My training style
I would characterize my training style as a mixture of classic German training, Centered Riding techniques, and a conglomeration of the experience I have received from my two and four-legged teachers. I try to make sure the horse is both mentally and physically ready to do the job I ask, and realize that each horse requires some customization in their training regime. For riders in training with me, we focus on proper position, clarity and precision in aids, and keeping both short and long term training goals on track.
Some of the riders and trainers that I admire and use for inspiration are: Dr. Reiner Klimke, Harry Boldt, Ingrid Klimke, Mestre Orlando Facada, Paulo Caetano and his daughter Maria Caetano Couceiro, Verne Batchelder, and many others who strive to build a correct, balanced, happy athlete from their horses.
I started riding at the age of five, on a Shetland pony that was given to me as a birthday present from a family friend. (We found out later that the pony was given to me as a present because it was so ill-tempered it couldn’t be sold!) Undeterred by the multiple falls incurred with said pony, I was bitten with the horse “bug”. Initially riding Western Pleasure and Gymkhana, I switched to Eventing and Hunter/Jumpers in my teens.
While in college and working as a jumping instructor for Rudy Leone in Rancho Murieta, CA, something happened that would greatly influence my life. The 1990 ISR 100-day Stallion Testing was also being held at the same facility, and I had the opportunity to help out a few times when they needed extra hands. At the time, the riders were all brought over from Germany. The way they sat on the stallions was completely different than anything I had been exposed to thus far. Their head rider, Oliver Luze, arranged for me to go to Germany and really learn how to ride.
I spent 3.5 years riding and working with different trainers in Germany, and that time was invaluable in shaping the way I train today. I was extremely lucky in the opportunities that I had during that time, and continue to keep in contact with the trainers I worked with then.
I moved back to California in 1994 to ride for a private sponsor and rode part-time for various clients over the next few years while I studied massage and began working in an alternative health care clinic. At the time, I knew a lot about riding and training horses, but I did not yet know how to teach it to someone else. I spent the next years learning how to teach. This included courses on anatomy and kinesiology and getting my certification in Pilates. I worked with my Pilates instructor-trainer to develop Pilates-based exercises that specifically help riders cross train and improve their riding ability.
In 2001, I opened Barrett Training and began dressage training as a full time career. I have been blessed to have a wonderful group of clients, horses, and friends to work with since its inception. I moved Barrett Training to the Raleigh area of North Carolina in 2009 and am currently based at the lovely Oriana Stables in Cary.