Damaris Smyth has a Bachelors of Science in Equine Science, with a major in equitation, from the University of Limerick in Ireland and a FETAC Level 5 certificate in equine physiology and anatomy. She has a special interest in equine nutrition and bio-mechanics.
She lived in Ireland for almost 12 years where she studied and worked with horses. In addition to dressage, racing and showjumping, Damaris also has experience with the breeding side of the equine industry. She spent 8 months in Japan working for Darley, a global thoroughbred breeding facility.
Continuing education is very important to Damaris. She went to England in January of 2020 for an intense week of dressage training with Sara Gallop, an international Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer. Damaris also continues to take lessons several times a week.
Her professional experience includes: exercising race horses, grooming, facilitating therapeutic riding for the disabled, breaking, riding, training, developing horses and teaching.
While believing in the importance of classical equitation, Damaris also feels that horses are fun and often has an irreverent or playful approach to teaching a better understanding of the horse. This philosophy is evident in the adventures and activities she coordinates such as trail rides, beach trips, camping weekends and horseback soccer games.
Bernadine is an educator committed to education, and her philosophy has been shaped by a number of important teachers. Most especially, Deborah Spence (“R”) of Onalaska, WA has been enormously influential. Bernadine has also spent time in the Netherlands with international competitor Barbara Koot, and she has ridden extensively with the late master Jean-Claude Racinet (author of Total Horsemanship and several other authoritative manuals revered for their enduring wisdom on biomechanically sensitive, light, and compassionate training). Today, she clinics regularly with J. Ashton Moore, author of the USDF Learner Program and the USDF Judge’s Handbook. She has also ridden with notable figures in American dressage such as Lilo Fore and Anne Gribbons.
Riders in Bernadine’s program are equally appreciative of this thoughtful, holistic method. Lessons are full of exercises that are accessible to any rider. Whether preparing for competition or simply getting the most out of a trail ride, Bernadine’s students are, like her, full of smiles at the incredible joy of forming true partnerships with their horse.
Charaz is delighted to serve as Bernadine's east-side satellite training facility!!