Posts tagged #professional trainer

In the Spotlight: Niki Clarke, FEI Dressage Rider

Sterling Essentials Niki Clarke Dressage Unlimited IMG_5387.JPG

Meet Niki Clarke!

Member of Team Sterling Essentials and acclaimed FEI dressage rider!

Discipline: Grand Prix Dressage, USDF USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals (with an amazing past in Eventing, too!)

Home Base: Dressage Unlimited - located at Peridot Equestrian, San Marcos, CA

When did you start riding, and was it love at first sight?

It was definitely love at first sight, horses were my first word! I really started riding and taking lessons when I was 8, but I was born on a cattle ranch.

It always looks like you bring a lot of fun to your training sessions. What’s your motto or philosophy for how you work with your horses?

I always think its really important to keep the training fresh and incorporate play, so I use different techniques like the giant ball and cavalettis to help the horses use their bodies in different ways while having fun.

Photo Credit Sheryl Ross

Photo Credit Sheryl Ross

Which horse in the barn do you think has the most quirky personality or goofy habits?

Scoobi (Coral Reef ScoobiDooh) is the quirkiest because he is particular in who handles him and how he is handled. When anyone new approaches him he snorts at them. He has to approve his people before they can be in his inner circle and for him to trust them. He won't even take sugar cubes from anyone that he doesn't trust!

What are the best and worst things about the dressage world?

The best thing about the dressage world is watching great partnerships build between horses and riders and what can be done when a horse and rider believe in each other.

The worst part would be the constant criticism which tends to shift the focus more towards the negatives rather than the positives.

Photo Credit US Equestrian

Photo Credit US Equestrian

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Is there anything you still want to accomplish?

My greatest accomplishment is my son Colton, but in terms of horses the work that I have done with Coral Reef ScoobiDooh. Yes, I still have much more that I want to accomplish including being on the US team. That's one thing I love about this sport is that each horse brings new challenges and new goals and a new opportunity to learn.

Do you have any other hobbies?

My other hobbies are spending time with my family and anything that involves adrenaline rushes.

What is your favorite Sterling Essentials fragrance?

Eucalyptus and Floral Citrus.

Keep up with all of Niki’s latest happenings by following at:

Niki Clarke is sponsored by Sterling Essentials.

In the Spotlight: Noelle Roberts, Grand Prix Show Jumping Rider

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Meet Noelle Roberts, member of Team Sterling Essentials, and show jumping mover and shaker!

  • Discipline: Grand Prix Show Jumping Rider + National Champion Arabian Sport Horse Circuit

  • Home Base: Delacreme Equestrian located at Galway Downs - Temecula, CA

When did you start riding, and was it love at first sight?

It was so long ago, but I would say I never looked back. I’ve never been able to imagine my life without it, and I’ve given up a lot for it. I was actually supposed to play Division 1 Soccer in college, but I knew I couldn’t do both, so I quit soccer.

What do you enjoy the most about being a professional rider and trainer?

I LOVE teaching. Whether it’s the horses or the humans, I love when they have that “aha” moment and get it. That’s what drives me to show up every day.

In addition to your participation in the USHJA shows, you also show on the Arabian Circuit. What are the similarities and differences in how you work with your Arabians and your Warmbloods?

I would say the biggest difference is the Arabians are super smart and sensitive, so you have to be really thoughtful with them. You have to think about how you’re teaching them and what you’re trying to get out of them. I personally love that about them because once you teach them something once, they just get it. But it’s also what drives people away from them because they can learn the wrong thing just as quick. Recently Lane Clarke came to clinic, and with most of the horses we focused on one, maybe two significant things in our lessons. But with the Arabians, I was able to pick up 10 new things to focus on because they caught on so quickly.

Sterling Essentials Noelle Roberts 28577210_10101369424968491_2369096774993313792_o.jpg

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Is there anything you still want to accomplish?

Oh man, that’s a hard one. I don’t like to measure in Ribbons or Results. I’m super competitive and I love winning, don’t get me wrong. But my measure for myself has always been on my horsemanship. I measure in how I’m respected by my peers, my students, and my horses. So I guess my greatest achievement is having a successful 20 plus horse training business that travels nationally to compete. That’s more than I ever imagined when I started down this road 10 years ago. I don’t think I’ll ever feel finished though. That’s what drives me every day. My business/horsemanship philosophy is just to do my best to be better every day, and you’ll end up farther than you ever thought. I’m always looking to further my education, whether it’s by taking lessons, talking with my peers, listening to my students and horses, or pushing my business with new marketing techniques.

Which horse in the barn do you think has the most quirky personality or goofy habits?

Oh Val for Sure! D. Valiant JF is the horse I did in the smaller Grand Prix’s, and he’s a funny horse. He’s got tons of personality. His stall is right in front, and he’s always begging for attention. On the ground he’s a goof. He’ll follow you around like a dog, and when you’re hand walking him around he’ll walk behind you and push you with his muzzle the whole time if you let him. He is overly sensitive to bugs, so in the summer if you’re walking around on loose rein he’ll toss his head in annoyance, but as soon as you gather up the reins and go to work, he’s all business. He’s very confident and stoic, but goofy all at the same time.

Do you have any other hobbies?

I wish I had time for hobbies! When I’m not working, I’m with my family. My husband is my best friend and we have a 3 year old daughter who has more personality and energy than either of us know what to do with. She’s amazing and keeps us on our toes. We love Disneyland and have season passes, so we spend our down days there in the afternoons, or we just hang out at home. Family is important to me, so I really try to find balance between competing, training, and spending time with them.

What is your favorite Sterling Essentials fragrance?

Eucalyptus because it’s light and fresh. I actually use it to clean the leather in my truck, and it works as double duty. Cleans and is an air freshener.

Sterling Essentials Noelle Roberts Eucalyptus Leather Conditioner

Keep up with all of Noelle’s latest happenings by following at:

Noelle Roberts is sponsored by Sterling Essentials.