California Riding Magazine • November, 2014

Jewel of Twin Oaks Valley
Serene setting and first class amenities support top-notch dressage training.

Nestled in the serene Twin Oaks Valley in San Diego County's San Marcos, Fox Run Farm is a boutique dressage training center. With only 13 available stalls, Fox Run caters to dressage enthusiasts who want the very best for their horses. Airfoot in the dressage court and the huge outdoor arena is dragged and watered daily; horses have individualized feeding programs; and all get daily turnout in the beautiful grass pastures. Fox Run owner and trainer Donna Richardson is a firm believer that "horses need time just to be horses."

A USEF S judge and Pan American gold medal winner, Donna has trained her horses to 13 CDS Horse of the Year championships and 21 USDF national championships at levels from Training to Grand Prix. She is even more proud of the success of her students. They have brought home a gold medal from the NAYRC and won the CDS Amateur Futurity, USDF Amateur Grand Prix championship, RAAC First and Second Level championships, and many San Diego Chapter year-end awards. In the last year, two of her professional students have earned their USDF gold medals at Grand Prix and Grand Prix freestyle on one of Donna's former competition horses.

Photo ©Lynn Glazer

Although most of Donna's dressage horses have been Warmbloods, she has extensive experience with Lusitanos as well. "Iberian breeds excel in the very collected movements like piaffe, passage and pirouettes," she notes, "while the Warmbloods come with inherited ability for power and extension. However, you have to treat each horse as an individual. Just because a horse is a Lusitano doesn't mean it will piaffe at 4 any more than a talented Warmblood will produce a "10" scoring extended trot at the same age. You have to listen to what the horse is telling you it can do. Eventually, both Warmbloods and Iberian horses can make it to the top levels but their paths to get there may be different."

Donna currently has openings for a few more students to train with her at Fox Run Farm. She also does bi-monthly clinics in San Juan Capistrano. A new venture for her is to offer selected horses for lease. "Buying a competition horse can be incredibly expensive. Currently I have available for lease a horse that could win medals at the NAYRC. It costs much less for a parent to lease a horse for a year or two for their child to compete rather than buying a horse that will likely have to be sold when that child goes off to college. It is also an option for an amateur who wants a top class horse but doesn't have a top class budget."

While the focus at Fox Run remains on competition, Donna also welcomes those who just want to learn to be better partners with their horses. "Dressage is about training – to develop ourselves and our horses as athletes. If you want to show off the results of that training in competition, fine. But I am just as happy to help people become more balanced, be safer, and have fun with a horse that has learned to enjoy his job.

"Come out to the 'Jewel of Twin Oaks Valley' and experience the serenity for yourself," Donna encourages.

For more information, visit