Sara Contois

 

Sara began her career with horses, as young English girls often do, at a hunting yard in Leicestershire. Alongside her duties to care for the horses in the yard she was also out riding a variety of horses with the Quorn hunt twice a week. She then moved to Brampton Riding stables in Northamptonshire where she spent 2 happy years riding & training. This is also where she began her teaching career aged 18 and completed her B.H.S.A.I. It was during her time studying for her B.H.S.A.I. that she developed her knowledge, and subsequent passion, for excellent stable management which has stayed with her throughout her career.

From there she moved on to pursue her love of dressage and worked for a year with various riders of the Spanish Riding School in Austria including Johann "Hans" Riegler, followed by a year in Hamburg, Germany working under the guidance of an experienced Bereiter to further develop her show jumping skills. In Austria she was originally one of eight girls with the responsibility of looking after and schooling 40 horses, but by the end she was the only one who had stayed the course! She really values the one-on-one time she spent in Europe with a number of the top riders in the world, incorporating their skills and work ethic into her own training. The work ethic & attention to detail that was instilled in her at this time is still with her to this day- as many of her working students, past & present, would testify to!

After living and working in Europe for a number of years, she was offered the opportunity to travel from the UK to USA to look after multi-Olympic medal winner Mike Plumb’s three-day event horse “Chagall”. Once in America, she was offered a permanent position with Mike where she looked after his Olympic calibre horses and those of the USETA during their glory days.

The next opportunity came when Sara was riding NEDA (New England Dressage Association) horses for Betsy Hesness (one time president of NEDA), through whom she met author and instructor Sally Swift, and began exploring her theories on “centred riding”. That is now the focus of Sara’s teaching- perfect balance makes things much easier and clearer for the horse, as the rider can use each limb independently of the others.

Once settled in America, she quickly gained loyal students who stayed under her guidance for many years, valuing her vast knowledge, caring approach to horse and rider, as well as her wicked English sense of humour! Over the years, she has had many working students begin their equestrian careers at her barn as teenagers who, under her guidance, have progressed up through the ranks to become highly accomplished riders and trainers- many all the way up the Advanced level competitions.

Alongside her teaching, she has taught generations of young riders at the Pony Club, both mounted and un-mounted and has guided many students through to gaining their ‘A’ qualification. She was also a Chief Stable Management judge for the Club for over 10 years. She spent 11 years teaching at the Green Mountain Horse association (GMHA) in Vermont and running the very popular Junior Horsemanship clinics.

She is also a regular dressage judge & technical delegate for many shows across New England.

Sara also spent a number of years on the board of both GMHA & T.H.E. Farm, where her professional advice was invaluable to developing the operational functions of both organisations. She also happily donated her time to T.H.E Farm for many years in order to teach the instructors.

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