United States Dressage Federation
As the daughter of a horse lover, Laura's life has always been surrounded by horses. Her family rented camp horses every winter to love, care for and learn from. At the age of seven, Laura received her own pony for Christmas, Cocoa Puff. Even as a little girl, Laura's natural ability to train was apparent. She self-trained this Amish driving pony to be 4H champion under saddle and over fences.
By age eleven, Laura became too tall to show Cocoa and moved forward to training her family's Arabian Kirashana. This challenge taught Laura a great deal about not just riding, but horsemanship. Laura and Kira developed a partnership that lead them to numerous championships on the A-rate Arabian circuit in the hunter pleasure, hunter hack, equitation, native costume, trail, sport horse under saddle, sport horse in-hand, halter and showmanship.
Later on, the pair transitioned to the dressage ring. Laura saw how dressage training changed Kira's mind and body. It made this instinctually hot and flighty Arabian a calm, willing and athletic teammate. It made Laura full-heartedly believe in the good of the sport for the horse and ignited her lifelong passion for dressage.
Laura's next horse, MS Spanish Legacy, was bought specifically as a dressage prospect. As a young horse, she gained experience in the show arena doing Arabian halter, showmanship and sport horse in-hand. Due to her athleticism and trainability, it became clear she was destined to be a star as a sport horse. In 2013, the pair won 2 National Championships at The Arabian Sport Horse National show. Since then, Laura and Legacy have been competing through Prix St. George dressage with the best of the best in Wellington, Florida. Despite Legacy's non-traditional size, breeding and color, she is competitive against all of the big warmbloods thanks to their solid training foundation and even stronger bond with each other.
Laura also campaigned her horse Donnerluck in Wellington's small tour classes (Prix St. George & Intermediare I). Through proper management and listening to the needs of her horse, Laura has kept Donner fit and happy enough to continue showing at the top of the sport in his senior years. In 2015, Laura's tenacious efforts with Donner paid off. Together they earned the last score necessary to earn the USDF Gold Medal.
The other portion of Laura's Gold Medal was earned with Laura's trainer's Grand Prix horse, Cadenza. After two years of learning and working for Ilse Schwarz, Laura was given the opportunity to go for the gold. This was a fantastic chance for Laura to prove that her devotion to her education in the saddle had paid off. This accolade marks a pivotal point in her career but is just another stepping stone on the life long journey that is dressage.
Laura hopes that her young horse, Shana's Romance, will give her another way to showcase her training abilities and take her career to new heights. The pair has plans to campaign in the FEI Young Horse classes in Wellington, Florida in 2016. So far, she has proven to be a great dressage prospect with scores over 70%. We hope that this is only the beginning of a long and successful dressage career together.
Beyond her personal horses, Laura is fortunate enough to show a few of her client horses. She currently has training horses schooling and showing training through third level. As her client base strengthens, she hopes to be entrusted with the care and training of more upper level mounts.
Mirroring Laura's riding career, her equine education also began through 4H with the quiz bowl team, then further developed through the Arabian Horse Association on the judging team. After earning the overall highpoint award at the Pennsylvania Junior Amateur Games, she was invited to compete in Louisville, Kentucky at the US Arabian Nationals. At Penn State, she was a member of the Penn State Quarter Horse judging team. In 2011, she travelled to the American Quarter Horse Congress to compete and earned individual honors for her overall conformation and performance scorings. She is continuing to develop her judging skills through the USDF "L" program. This educational program is the first step towards becoming a dressage judge.
As a senior in high school, Laura obtained an internship with Henderson Veterinary Associates in Elizabethtown, PA. Through this experience, she got to work with the clinical staff on site, as well as on farm calls. She was exposed to routine vaccinations, floating, lameness evaluations, emergency medical care, reproduction and more. Her equine science foundation from HVA Equine benefitted her greatly as she pursued an Equine Science minor at Penn State. Through her minor, she studied Animal Science, Horse Production and Management, Horse Management and Advanced Equine Reproduction. Her Equine Science minor curriculum also included equine event management, horse sales and equine marketing courses, which tied her passion for horses in well with her business marketing major.
Training and Dressage Education:
The Penn State Equine Science minor also offered courses in Horse Handling & Training and Riding Instructor Training. Beyond that, she was a founding member of the Penn State Dressage Team and competed on the Intercollegiate Dressage Team. This experience taught her to quickly adapt to new horses and improve their way of going under the pressures of the show arena.
After college, Laura moved to Wellington Florida to focus on furthering her dressage education. She worked for and rode with a variety of trainer in the beginning of season. While auditing the FEI Trainer's Conference and a Kyra Kyrklund clinic, Australian rider Ilse Schwarz caught her eye. She groomed for Ilse and her grand prix mount Cadenza during the World Cup CDI and then began helping on her farm in exchange for lessons. By the end of season, she was offered a working student/rider position, with the opportunity to train on Cadenza and eventually show in the Young Rider Grand Prix classes to earn her gold medal. Beyond the show ring accolades gained, Laura was entrusted to ride and care for a barn full of top quality FEI dressage horses. She still works with Ilse and uses the knowledge gained to progress the training of her personal and client horses.
As mentioned above, Laura capitalizes on all of the educational opportunities Wellington has to offer. She attends any available clinics such as the FEI Trainer's Conference, Kyra Kyrklund symposium, World Dressage Masters, Robert Dover Horse Master's Clinic and more. Additionally, The Dressage Foundation hosts many education programs including the invitational only Young Rider Graduate Program and the Florida Dream Tour. All of these events serve to continue Laura's professional development and understanding of the art of dressage.
She represents Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Virginia youth as the Arabian Horse Association Region 15 Youth Director. After a few years on the board of directors, she went on to become the Vice President and lastly the President of the Arabian Horse Youth Association. Through this leadership position, she travelled throughout the United States and Canada as the voice of AHA's Youth members. During her time on the board, rulebook changes were passed, budgets were improved, community outreach grew, more opportunities for youth were created and the organization strengthened. Laura also reestablished the Pennsylvania Equine Council youth program and served as the Youth Liaison on the board of directors. Through the PEC, Laura encouraged young adults to become involved in legislative issues affecting the equine industry and participated in equine based activities to further community outreach.
To view Laura's full resume CLICK HERE