is so good to be me again. The me that has 2 great horses and a GREAT trainer.
I have been a student of Michelle's for several years. I have had the desire to ride since I was a kid pretending that my bike was a horse. A few Christmases ago my husband gave me four free riding lessons from a client of his and that's all it took. I do believe he may have some regrets about that particular present now.
After my four lessons on a stubborn pony I was in need of a new instructor and found the stables Michelle trained from on line. I wanted to learn dressage and how to care for horses. Michelle has far exceeded all my expectations. She has taken me from a lunge line to riding independently and safely. Michelle has treated me with respect and has never made my feel inadequate. She has taught me how to understand my horse and in that, how to be a better rider and owner. If I have a horse question Michelle is the first person I call because I know she will always steer me in the right direction.
I've worked with Michelle on two different school horses that had to end due to injury and location change. I was without a ride until one day Michelle called me up to tell me about a mare she knew and that I could come and ride and maybe help her with some training. I had no idea at that time my life was about to change forever. Bonnie, this lovely QH, has become the love of my life, outside my husband of course. I bought her about six months later with Michelle's recommendation.
Michelle, through her patience, sense of humor and dedication has helped Bonnie become a better horse and me a better rider and person. I thank the Creator every day for putting Michelle in my life.
Michelle came highly recommended to me via a close friend. When I first met Michelle I was at my wits end with a creatively quirky, difficult and bolt prone horse. Our first lesson entailed me on a lunge line with an eventing vest and my riding ability had digressed to virtually nonexistent.
Here we are. almost two years later, and our progress has astounded me. I started with just lessons and eventually added training for my horse; we are doing things now that I never even imagined weíd be able to do. My confidence has spiked and Michelle has been a pillar the entire journey. Iíve met both great instructors and great trainers in my horse endeavors and Michelle has the ability to be both, which I have found to be the greatest asset of all.
I have been riding my mare, Frida, with Michelle for three years. As a rider since I was six years old, I originally trained in jumping for most of my riding. Michelle helped to introduce to me the world of dressage, and her method of teaching has been wonderfully clear and enlightening.
Frida and I began with Michelle starting from the basics and have worked very hard to progress up the Training Pyramid. Michelle is always positive and has us build on certain techniques each week as well as giving guidance as to what ďhomeworkĒ we should work on.
Michelle is one of the best trainers I've had the privilege to work with, and her passion for the sport shows through the time and effort she puts both in an out of coaching lessons. I highly recommend Michelle for her knowledge, lounge lessons, dressage lessons, fine tuning, reviewing basics, and not to mention her great personality.
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