Sarah and Vinterpol at their first CDI.
Sarah Lockman was pretty determined when she decided to step out on her own as a dressage trainer. "I decided that even if I had to work at McDonald's at night, that's what I wanted to do."
It's only been one year, but the threat of spending nightshifts in a golden arches uniform evaporated shortly after Sarah opened Sarah Lockman
Dressage at Shadow Ridge Equestrian Center in
San Bernardino County's Highland.
She went big in her first professional year by moving up to the CDI ranks with Vinterpol, the 11-year-old
Dutch Warmblood she's been training since the horse
was 4. At last fall's CDS/USDF Championships the pair
won Fourth Level CDS Champion, and placed third in the
USDF Fourth Level Championships class, including a
74% from one of the judges.
Sarah and Rothman Sporthorse's Dempsey schooling at home.
Sarah also rode one of her up and coming young horses, High Society RS owned by Lisabeth Rothman of Rothman Sporthorses. High Society RS took Reserve Champion by .4% in the CDS Four Year Old Futurity class, Reserve Champion in CDS Open Training Level Championship, and third place in the USDF Open Training level Championship Class.
Earlier this year, Sarah and Vinterpol debuted at Prix St. Georges and Intermediare 1, finishing third in the CDI at PSG and fourth in the CDI I1 class at the Mid-Winter Dressage Fair
in Burbank. The riders finishing ahead of her were Olympians
Steffen Peters and Jan Ebeling and, in I1, Brandi Roenick on
Steffen's Pan Am gold partner Weltino's Magic. "I was so excited
to be in that company on my first time into the big ring!" Sarah relays.
She is poised for continued success in her sophomore season as a pro and not just as a competitor herself. Her business is booming with adult and junior students, young horse starting and development and sales. She typically has between 20 and 25 horses in training, and cares for foals and mares that bring the average number of horses in her care to 40. She's become a go-to girl for several local sporthorse breeders. Sarah is close to opening a breeding endeavor with partner Rothman Sporthorses that will include the sale of breedings to select dressage and jumping stallions, including Scandic, Jazz and Ferro.
Sarah and Dante, owned by Anaka.
Things have actually gone so well that Sarah needed help, and she knew right where to turn in her sisters. Bridget, an accomplished
eventer is her assistant trainer and Angela, also a talented horsewoman, serves as barn manager. "It's hard to find
someone to work with you who cares as much about
the business as you do," Sarah says. "I have total
confidence in Bridget and Angela. We all do
things the same certain way."
That "certain way" can be described as
show-ring ready. Sales clients tell of their
horses being presented to prospective
buyers braided and spit-shined, making
a terrific impression even before Sarah
exhibits her gift for bringing out the best
in horses in any stage of development,
whether it's the first time or the
100th time she's ridden them.
Sarah has a wonderfully diverse equestrian background. The Lockman girls were raised in northern Nevada, where they immersed themselves in all things horses except the high price tags. There were neither ready-made mounts nor a trainer for the sisters. "We got horses off the track, broke and trained them up ourselves, then we sold them and used that money to show." She's grateful for that. "There's not many horses that I find too difficult to handle."
A US Pony Club B graduate, Sarah was an eventer with Intermediate credentials until 2004, when she moved to California to work for David Wilson's W Farms in Chino. She brought her eventing horse with her but the adrenaline rush of jumping gradually lost its pull as "dressage took my heart." The seeds of her conversion were actually planted before that. "My main coach growing up, Shelley Edwards, was the one who really turned my eye to dressage," Sarah explains. "I always knew there needed to be a strong focus in dressage in any discipline."
Sarah with her boyfriend, Mark
Cummings, getting ready to show.
The good fortune to continue working with excellent coaches has been a huge part of her success, Sarah notes. Shadow Ridge Equestrian Center's owner Kathy Pavlich is a much-decorated dressage trainer and competitor and has established regular clinics with rider Bert Rutten of Holland and judge and rider Judy Harvey of Great Britain. "I've been lucky to have such educated breeders and trainers every step of the way. Bert and Judy usually come once a month and they have really helped me make sure I am on the right track with Vinterpol and all my other horses."
How far she will go with Vinterpol is anybody's guess. "I've learned to take it one step at a time," she explains. He loves his work so far and Sarah is excited to be debuting his first freestyle performance at the Del Mar National. By 00 Seven and out of the Uniform mare, Muziek, Vinterpol was bred by DG Bar Ranch and is owned by Pamela Munson. He's a showman with gorgeous gaits and a head-turning presence.
A Peaceful Place
The Shadow Ridge facility itself is another contributor to Sarah's success. Guarded by the nearby San Bernardino Mountains, the property has every training amenity and that intangible asset of peacefulness for horses and riders. Grass pastures and turn-outs and stalls with runs provide plenty of outdoor time and the property's "lovely vibe" contributes to happy horses, Sarah reports.
Sarah and Rosie back in
the day in Nevada.
Helping local breeders develop and sell their youngsters is a fast-growing aspect of Sarah Lockman Dressage. Of the 13 horses Sarah sold in the last year, two were youngsters bred by Sally Ann Mass of Oak Hollow Stable in Redlands. Both had solid basic training, but were ridden to look like experienced dressage horses by Sarah, even on her first ride. Sally praises the trainer's personable nature and professional approach, adding that Sarah's ability to include jumping in some horses' training mix is a real and unusual plus in a dressage program.
As a 10-year-old, Sarah told her trainer, Suzi Quillen that she was going to become a trainer herself and an Olympian. With the one goal accomplished so swiftly and successfully, it
follows that fulfillment of the next proclamation
is not far off.
For more information on Sarah Lockman Dressage, visit www.sldressage.com or call 949-394-7068.