California Riding Magazine • February, 2013

Leah von Henkle: On The Move
von Henkle Equestrian settles in at Seabreeze Farms.

The New Year brought a big change for Leah von Henkle, along with a fantastic opportunity to solidify past resolutions to grow and better serve her clientele. As of January 1, the highly regarded San Diego hunter/jumper trainer moved her old base of operations to Seabreeze Farms Equestrian Center. When friend Annalee Bennett, owner of Bennridge Farm, asked Leah if she was interested in taking over her business, Leah was honored with the opportunity to carry on her legacy.

Leah's emphasis on quality training for hunters/jumpers and equitation horses remains the same in the now larger von Henkle Industries Inc. The transition has been fairly seamless, and all is running smoothly.   

With the help of assistant trainer Cambria Kissel, von Henkle Industries Inc. will be a force on both the A circuit and at county shows. The majority of the program's students are competition-oriented, and HITS Thermal, Showpark and the Oaks will comprise the barn's show itinerary this year, while the Indoors circuit is on the long-term agenda for many students. However, while there are ample opportunities for competition, there is no pressure to show for those with more relaxed ambitions for their riding.

Thanks to her many years of experience, Leah has a gift for placing the right combination of horse and rider together. "It is very rewarding to watch a good team develop and progress." Energetic, enthusiastic and positive, Leah works hard to develop a good rapport and clear communication with her riders. "One very important aspect of competition is helping riders remain calm, confident and focused under the toughest of circumstances." 

Lessons are conducted privately and in small groups, tailoring instruction to each rider's individual learning style and needs. Leah intends to hold clinics at Seabreeze as she believes instruction from other professionals and another point of view is pertinent in a rider's career.

Full-care is available, but it's important to Leah that all her students learn to provide basic care for their horses and to understand the connection between a horse's well-being and their performance and behavior. On non-show weekends, trail riding is usually on the agenda to help keep horse's minds fresh and relaxed.

Leah is enjoying being at Seabreeze Farms. The facility's manager, Margaret Bennett, does a terrific job in managing and taking care of the facility, she reports. "The vibe is happy and professional, the footing is fantastic and the facility is meticulously maintained." Leah also has high complements for Margaret's riding school, still under the heading of Bennridge Riding School, which regularly turns out solid, well-educated riders who are ready to progress to showing with a training barn. The Bennridge Riding School has been based at Seabreeze for 20 years.

The sales aspect of von Henkle Industries Inc. will continue to thrive at Seabreeze Farms. The beautiful facility sets an inviting stage for the sale of any horse. Along with her sale horses, Leah has a great selection of quality hunters /jumpers and equitation horses for lease for the up and coming show year.

Leah has been competing on the show circuit since the age of 5. As a young rider, she experienced many successes in the hunter and the big jumper arenas. She established her sales-oriented business in 1992 and has been a successful rider, trainer and competitor ever since.

Along with training horses, Leah is also an avid animal rights activist who serves as the equestrian liaison for Almost Home Animal Rescue (, which places hundreds of dogs with loving homes every year. 

For more information on von Henkle Industries, Inc. visit or call 760-310-3552.