If it's not fun... why do it?
Professional Equestrian training for horse and rider. Specializing in Hunters, Equitation, Ponies, and Sales.
Bringing years of education from the East Coast to Colorado.
Sarah, a USHJA Certified Trainer, has lived in Colorado since 2008 and began Watson Equestrian in 2011. Her philosophy is that riding should be a fun way to be the best version of ourselves as people, as horseman, as riders, as friends, and as competitors. Sarah enjoys taking all of her experiences and passing them along to her students, using all that she has learned from many other top professionals and creating her own style of positive teaching and horsemanship. Two of Sarah's specialities are; working with Young horses- as she believes the slow path is the correct path in educating a top horse. Another focus of Sarah's is older horses with soundness issues- as she is very involved with her Veterinarians and Farrier to keep all of her horses feeling their best.
**Watson Equestrian does not offer school horse lessons, but we are happy to refer you to many of our friends who do in the area**
From the early days... on the East coast
Growing up in Fairfield County Connecticut, Sarah had some of the best trainers and barns in the country at her fingertips. She began her riding career at age 5 at Stepping Stone Farm in Ridgefield, CT under the instruction of Janie Weber, Martha Gilchrist-Lincoln, and Sonia Schuster-Ippolitti. Sarah spent her youth riding with Martha and Sonia at Breakaway Farm in North Salem, NY creating a strong foundation for horsemanship and 'A' show quality riding. Sarah was known for her Equitation and in her Junior Career was 2nd at Connecticut's Children's Equitation Finals of a strong group of riders.
She attended the University of Vermont, where she received a BS in Equine Sciences and a BA in English. While studying there, she trained under Grand Prix Dressage trainer Madeleine Austin of Imajica Farm in Williston, VT. As captain of the Equestrian Team, Sarah trained with Madeline and sharpened her flatwork skills which ultimately improved her jumping technique and helped to take the strong team to IHSA Nationals two years in a row.
After college riding Sarah returned to CT where she began working for Fred and Christina Schauder of Country Lane Farm in Greenwich, CT. Here she began her career as a professional, specializing in ponies and hunters while attending shows up and down the East Coast.
To New Zealand and Washington, DC...
In 2005 Sarah had the privilege of heading to New Zealand where she trained closely with Greg Best, Seoul Olympics silver medalist. Greg tightened her skills as a jumper rider and gave her the opportunity to travel abroad.
With these skills, Sarah moved to Washington DC where she worked for Stacey Schaefer and Kim Stewart riding top quality ponies and hunters to prepare them for the show ring with Samantha Schaeffer and Scott Stewart.
To a home in Colorado....
Upon arriving in Colorado, Sarah began working for Snowfield Farm, acting as the assistant trainer focusing on the pony clients, and later working with the adult clients competing in the equitation and hunter divisions.
In 2011 Sarah stepped out on her own to begin Watson Equestrian LLC as a stand alone trainer in this community. As a result, she has taken numerous riders and horses to winning positions in both the Hunter, Jumper, and Equitation rings with notable winning awards in the CHJA Medal Finals several years in a row. With help from top professionals; Meg Schulman, Suzie Balenseifen, Bernie Traurig, Nick Karazisis- Sarah makes the most of clinics and learning opportunities to continue to further her education. Sarah's philosophy is that "the learning never needs to stop".
Sarah has attended USEF Pony Finals, Capital Challenge, Washington International Horse show, Old Salem Charity shows, along with numerous other nationally ranked competitions including AQHYA Worlds. She is a local CHJA, USHJA, & USEF active member and currently serving a 3rd term on the Colorado Hunter Jumper Association Board.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS:
In 2019 Sarah received the CHJA Betty Weber Sustained Contribution Award for her dedication to her local horse show organization, and in 2020 is the recipient of the Keiri Kaneps Professional Hunter Rider of the Year award.
CHECK OUT THE BRANDS SARAH REPRESENTS:
Sales Representative & Sponsored Rider for Ece Equestrian:
www.EceEquestrianco.com to order your new technical show shirts and semi custom show coats!
Sponsored Professional for Stable Secretary:
Want to make your barn management easier? This simple app for your computer and hand device makes keeping track of each horse's health easy as a click.
Ambassador for social media site, The Hacked Horse:
A website for all things in the know of Colorado Horse 411. www.TheHackedHorse.com
Ambassador for Horse Cookies, Horse D'oeurvres:
RADIO SHOW: Sarah has aired three times now on Ocala's Radio show, Horses In the Morning on Horse Radio Network: listen here to two podcasts: Horses In The Morning Radio
Sarah believes in being an intimate "barn family". Individual attention is one of Sarah's greatest strengths and because a smaller group helps ensure consistency, you won't get lost in the crowd at Watson Equestrian. Majority of lessons are privates and the rare group consists of no more than 3 riders.
Watson Equestrian offers a strong sense of horsemanship and skilled riding in and out of the show rings.
We attend CHJA local rated shows as well as USEF rated shows.
"Sarah Watson/Watson Equestrian is the consummate professional. She has a deep knowledge of how to bring the best out in horse and riders. She is a talented trainer and gives her horses complete confidence, thereby enabling them to perform at their best."
-Madeleine Austin, owner Imajica Farm in Williston VT, UVM IHSA winning coach, and top USA Dutch Warmblood breeder www.imajica.net
"Both of my parents were professionals in the hunter/jumper industry for decades and my grandfather the Devon Horse Show official veterinarian for many many years. As a result, I know this industry well and have very high standards when it comes to the care and training of my horses. I have known Sarah Watson for many years now. Over those years she has remained exactly the same: honest and genuine; incredibly gentle with all the horses she trains; understands that each horse is a unique individual that needs its own specific program that best suits that horse's needs; not only a beautiful rider, but softly effective; and most of all has an unparalleled love for her horses and riders. There are very few trainers in this county I would ever leave my horses with or allow him/her to ride and Sarah is one if them! I trust her implicitly and very highly recommend her!"
"Sarah Watson is a fantastic instructor: she is very patient, gives challenging lessons, and most importantly, always sets her riders up for positive experiences. I can't say enough about her, she instilled great confidence in me as an adult beginning to compete at age 39."
"I have known Sarah for about 13 years now. I trained under her as a junior and she helped me accomplish so much in and out of the riding world. She taught me many basics of being a good rider, good horseman, and caring person. Sarah was a great influence on not only my riding abilities but a great role model on my personal life. She is genuine and kind as well as knowledgable about her job. I am grateful for the years I got to ride with Sarah and for everything she taught me." - Emma Thomas , Head Trainer @ Country Lane Farm Greenwhich CT
"Getting the opportunity to work and ride with Sarah has been an absolute blessing. She is not only a beautiful and soft rider, but is a wonderful and knowledgeable teacher for students of all levels. I've watched her teach lessons to kids just learning to trot, all the way up to students who are competing at the rated shows and she caters to the needs of each rider individually. She truly cares about every horse in her program, and provides amazing care and training programs to keep them in shape and prepared for whatever is ahead of them. I trust Sarah implicitly, she is one of the most honest and genuine people that I've been lucky enough to encounter in the horse industry. In the short time I was lucky enough to be taking lessons with Sarah, my riding abilities increased exponentially. Sarah is a role model for her students, and I would highly recommend her for anyone searching for a riding program!!!"
"Sarah Watson is one of the most caring and hard-working people I know! She was a positive influence on my junior equestrian career as well as in life growing up. She takes the time to ensure riders are on well-suited mounts, professionally turned out, and in the frame of mind for success. She is a wonderful and understanding trainer who deeply cares about the success of each student as an individual. Whether you are trying to earn blues at AA shows or just enjoy time spent on horse back, she is a well-rounded trainer capable of improving all levels of riding. On top of all this, she is sweet and funny as hell! Loved every moment I got to spend with Sarah on the East Coast"
"...What comes to mind when thinking about Sarah are her positivitiy, her friendship, her loyalty, and her patience. She carries these traits in her not only in her personal relationships, but also in her relationship with horses"
"...Sarah's keen eye for what a horse and rider need, her patience and beliefs in foundation, and her true horsemanship shine through on each and every horse she sends into the ring. There is not a horse she cannot ride, and each horse she throws a leg over is better after her ride."
"...Sarah is the most honest trainer out there. She is very in tune with the horses, and only wants the best for them. If the horses don't feel their best, she doesn't push them. This in turn means the horses trust her and truly give her their best efforts".
Colorado Hunter Jumper Association YEAR END AWARD RECIPIENTS FOR a Limited 2020 show season:
*Sorrento & Sarah Watson Champion CHJA 3' Open Hunter
*Marvin Luttges Adult Amateur Sportsmanship Award- Julia Aronson
*Keiri Kaneps Professional Hunter Rider of the Year- Sarah Watson
Champion CHJA Adult Medal (3'3)- Brianna Hammerman
Reserve Champion Dorothy Roberts Medal - Kimber Dempsey
5th place Ruth Ayres Adult Medal- Brianna Hammerman
Available For Lease or Sale
Watson Equestrian offers quality horses and ponies for lease or purchase. If we don't have what you are looking for, Sarah has years of contacts, nation and worldwide, to help you find the horse or pony that best suits your personal needs and skills. If you're looking to sell, Sarah offers a great program for keeping your horse in training while reaching the marketplace to find your horse his/her next home.
"When you do something too much, too long, it's called drilling. That's not a good word with horses. If it's not perfect, it's ok. We have tomorrow, we have next week. Don't be excessive with the horse" -George Morris
2021 Show & CLinic Schedule *Tentative*
8th & 9th Meridian Jump Into Summer @ CHP (Parker, CO) *CHJA Rated
20th-23rd LEG Colorado Spring Classic @ CHP (Parker, CO) *A Rated
27th-30th LEG Colorado Spring Final @ CHP (Parker, CO) * A Rated
16th-20th LEG Summer In The Rockies II @ CHP (Parker, CO) *A Rated
23rd-27th LEG Summer In The Rockies III @ CHP (Parker, CO) * A Rated
22nd-25th Copper Penny I @ Estes Park *CHJA Rated
28th-8/1 Copper Penny II @ Estes Park *CHJA Rated
12th-15th CEP Colorado August Classic @ Denver Polo Club *A Rated
19th-22nd CEP Colorado August Classic II @ Denver Polo Club *A Rated
28th & 29th Meridian Summer's End @ CHP (Parker, CO) *CHJA Rated
8th-12th LEG Autumn In The Rockies I @ CHP (Parker, CO ) *A Rated
15th-19th LEG Autumn In The Rockies II @ CHP (Parker, CO) *A Rated
26th & 27th CHJA Classic Finale @ TBD *CHJA Rated
2nd & 3rd Wild Ranch Fall Challenge @ CHP (Parker, CO) *CHJA Rated
1st - 3rd NMHJA Fall Festival @ HIPICO (Santa Fe, CO)