Top portion of the side image showing a smiling rider on Petey, a black and white Paint horse.

            About Leslie

Bottom portion of the side image showing a smiling rider on Petey, a black and white Paint horse.

Leslie has had a lifelong love of horses.  She began collecting Breyer models at the age of 5 and had her first riding lesson just two years later.  The story behind her "first riding lesson" is interesting...her mother, who is a native of Germany, traveled home to visit her family when Leslie was only 7.  Leslie missed her mom very much, so her dad, trying to keep her mind off her mother's absence, took her to a local riding stable and signed her up for a block of lessons. What started out as a diversion while her mother was away soon turned into the beginning of another stage in her life with horses.

She had gone from playing with models in her bedroom to riding real ones in an arena!  For the next 7 years she took at least one lesson a week, cooled out polo ponies on the weekends and spent as much time at the barn as possible. It took 7 years to convince her parents that she was responsible enough to take care of her own horse.

Her first horse was a pistol.  She dragged and dumped Leslie whenever possible.  Undeterred, Leslie stuck with her and after 3 years, she was riding her to championships on the local hunter circuit.  Her next horse was a little Appaloosa mare.  She rode the horse on the Appaloosa circuit and showed her to year-end National High Point Championships in Working Hunter and Amateur-Owner Working Hunter.  This horse took her twice to the Greater Eastern Appaloosa Regionals and once to the World Appaloosa show.

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Her next horse was a yearling Appaloosa gelding.  Leslie started him under saddle with the help of her trainer.  She did the local hunters with him, placed as high as third at the National Appaloosa show and competed successfully at the lower levels of Dressage as well as through Training Level in eventing.

In June of 1997, Leslie and her husband Dave bought a small farm in Loudoun County, Virginia with a plan to board horses.  After a bad fall from a new horse, Leslie quit riding for almost 2 years, her confidence in the saddle gone.  She tried several times to get back on the mare but the fear was literally paralyzing.  It was so bad that she even stopped riding her reliable Appaloosa gelding.  She learned of a fairly local Apprenticeship Program and requested information in January 2001.  At the urging of her husband and at the very last minute, she signed up for the March 2001 Apprenticeship Program.  She was out of shape, her horses were out of shape and she was terrified but she went.  Her only goal for the three week program was not to say "I can't".  It was three mentally and physically challenging weeks but she made it through.  The Apprenticeship was such a positive experience, Leslie signed up for the year long Certification Program with two new unbroke horses.  She finished at the top of her class in 2002, earning the highest score of any student to graduate from that program.  She has been training horses at her farm ever since.

Leslie firmly believes that clear communication with both the horse and owner provides a solid foundation for training.  She has developed the skills to teach both horse and rider and has the ability to break things down into simple steps so that the student is able to understand.  Through her training methods, Leslie promotes a positive learning experience, building confidence and fostering respect and trust between horse and rider.

View Leslie's resume.