Sandy Harper










*When did you first start riding Dressage, and what influenced you?

I started dabbling in dressage about 1983, but really became dedicated after seeing the 1984 Olympics in LA and Reiner Klimke and Ahlerich perform their one tempis!

*Did you buy a schoolmaster or are have you been training your horse from Intro/Training level on up?

I have trained my Grand Prix horse Rockette from training to Grand Prix, with the stellar help of Kathleen Raine. I owned one schoolmaster for about 6 years, David Wightman’s horse Garein. Garein and I did my first GP, but he preferred St George and I1. Garein is now retired out at Adventure Farms with David.

*What level are you currently riding at?

Grand Prix and will go back to Training Level and the 5 year old Young Horse classes with my 5 year old Ceolieta.

*How often do you ride and where?

I work full time, but try to ride everyday. With 2 horses to ride, it just doesn’t work out to take any days off! I have my two riding horses at a boarding stable in San Juan Capistrano, Sycamore Trails.

*Do you follow The Pyramid of Training?

I definitely try to!

*A typical day of training consists of what and for how long?

Lunge and ride my 5 year old probably only 30- 40 minutes of working her then walking around for another 15 minutes. Then ride my GP horse, actually fairly light riding, just keeping her supple, exercised and maybe working on one or two of the GP movements to improve. She loves to walk around the barn or go down to the creek!

*Who are you training with and why did you choose this Trainer/Instructor-what is it about him/her that stands out the most with you?

I have ridden with Kathleen Raine since about 1992. She is a superb competitor as well as instructor and helps me find the way to get the best out of my horses. She also has a great eye, helps my timing and feel, and may also have been my psychologist through the years, as she has helped me get me through some pretty traumatic life challenges.

*What is the most important training exercise that you have learned, that you have remembered the most and include in your daily riding?

no matter what, suppleness is most important. I am constantly trying to supple and give and I can’t really say I have perfected that as yet… However, once it a while it feels perfect!

*What level are you competing at now or do you lesson only?

I am competing at Grand Prix and hope do put together a GP Freestyle soon. I think Rockette and I could even pull off one handed tempis! I also hope to compete Ceolieta in the 5 YO Young Horse classes.

*What breed is your horse, and are you involved in breeding?

All my horses are KWPN-NA registered – Dutch Warmblood! I have a broodmare that has had 5 fabulous first premium foals. I traded 2 of these, 1 passed away, sold 2 and still have one. I have a coming 3 year old Fidertanz x Don Schufro filly, a yearling Idocus x Ferro filly, and 1/2 of a Bellisimo x Krack C filly. Plus my Ferro x Wagner broodmare. I keep my babies and broodmare up at DG Bar Ranch in Hanford, CA.

*Do you incorporate trail rides in your training?

I love to ride around the barn and down to the creek. Rockette does that with me and would love to go out further, but I guess I am a bit protective of her, she is my GP mare after all! I hope to get Ceolieta out there some day.

*What is your favorite Dressage show to go to?

My favorite show use to be the DG Bar Ranch show up in Hanford, CA – that show was always a party and it never even mattered how you scored, you just had fun! Also started all my Dutch horse purchases and breedings! Now my favorite show is the Holiday Show up at LAEC. I love to go there in December — the atmosphere is great and no pressure on getting the score cuz you have the whole rest of the year to improve!

* Have you performed a musical freestyle and/or would you like to do a musical freestyle to what music?

I have done many musical freestyles and love them! I had a Trakhener a while ago who just made you sing songs as you rode. I started freestyles with her at first level and went up from there. I’ve done Int1 freestyle with Rockette and Garein. They are very fun to create and perform — although they can go quickly awry if you get out of sync!

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