California Riding Magazine • April, 2009

Laviano Dressage
Bethany Nehse Trains at
Cayetano Ridge Equestrian Center.

by Kathleen Burke Jensen

Beth Nehse started riding hunter/jumpers and eventing when she was just 5 years old and by the age of 11 she was already so passionate about dressage that she switched to that discipline full time. A lifetime of riding led naturally to a career in training a few years ago and she’s since developed a successful business as a trainer at Cayetano Ridge Equestrian Center in the East Bay Area’s Livermore.

Many of Beth’s early horses had issues and she credits those challenges for making her a better rider. Hunter was a Dutch Warmblood who had gait issues that taught her the importance of correct gaits and how to improve impure gaits. Zeke, a Morgan/Quarter Horse, was distrustful and defensive and he helped her become a patient and soft rider.

Beth Nehse and Laviano (aka Vinni).

Even her first fancy horse was difficult and he taught her why a good foundation is key at all levels. For example, he would hold tension in his back and neck. But by being able to ask for suppleness and relaxation, Beth finally worked through the tension and eventually they were scoring sevens and eights in the canter pirouettes; a level of collection she didn’t dare dream was possible when they first began their journey together.

Beth started showing in 1995 and began attending Junior Championships in 1997. She won the Championship in 2002 and 2004. She competed successfully through her Young Rider years up to Prix St. Georges. She’s earned both her bronze and silver USDF medals. In 2003 she and her horse Laviano, for whom she named her business, were ranked second in the nation at Third Level. Beth has also had numerous CDS and USDF Regional championship wins.
Having recently retired her horse Laviano, Beth is currently catching rides and developing horses for her clients. “Vinni had a 68.5% at his last Prix St. Georges test and won the last Championship class he was in so it seemed like a good time to retire him to full time schoolmaster,” Beth explains.

Laura Nehse and Hoodini showing Second Level.

Before she officially began training clients, Beth worked with her sister Laura. She successfully coached Laura and her Appendix Quarter Horse to second place in the Northern California Junior Championships. Beth is pretty proud of the fact that Laura earned mid-70s in Training and First Level on a Quarter Horse.

Beth’s training program features a fun, friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Her program is nearly full though there are a couple of spots available. Her clients are a mix of adult amateurs and junior riders and are a pretty even split between competitive riders with an active show schedule and people who just want to ride at home while continuing to improve.

Beth has been based at Cayetano Ridge Equestrian Center since it opened in 2004 and says that the horse’s care comes first. The owners live on site and provide 24-hour security. And just like her training program, the services at the barn are completely customizable.

Cassidy Kepp and Hyden after winning their class.

The group at Cayetano Ridge is close knit and band together to improve the facility. They recently put together fundraisers to add mirrors to the arena. As a way to keep the group united she and the other Cayetano Ridge trainers organize schooling shows and clinics for their clients. For example, they have a show clinic coming up where they’ll review how to bodyclip, bandage and prepare horses for a show. The gaited horses even rode in one of their dressage schooling shows recently.

“Our schooling shows are fun,” Beth says. “No one feels like they’re being stared at by strangers because we’re all friends here.”
In closing, Beth makes a special mention of Zeke, “a beloved teacher and friend,” who passed away in March at almost 25 years of age. “We will miss you dearly!”

For more information on Laviano Dressage contact Beth Nehse at 925-980-8016 or