At the end of the day, no matter your discipline, the horse’s mental and physical health, as well as developing the bond and partnership with their rider is the ultimate goal. Each horse and rider comes with a different set of physical and mental strengths and weaknesses. Tara’s unique expertise is found in her ability to tune into not only what the horse needs to progress but also what each rider needs to be able to comfortably learn! Tara prioritizes understanding how your body position, aides, and emotions directly influence the horse and how learning to understand and evaluate their response will help you to grow and develop your skills so that you can better guide your equine partner.
Dressage: An Art and a Science combined to promote optimal strength and longevity through correct biomechanical movements. Dressage, much like classical music, should be the base of every discipline. Tara started training in dressage around the age of 18 and has been fortunate enough to train regularly with Hall of Fame Olympian Lendon Gray, as well as headmasters of Spanish School and protégés to the master of French Classical riding, NunoOliviera . Although there are differences in methodology; lightness, self carriage, and harmony of horse and rider are always the objective.
Eventing and Show Jumping : Tara’s love of the Thoroughbred brought her to the sport of Eventing. Arguably the hardest of all horse sports! Eventing combines Dressage, Cross Country and Show Jumping, thus requiring both horse and rider to not only have the skills and suppleness for Dressage, but the bravery and fitness in horse and rider to gallop down to solid fences, and the scope and longevity to finish a clean show jumping course as well ! Tara has brought horses from the track through Prelim, and many junior riders from learning to post to being ranked at the top of leaderboard in all of the North East in both Beginner Novice and Novice divisions. She will instill in you the correct position,conditioning program, confidence, and skills needed for you and your horse to safely excel at this exhilarating discipline. Summerwood has the perfect environment for Tara to develop both horse and rider in the sport of Eventing.
The OTTB: Tara is a huge proponent of the OTTB and the Thoroughbred horse as a whole. She gives credit to the many hundreds of OTTBs she has ridden throughout both her young and her adult life, as her best teachers. They have shaped who she is as a rider and trainer, and she unabashedly admits that they are her favorite breed! She feels indebted to them as a whole and is always excited to help anyone better understand and develop the training of their thoroughbred. She has been affectionately coined “The Thoroughbred Whisperer” by past and present clients. Whether you have a horse fresh off the track or an older OTTB with many miles, you can be assured of a dramatic improvement in physical and mental condition, training, and the overall enjoyment of your animal when in her program.
Starting babies:Tara has over 20 year experience starting young horses. From teaching them to lead and pick up their feet to winning their first competition, her goal is always to instill confidence and understanding, nothing is forced or done from a place of fear. She believes that making sure the young ones enjoy their jobs and stay eager to learn is how you develop a life long partner that can be successful in any discipline .
Troubleshooting : Problems with trailer loading, mounting, rearing, bucking, refusing fences, or just standing quietly to be brushed, there is no problem too big or small. Tara welcomes trailer-in clients or short term training to troubleshoot and fix any issues you may be struggling with in a safe and timely fashion! You will see immediate improvement in just one session.
Education and Experience
➤Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management specializing in Equine Science and Breaking and Training
➤ Certified in Equine Massage and Saddle Fit
➤20 years working closely with the top equine vets, farriers, chiropractors and dressage trainers to become specialized specifically in Equine Biomechanics, Fitness, and Conditioning, helping to ensure not only the athleticism of a top performance horse but also the longevity.
➤ 20 years Dressage instruction with US Olympians as well as Spanish and French school masters.
➤30 years training and Competing in Equitation, Jumpers and Eventing. Tara has trained with and continues to train with 5 star Event riders as well as Olympic coaches in Sports Psychology.
➤Single, Pair, and Unicorn team Driving
➤ Conditioning and Swimming Pacers and Trotters on Saratoga Race Track
➤ 2 years learning to run barrels and ride reining horses and patterns
➤ 20 years working with weanlings, yearlings and young horses, training from the ground through competition
Erin believes that every ride should be therapeutic for the horse. She embraces the fundamental principle of dressage being a way to create/maintain soundness and longevity in any ridden horse.
Erin’s teaching style is patient, precise, and gentle. Focusing on balance, of both the rider and the horse,using unique techniques to improve posture and build strength. With a horse centered approach, she challenges her students to always be recognizing healthy and unhealthy patterns.
Erin teaches riders from all age groups and disciplines with any type of horse; novice to experienced riders, and horses at any level of training, can benefit from her unique skill set. Through the years Erin has worked with many different breeds within a variety of disciplines and has produced impressive results in even the most chronically lame horses. Horses suffering from ailments such as kissing spine, ECVM, tendon/ligament injury, and navicular syndrome have found relief within her program.
Erin helps riders to better understand their horse’s unique movement patterns and the role they play in the rehabilitation work needed for their horse. Teaching riders how, through awareness and better equitation, they can create soundness.
Erin has been avidly involved in the equine industry for 25 years. Even after serving her country in the United States Marine Corps for 5 years, she quickly found her way back into the saddle. Erin started her career with horses at 8 years old. She mucked stalls for lessons and crushed soda cans with her grandmother for show money. Through her teens, Erin showed hunters locally and on the Quarter Horse circuit. She was also active in 4-H and competitive drill team.
Erin’s passion for biomechanics started when she joined Summerwood Stables. She worked closely with Solo Halle for a few years, and with Solos guidance, Erin has helped over 20 horses and riders find soundness through better balance.
Erin is a frequent participant in clinics and has had the honor of riding with Mary Wanless, Jean Luc Cornille, Heather Blitz, Rodrigo Matos, Bruno Gonzales, Na Christiani Veder, Lendon Gray, and Metta Larsen.
I have had the pleasure of working with Erin for the past year and I feel so blessed to have found both her and Summerwood Stables. Erin continues to make me a much better rider and her knowledge of the biomechanics of the horse is astonishing. I have watched her take a chronically lame horse with Navicular and Kissing Spine and turn him into a happy, sound, beautiful ride. Although she is an excellent trainer, her rehabilitation methods are priceless, and I highly recommend anyone with behavior or soundness issues to contact her.
Our eight year old daughter has been working with Erin for over a year, and she comes with our highest recommendation! Erin’s instruction style is a fantastic balance of learning, caring, discipline, and fun. She has a well rounded approach to teaching to include caring for the horse, tacking, ground handling, and riding skills. The building blocks she uses instills confidence, especially in young riders. As a parent, I trust Erin implicitly as I have watched her take utmost care of our daughter and of the horses. We are truly grateful to work with her!
I have been Erin’s student for the past three months and am astonished by the progress I have made! She not only has dramatically improved my riding, but the quality of my horse’s gaits and movements. Her knowledge of balanced riding, equine anatomy, and her ability to explain the rider’s position and use of aids is clear and precise. She has the health and well being of my horse as a priority. In addition to under-saddle instruction, Erin’s program of in-hand work to rehabilitate my horse has proven to increase his relaxation and suppleness. I am so grateful to have Erin as my instructor and look forward to continuing learning from her!