Programs

  • Private Lesson Packages
    Private lessons provide the most direct way to address either a horse, rider or horse/rider issue.
  • Group Lessons
    Group lessons enable one to see the riding style of other riders and to relate to others who may have a similar issue with their ride. We can make arrangements to teach at other private and public facilities such as Frying Pan Park subject to approval of facilities management.
  • Clinics
    A clinic provides a concentrated teaching environment where students have a chance to work with other riders of similar skill level.  Seeing what works for others helps in the education process.
  • Working Student
    My working student program teaches all aspects of stable management, horse care and riding as well as how to compete effectively at international level competitions. Prospective students must be at least 18 years old.
  • Show Coaching
    The show ring provides a venue to demonstrate what one has achieved in their riding.

Teaching Philosophy

Sonya teaching

My training and lessons are based on all the different experiences that I have had during my life as a rider, competitor, and teacher. Which means that my hunter lessons might have a lot of dressage in them, my jumper lessons might have a smattering of cross-country technique, and my cross-country techniques are influenced by my hunter training. In other words, I believe in cross-training both my riders and their horses.

Sonya with student

In the lessons my main goal is to teach my students to communicate their intentions and goals clearly to their horses in such a way that the horses are able to comply with the instructions to the best of their abilities. Learning to speak properly to a horse through body language is an amazing journey that culminates in that elusive, magical concept of “feel”. Once a rider starts to have the tiniest smidgen of feel, riding becomes a whole new incredible experience. It is my hope to be able to help as many riders as possible to become true partners with their horses so that they, in their turn can achieve their goals and truly bring out the best in their horses.

With the advent of specials classes such as the Hunter Derby classes, and harder, more technical requirements in Eventing in both Cross-Country and Stadium jumping, it is becoming increasingly necessary for riders to cross-train both themselves and their horses. To that end, my training program first emphasizes correct dressage training for all my students. After that, we progress to jumping both inside the ring and outside in the country. I firmly believe that horses need to get outside as much as possible and students are strongly encouraged to take their horses out hacking.

What Students Say

Hear what others are saying about Sonya’s clinics and instruction. Her students cover a wide range of riding abilities and aspirations.


"I couldn’t have done this without Sonya."
Ann Another, Middleburg, MD

Chistina


"There are few trainers who can both teach well and ride well. I’ve worked with many top clinicians, and Sonya has an excellent balance of experience and the ability to articulate what you need to improve."
SaraJo Light, Baltimore, MD


"I have to thank you again for bringing Sonya out. I think she is absolutely WONDERFUL! She is an extremely observant and knowledgeable instructor, and I really enjoy her enthusiastic approach."
Vera Tun, Wood Dale, IL


"Exceptional doesn’t adequately describe Sonya's clinics. I attribute my MCTA 2000 Bob Hutton, Reel Surprise Memorial and Lowest Penalty Score Trophies and Beginner Horse and Adult Rider Awards to what I learned at Sonya's clinics."
Barbara Oz, Warren, MI


"Having never taken a jumping clinic or evented previously, I was overjoyed with the confidence Sonya instilled. A good teacher - not only teaches the basics but also leaves the student questing for more. Sonya does both."
Carol Cooper, St. Johns, MI


"All of my pony clubbers (and their parents and several of their coaches who were there) loved the clinic, LOVED Sonya as a clinician, and felt they learned a lot."
Martha Mulks, DC, Rose Lake Pony Club

Martha Mulks

"Every clinic that I take from Sonya challenges my riding skills. I attended her summer camp in Unionville, PA, and it was a wonderful experience. Learning and working with my horse on a daily basis was key to realizing great improvements in my riding. Sonya doesn't quit until you get it."
Nicole Vohs, Shelby Township, MI

Nicole Vohs

"I went yesterday with my young horse, Bali. It was great fun, and I really enjoyed Sonya’s teaching. We did a lot more than I would have expected, ending with nearly full-courses and fences set at 3’3", which was built up to very well as it did not make me nervous, and Baliboo just motored around, without being overfaced at all. I will be returning today for more! And, I’ll definitely be looking her up."

Student

"They don't get any better than Sonya. She has the ability to quickly grasp the holes in the horse/rider partnership and structure the exercises to fill those gaps. The lessons are fun and focus on the fundmentals to make your riding enjoyable and competitive."
Ray Venoski, Parker, CO

Ray Venoski

"OMG. I had so much fun."
Angie Lucas, Owings Mills, MD

Angie