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Your Dressage Connection to Europe in Northern California

 "The accomplishments of my Students are a credit to them, their dedication and personal ambition.  It has been my sincere honor to be selected by them to take them through the levels.   The students represented on this page have not only been successful in their classes but have shown the perseverance to achieve either Bronze, Silver and/or Gold medals in this most demanding of sports." 

Student Medals

 Teree Castanias - Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist   

Alexis Martin-Vegue - Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist 

Mary Naten - Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist 

Laura Blanton - Bronze and Silver  medalist
Robyn Flaharty - Bronze and Silver medalist
Kelly Jean Collins - Bronze and Silver medalist
Kimberly A. Frederick - Bronze and Silver medalist  

 Mahala Burns - Bronze medalist
Megan Soske - Bronze medalist   

Fox Village

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STUDENT TESTIMONIALS

Jodi Nunnari

 Sandy is a gifted trainer that in my experience has that rare ability to greatly advance and improve both the rider and the horse in a fun and safe manner to yield a harmonious partnership.  She also recognizes and advocates that in order to advance in training, the horse must be in the very best shape and frame of mind.  To accomplish this, Sandy has put together a "dream team", which includes a top-notch groom, a fabulous vet, farrier, and amazing specialists in massage and body-work.  Sandy actively coordinates and manages the efforts of this team so that your horse is pain-free and fit to train, which is apparent by the absolute willingness of my horse to move both forward and softly under saddle.

Riding with Sandy is a pleasure.  She is a confident and calm instructor and as my trainer she is genuinely dedicated to my success.  My riding has steadily improved under her care and I know that the best is still yet to come.  I recently had the pleasure of horse hunting with Sandy.  In this area, she once again showed her knowledge and maturity by helping me choose a perfect partner, who is an absolute pleasure to ride.  In short, Sandy makes it possible to succeed in dressage.

Renee M. Marengo

 When my horse, Magnum and I first came to Sandy for training we did so with virtually no dressage experience.  Although I had previously ridden hunter/jumper for many years, and my horse had gone to the top of his equine discipline (FEI level combined driving), neither one of us had any dressage riding experience.  Needless to say, the pair of us were quite the challenge. However, Sandy never blinked an eye and took us right in.  She has virtually had to retrain me and my 19 year old horse, who previously was rarely even ridden. He truly is a different horse now and I have learned so much.  My friends and family cannot believe the progress we have made and neither can I!  My experience with Sandy has been and continues to be the most rewarding riding experience I have ever had.

She not only is a beautiful rider, she is an awesome trainer.  She is very patient with both the horse and the rider, never pushing too hard, but at the same time making you do the things she knows you can, even if you don’t think so.  The best part is that she can verbalize what she wants you to do in such a way that it is easy to understand.  I have seen first hand how Sandy can completely turn around horses and riders, and I strongly urge anyone who is looking for a great trainer and a great training experience to ride with Sandy Savage.

L. Blanton, Cottonwood Farm Dressage

 I met Sandy Savage in late 2003 when I was a “hopeless beginner” dressage student.  I had struggled at Training and 1st Level for nearly 13 years before meeting Sandy.   Although I was taking regular lessons and competing I was not advancing beyond the lowest levels.  The following year after weekly lessons, I qualified for the CDS and USDF championships for the first time at 2nd Level! I was so impressed with our progress, I put my horse in full training with her for 3 months to see if she could improve his regularity and collection.  Sandy not only improved his gaits, balance, and strength but she had introduced the flying changes!  That year I earned my USDF bronze medal at 3rd level!  I began taking lessons twice a week with Sandy and after a total of only 2 ½ years of training with her, I competed in the USDF championships at Prix St. Georges, and earned my USDF silver medal.

Sandy has not only helped me achieved my dreams and goals, but has helped me develop the skills and confidence needed to become a professional rider and trainer . She has the unusual gift of being able to train both horses and riders equally well.  She has started 2 young horses for me, including my current Oldenburg show horse that I am now competing with at the FEI levels. In only 10 years, I have gone from a struggling beginner rider, to an advanced rider and trainer.  As I continue to work with Sandy each week, I know I will eventually earn my USDF gold medal at the Grand Prix level.

As a long term student of Sandy’s I would highly recommend her to anyone who wants to gain a solid background in classical dressage riding, and a competitive edge in the dressage show ring.  Her most important qualities are that she is a patient, understanding, yet disciplined instructor who can help both horses and riders advance in a safe and caring environment.

Mahala Burns

I had been struggling with learning dressage for years when I finally found Sandy.   I was impressed with her elegant, effortless riding and started taking lessons.   Sandy is one of those rare trainers that is not only a fabulous natural rider, but also has the ability to communicate the elements of dressage in an understandable way to both horse and rider.  Sandy’s instruction has allowed me to lay down a good dressage foundation and progress up the levels.  Before Sandy, we bumbled around at Training Level for five years with no hope of progressing.  Now we have our bronze medal and have our sights set on Fourth Level! She also found me a great horse, and convinced me that he was the right one (he is). I think we’re very lucky to have a trainer of Sandy’s quality in our area.  I’m a huge Savage fan!

Robyn Flaharty

 Having moved from Southern California to the Sierra Foothills in 2007, I selected Sandy as my new dressage trainer and relocated my FEI mare, Whitney into her barn in Wilton, CA.  Thus began a five year journey that would develop into a great friendship as well as working relationship that has resulted in reaching my life long riding goals of earning both my Bronze and Silver medals.  I currently have two horses in full training with Sandy and have enjoyed watching and learning as she has successfully brought my seven year old Dutch gelding, Anaro from Training to Third Level.  Our goals for the future include earning scores toward my Gold Medal with Whitney and continuing through the levels with Anaro to Grand Prix.  Anyone searching for a trainer that can ride and teach equally as well would be in excellent hands with Sandy.


Teree Castanias

 I have worked with Sandy for the better part of 10 years.  I first met her when she came to try a horse that I had for sale.  She rode him beautifully, and clearly had a lot of knowledge.  I started taking regular lessons with a new horse that I had who had a lot of training, and I wanted to show at the FEI level, hopefully going to Grand Prix.  We started at 3rd level, and over the next 7 years went to Grand Prix. Without Sandy’s guidance, coaching, and system for both me and my horse, we would never have gotten there.  That Gold Medal is worth its weight in gold!  Over the years, Sandy has also started, trained and shown several other horses of mine.  She did a great job with the youngsters, giving them a good start, great basics and a foundation to be successful in their lives.  On one of them, she won CDS 1st level Horse of the Year.  I could not have been prouder of them!

Michele Ng

I have had my horse for 12 years and my horse and I progressed to second level in the first 9 years.  Since we started full training with Sandy, I not only earned my bronze medal scores, I am schooling fourth level and my horse is schooling PSG.  More importantly, my horse has stayed sound and I have gained confidence as well as proficiency as a rider.