California Riding Magazine • January, 2009

Moving and Shaking
Trainer Sally Black finds new home at
Discovery Valley Equestrian Center.

Anyone who rides on the Greater San Diego Hunter Jumper Association (GSDHJA) circuit would be hard pressed to imagine it without founding member and trainer Sally Black. After all, Sally has been riding and training in San Diego County for over 30 years and is very active in the horse community. A native of Oceanside, Sally and her late husband, Trig, owned and managed Blackland Farms in Bonita for years. Recently, Sally and her successful training program made another big move.

“I’d like to thank the Garner family for all the wonderful years we had at North Coast Equestrian Park,” says Sally. “It was just time for a change, and I am very excited about the wonderful facilities at Discovery Valley. They have been very well thought out.”

The recently expanded Discovery Valley Equestrian Center in San Marcos is set on 24 rolling acres and has access to miles of trails. In addition to a 24-stall barn with attached runs, construction just finished on a new mare motel with 24’ x 24’ stalls that are divided by six-foot runs. Horses never feel crowded. Sally is especially excited about the new rings. There will be six riding rings, two of which double as turns-outs, and a dressage court.

The extra space gives Sally’s students plenty of room to develop their relationships with their horses and to continue to work on their riding abilities. “Safety is our number one priority,” says Sally. “Everyone was very supportive of the move and the kids are all back working very hard. And we do work hard, but we try to have fun as well. I think it is very important to have strong basics and for riders to learn how to ride in synch with their horses. Of course, all my students want to jump. But I ask them: If there are 100 steps in a course and only eight of those steps are jumps, what is more important? You can’t jump well if you’re not balanced on the flat.”

Sally’s formal education began in England at the Porlock Vale Riding School and her lesson program is based on George Morris’s hunt seat equitation. It’s no surprise that her students are constantly in the ribbons in hunter, jumper and equitation classes throughout San Diego County. At the 2008 GSDHJA Championship Show in Del Mar, Oct. 28-Nov. 2, Sally’s students took home top honors in several classes.

A Ribbon For Every Rider

Every student Sally took to the show came home with ribbons and Sally couldn’t be more pleased with their performance. Melanie Stoops won her Maiden Equitation Over Fences class on California Dreamin and earned a third in Novice Over Fences. Her barn mate, Devin Lasek, was champion of the Walk-Trot division aboard And Justice For All. Taking home blues in both Walk Trot Pleasure and Walk Trot Under Saddle, Laura Kakehashi also won the Green Rider Hunter Classic 13-17 on Amaretto. And Hanna Beyer was reserve champion in Green Rider 13-17.

Sally is currently a GSDHJA board member and has invested many hours in improving the sport through volunteer posts over the years.
With the 2008 season and their big move over everyone is turning their attention to the future. “I know all my students are going back to the show ring next year. We’ll be doing fewer shows this year, but we will definitely be out there. We are also very excited about getting out on the trails. It will be the first time many of my students and horses have had the opportunity to go on the trails. That will help them continue to improve, and should make all the horses very happy. And that is what riding should be about: it’s all about the horses.”

For more information on Sally Black call 760-419-8788 or e-mail