Whether they know it or not, students at Enriched Equestrian get a lot more than riding lessons. Danyelle McKee stepped out on her own as a hunter/jumper-oriented trainer with the intent of helping clients lead an enriched life, hence the Enriched Equestrian name. "To me, it's about making the quality of your whole life better," Danyelle explains. "It's about getting the most out of everything you do."
A horse crazy girl since toddlerhood, Danyelle made the natural choice of a professional life with horses. She has ridden and worked with horses, of all breeds and disciplines, throughout her life. The horsemanship skills she acquired helped pay her way to two degrees, in Hospitality Management and Agri-Business with an Equine Science emphasis, from Cal Poly Pomona. She was also a Broncos equestrian team member, though more often as tuner-up of the team's horses than a competitor due to her work schedule.
A Temecula native, Danyelle rode as a youth with Dianne Grod and started working for her when she was 13. Throughout college, she worked as an instructor and counselor for Green Acres Ranch, the Cal Poly Pomona Equestrian Center and the Foxfield Riding Academy. Internships with racetrack veterinarians complemented a self-directed equestrian education in which Danyelle sought out diverse experiences. Developing project horses and selling them was an unbeatable education unto itself and also paid much of her college tuition.
"My emphasis is hunter/jumpers, but I always wanted to be a diverse horsewoman," she explains. "I've taken classes in disciplines from reining to saddle seat and have worked with many breeds from Arabians to Hanoverians. I may not practice or teach everything that I've learned from different trainers, disciplines and breeds, but I have an understanding and I can pull from all of those experiences to make it my own." Cal Poly courses in equine genetics, farrier science and equine nutrition are among several other sources of her broad horsemanship knowledge.
A Positive Influence
In establishing Enriched Equestrian, Danyelle is determined to make the best possible use of her influence as a trainer. "I recall how much influence my trainers have had on me," she recalls. "It didn't dawn on me until I started teaching myself, but that is really a power that an instructor has." In addition to teaching responsible, safe, proper and effective horsemanship, Danyelle hopes to help her client families raise young people who are strong and confident in and well beyond the arena. "I want to insure that my barn is a place that is free of cattiness and drama so students can develop self esteem and confidence. It's important to me that my students have integrity. I want to have a program that reiterates how many things that apply at the barn or in the ring also apply in your life."
Danyelle considers herself to have an especially good niche with young riders. "It can be hard to teach children," she acknowledges. "You can't say 'close your hip angle,' or 'sit on your pelvis.' You have to be very creative." Her young business also attracts adults, many of whom compliment her ability to articulate concepts not clearly conveyed by other instructors.
Regardless of their age, the trainer is strict about when her students can progress. "They don't move forward until they are correct in what they are learning. It's a slower way to start, but it pays off in the long run when you start with the proper fundamentals."
She has a few pampered school horses to start students on their way to horse ownership. "I take very good care of my school horses because when they're happy and healthy they'll take good care of my students."
Danyelle welcomes riders of all levels and goals. She's happy to accommodate those who want to compete but there's no pressure to do so. "Shows are a great way to measure your progress, but they are expensive and I understand that they are not for everybody."
She's thrilled to be based at a breathtaking, one-of-a-kind, top-of-the-line facility in south Los Angeles County.
In her little spare time, Danyelle also makes use of her Hospitality Management skills through Enriched Events, a special events planning business she maintained throughout college. Master Sommelier is among her credentials in this field, and it may come in handy when it's time to celebrate hard-earned successes that seem sure to be in Danyelle's future.
For more information on Enriched Equestrian, visit www.EnrichedIndustries.com or call Danyelle McKee at 951-551-3988.