Sandy Savage DRESSAGE

Team Savage

Your Dressage Connection to Europe in Northern California

Sandy Savage
Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist

Sandy is certified by the Swedish National Riding School in Strömsholm in an extensive three year program and spent a year in full training with Olympic gold medalist Gabriella Grillo in Germany.  She has cliniced with notable trainers including Steffen Peters, Volker Bromman, Arthur Kottas, Conrad Schumacher, Anders Lindgren, Heike Kemmer, Mette Rozencrantz, and she continues to ride regularly for Volker Bromman.  

Sandy began riding at the age of eight in the Los Angeles area with Swedish trainer Lilian Van Dahn.   Sandy's love for horses led her to become an instructor at the Traditional Equitation School which was owned by her trainer Lilian and her partner Pat Kinnaman located at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

In 1988, Sandy was invited to train at Strömsholm, the Swedish National Riding School, where Bo Tibblin was the head instructor.   Sandy and and her Swedish Warbmlood, Montag, studied two years in the advanced course.  The training was strictly focused on riding with no theory.   Sandy rode six horses a day doing everything including breaking young horses, jumping, cross country, long lining, driving a carriage, and of course, dressage.

Sandy returned to the Los Angeles area in 1991 with Montag and showed him at the Prix St. Georges level.   Later that year, she  took her horse Montag to Germany to train with Gabriella Grillo for eight months and stayed until the Spring of 1992 when half of the U.S. Olympic short listed riders trained there.   Notable Olympic team members training with Gabriella included Carol Lavell, Michael Poulin, Charlotte Bredahl and Hilda Gurney, as well as German Olympic medalist Nicole Upphoff who stabled her horses permanently at Gabriella’s during the period Sandy visited.  Sandy was privileged to ride one of Gabriella’s Grand Prix horses during her stay, and Sandy returned twice more, to continue her training with Gabriella.  In 1993, Sandy returned to school at Strömsholm to complete the theoretical part of her training having become fluent in speaking, reading, and writing the Swedish language.   The theoretical training included technique for teaching riding, running a riding school, anatomy, feeding, training, finances, and other required skills.   At that time she was training with Eva-Karin Oscarsson.  Sandy taught various levels of dressage and jumping at a riding school in Sweden for a year before starting her own training business.   She continued to show Montag up to the Intermediare level while schooling all the movements of Grand Prix and training her second horse, Watteau, to the Prix St. Georges level.   Both horses consistently placed at each show.

In July of 1999, Sandy sold Watteau, then age 7, and returned to Los Angeles.  When asked whom Sandy felt had the greatest influence on her teaching and riding skills and to describe her teaching philosophy, Sandy had this to say:

“I feel that Gabriella Grillo has had the greatest influence on my riding and teaching.  She taught me that every horse has a talent, you just have to find the way to bring it out.  Gabriella is extremely thorough, and would leave no stone unturned in her quest for excellence.  Our lessons were long, sometimes 2 hours, but not hard.  She interspersed riding with long and vivid explanations of what she meant.  She was always compassionate to each horse and extremely detail oriented with regards to rider position. I like to do the same, but I realize that 2 hour lessons are not very practical.  I feel I am also very thorough in my teaching.  I believe that you need to have a good position and a correct understanding of the aids to ride your horse in the proper frame.  If you can do that, then the movements come easily.  I take nothing for granted and assume nothing when it comes to evaluating what my new students know.  You may ask me anything you like, and there are no stupid questions.  I am not the type of trainer to just come and run you through a bunch of movements and give my critique. That is what the judges are for.  My goal is to really teach my students to ride and to get along better with their horses through better understanding.”

Sandy Savage
Linda Lauper DVM,CVA,CTP, CHP 

I grew up in Wisconsin on a dairy farm, the daughter of Swiss immigrants.  My father trained hunter- jumpers and driving horses with his  Swiss cavalry background. I had a high school summer job in Switzerland as an exercise rider on the racetrack in Zurich and after high school, I continued to work summers at the racetrack in Minnesota as a groom and vet assistant, winters as an exercise rider. In vet school, I managed most of the horses in the research programs and trimmed horses feet to pay the rent.  I was the research assistant in the motion analysis lab at the University of Minnesota vet school.  After vet school, I was fortunate to be able to work a very memorable 2 1/2 yrs at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical center in Los Olivos.  Those short years there really molded much of my professional career.  I traveled north to the area I am in now, where I thoroughly enjoy the people and the wonderful quality of horses we have in Northern California.  I worked as an associate in Los Caballos equine practice for eleven years before I ventured on my own specializing in sport horse care.  I’ve been incorporating traditional Chinese medicine into the sport horse practice for over 15 yrs.  I am certified in acupuncture, herbal therapy and body work through theUniversity of Beijing China through a satellite school in Florida called The Chi Institute.  Dr Shen Xie is my mentor and a 6th generation TCVM practitioner of world reknown.  I am on staff at The Chi Institute where I teach other veterinarians wetlabs on equine acupuncture. The focus of my practice is preventative sports medicine.  

My practice offers advanced diagnostics such as digital radiography, digital ultrasound, advanced treatments such as shock wave, IRAP II, A-cell, stem cell, therapeutic ultrasound boots, acupuncture, chiropractics, herbal therapy, homeopathics, essential oil therapy and power dentistry for the sport horse.   I work in conjunction with many lay equine therapists, farriers and rehab centers believing that the team approach is the only successful approach for horses.

Contact information:  209-759-0051  / email:    

Linda Lauper
Kendra King - Performance horse therapy

A Step Ahead Performance Horse Therapy was established in 1999 by Kendra King. Using non-invasive methods, we help horses perform to the best of their ability and maintain soundness throughout their show career.  I have had the privilege to have interned with some very exceptional individuals who have also worked with the best of the best in the field of equine therapy.  My repertoire includes a combination I have developed over time of MyoFascial Release, Acupreassure, Massage, Stretching, and some indispensable equipment such as my LED lights and Essential Oils.  I combine and alternate techniques depending upon the need to help with body soreness or leg and joint injuries.  Each treatment is customized to the indifidual horse and requests of the owner.   I am also able to provide rehabilitation of injuries and assist with chronic pain and soreness to aid in healing and recovery.  For local patients I am also able to offer short term "spa treatments" and lonber term rehabs of injuries.

My association with veterinarians, equine chiropractors, farriers, trainers, and owners of all breeds and disciplines, allows us to complement each other and achieve a more productive and longer lasting performance career.  My specialties include addressing underlying issues that may not cause lameness but still limit a horse's performance.  My services can very upon the owner's requests and the horse's needs.  Each horse is an individual case and I treat it as such.

  There are three people in particular who have taken me under their wing, so to speak, in my quest to learn. They are Judy Gillum, Jack McGugan and Dr. Linda Lauper.  Our association with veterinarians, equine chiropractors, farriers, trainers and owners of all breeds and disciplines, allows us to complement each other and achieve a more productive and longer lasting performance career.

Step Ahead Performance Horse Therapy 

Kendra King     
Detlef Kreher - Lazer Therapist

We are pleased to offer Laser Therapy with Detlef Kreher. Detlef is at our barn each week to treat horses and provides us with useful feedback as to how the horses are tolerating their work program. He can be reached at and also by phone at (530) 632-6217. Laser Therapy works by doing the following:

1.  Increases circulation by encouraging the formation of new capillaries to replace damaged ones. New capillaries will speed up the healing process by carrying more oxygen and nutrients needed for healing while carrying waste products away (damaged muscle cells and lactic acid).
2.  Stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen is the essential protein used to repair damaged tissue and to replace old tissue. It is the substance that holds cells together and has a high degree of elasticity. By increasing collagen production less scar tissue is formed at the damaged site.
3.  Helps to release adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the major carrier of energy to all cells. Increases in ATP allow cells to accept nutrients and get rid of waste products faster by increasing the energy level in the cell. ATP also provides the chemical energy, i.e. food, that drives the chemical reaction of the cell.
4.  Increases lymphatic system activity. Edema, which is the swelling or natural splinting process of the body, can be evacuated at a much faster rate with Laser Therapy to help relieve swelling.
5.  Induces a thermal like effect in the tissue.
6.  Stimulates tissue granulation and connective tissue projections, which are part of the healing process of wounds, ulcers or inflamed tissue.
7.  Stimulate acetylcholine release. Acetylcholine causes cardiac inhibition, vasodilation, gastrointestinal peristalsis and other parasympathetic effects.

contact information:    (530) 632-6217

Detlef Kreher
Gabe Griffin - Farrier

 In late 1984 at the age of 11 years old, I began taking lessons at Barbara Worth Stables where my mother was the assistant trainer.  In order to pay for my lessons, I was a working student in the riding school.  Evenings, weekends and school breaks were spent grooming, clipping, doctoring and getting horses and students ready for lessons. 
By the summer of 1985 I was exercising horses and started showing in children’s jumpers.  Two years later I had moved up to the junior jumpers and started catch riding horses in the lower open divisions.  In 1988 I had taken a part time job exercising harness horses on the racetrack, where I had learned about equine fitness.  In 1988 I had ridden two horses in the zone 10 region 2, year-end awards (City Lights and Snappy Count).  In 1989 I ended up reserve champion on Snappy count in the junior division and started competing in the upper open divisions.  1990 brought the same results.   In 1991 I began working for my mother as assistant trainer.  In 1992 I ventured out on my own and set up shop at Brookside Equestrian Park.  There I started a riding school and trained and showed hunters and jumpers.  In 1997 I went to work for Silverhorne Sporthorse as head trainer and manager.  There I was managing the training, sales, breeding, and showing of horses for Silverhorne.  By 1999 I had horses showing in upper level hunters and also horses competing Grand Prix in the jumper ring.  

The year 2003 brought the birth of my daughter.  Not wanting to be on the road as much, I packed up and moved to Arkansas where I started Griffin Equine Enterprises.  There I got on the board of directors for NWAHJA (Northwest Arkansas Hunter Jumper Association).  I continued training, took a seat as vice-president on the board, designed the courses, managed shows and started shoeing on an amateur level.  By 2007 I had developed half day shows into two day shows.  I turned the jumper division from two closed classes to five filled classes.  In 2004 twenty horses were attending shows.  By 2007 seventy horses were attending shows.   In 2007 I was grounded with broken ribs after a riding accident.  After I recovered I attended Shurshod horseshoeing school in Missouri where I graduated top of my class and began shoeing professionally.  Due to the fact that Arkansas was especially hard hit by the failing economy I returned home to Sacramento in 2009.  Since then I have remained grounded (with one exception) and focused only on shoeing.  I feel that my background training performance horses helps me to better understand the needs of my clients and their desire to get the most out of their equine partners.

contact information:  916-397-6271

Gabe Griffin
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