Frequently Asked Questions

What are your qualifications? 

Lela has over 20 years of professional teaching and training experience. She has competed thru upper levels in the disciplines of: Dressage and Hunter/Jumper. She has also competed moderately in eventing, western pleasure, and trail challenges. Lela also has experience in fox hunting, gaming, western dressage, horsemanship/showmanship, open show and schooling show judging, and is currently pursuing further education in ranch/cattle work.

Lela has spent the last seven years studying the horsemanship of Buck Brannaman, Ray Hunt, and the Dorrance brothers. She has attended over 25 clinics as a participate or auditor with Buck. Additionally, she has been riding with other clinicians who are direct students of this horsemanship, as well as spending several weeks each year riding  in various immersive Horsemanship programs. 

Lela has training experience with all levels, ages, and breeds of horses- from quarter horses to thoroughbreds. She specifically enjoys working with restarts, as well as giving off the track TBs a chance at 2nd careers. 

Lela has been teaching all ages of riders for over 24 years. For several years, she had over 200 lesson students per week before moving into  the barn management arena. Her passion has always been teaching- both horse and riders, and she is excited to be expanding and continuing the last few years of instructing success she has found here in Des Moines!

What primary services do you offer?

 We are excited to announce we are now offering in-house training opportunities at our newly leased facility and at our home barn for 2024, as well as planning to offer a few re-sales this year to the public.

Other traditional services we offer include: local lessons and training sessions at your location (home, barn, local arena). We also offer coaching pre-show or day of. Day long mini clinics are available as well. 

We also offer some unique online services- such as virtual lessons and we hope to start a horsemanship blog later this spring! 

What do you specialize in?

We practice Horsemanship in the style of Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman. We combine these fundamentals with classical good riding techniques in the areas of hunters,  dressage, and equitation to provide for a well-rounded horse and rider. 

Lela is most excited to "bridge the gap" between horsemanship and traditional disciplines. 

Lela is comfortable teaching beginners to advanced level riders, both in ground work and ridden work.

Lela is passionate about helping owner's better understand challenges they face with their horses- such as trailer loading, catching, leading, and more complex topics.

Lela also has a strong passion for ground work and liberty training as it gives the most insight into communication from the horse's perspective.

She specializes in "restarts"- both horse and human, and personally works with retraining off-the track Thoroughbreds for 2nd careers. 

What are your hours for lessons?

On-site clientele can schedule lessons almost any day of the week. Off-site opportunities are typically available by appointment only, usually 2-3 times per month. Weekend lessons are also available when Lela is not attending clinics to further her education. 

Winter riding times vary according to location and weather. 

What are costs of lessons? 

Local Lessons/Training Sessions are: $60-70 per hour. 

Virtual Lessons are: $35 for 1/2 hour submission tape, with 30 minute virtual (Skype or Facetime) Lesson summary to follow. 

Are you insured? 

We are fully insured and can provide COI (certificate of insurance upon request by facilities). 

Why do you wear a helmet all the time if you ride western/are a professional?

Well, I grew up riding with a helmet when I schooled Hunters and I have seen them save lives over the years. I feel rather naked without it and would like to keep my brain safe for another 30 years or so. I do not judge riders who are adults and choose not to wear them, but I also ask not to be judged FOR wearing it. It does not make me an amateur or less of a rider- just a personal preference and a priority for me specifically. I also think that riding safety is an important area to for me to be a role model for youth and new riders who may be looking for this leadership. 

Best seat in the house.