Corrinne Spaulding, M.A. Humane Education, B.A. Biology, A.A.S. Equine Science & Business Management
My equestrian career began in 1995. I was a typical horse-crazy kid and I had already read every horse book in the library. I was desperate for some hands on learning and I was fortunate enough to find a local ranch who offered trail rides to the public. At just ten years old, I went out in the pasture to catch horses, groom and saddle them, and take the general public, usually beginner riders, on trail rides through the woods. Growing up, my grandmother lived next door to a woman who owned a horse. I frequently snuck into the pasture and spent hours grooming her Standardbred stallion, eventually getting brave enough to lead him around and climb on him bareback.
A year later, I was able to take my very first formal lessons with Suzi Filinger at Springwood Stables in Lafayette, NY. (Now Trillium Stables) A year after that, I found a dressage barn where I took lessons and rode in a weekly quadrille practice. My mother bought my first horse when I was twelve and from then on, I spent my time working in horse barns in exchange for board and lessons. Learning the barter system helped me to meet and develop relationships with many different types of people with a variety of skills. I lived in the barn during those years and soaked up every shred of knowledge that I could. In 2000, my mother purchased my second horse, an OTTB gelding, and I became a member of Cazenovia Pony Club. I taught younger riders in the Pony Club, rode several different horses, participated in mock hunts and hunter paces with my TB, and continued to work nonstop in the barn. I regularly took dressage lessons from USDF silver medalist, Milissa Extrom during this time. in addition to taking lessons with Milissa, I also had the opportunity to groom for her at horse shows.
In 2003-2006, while I was attending Morrisville State College for Equine Science and Business Management, I worked at a local dressage farm where I boarded and took lessons. While working there, I was able to ride in several clinics and dressage camps with visiting Grand Prix clinicians. I also worked with the barn owner, Ann Fowler, the head intercollegiate dressage coach at Cazenovia College. From 2006-2008, I worked on a horse farm as a riding instructor and trainer. My job was to start green horses and get them ready for sale at Edgecort Farm in Cortland, NY. During my time there, I started over twenty Quarter Horses and developed a lesson program and summer camp. I also assisted with a therapeutic riding program for disabled riders.
In 2007, I graduated from Morrisville State College with my Equine Science degree. I spent four years at Morrisville. During my time there, I received a hands on education and rode on the intercollegiate huntseat team. I was exposed to a wide range of riding and training styles, lectures, and professors. Upon graduation, I had acquired a vastly diverse education. In Lisa Eklund’s class, I remember reading the book “Zen and Horseback Riding” by Tom Nagel, a book focused on the use of breathing and the psoas muscle in horseback riding. This is a favorite text in the circle of Centered Riding instructors I would later learn. In my dressage lectures, I recall examining the work of the classical dressage masters, the timing of the aids, and equine biomechanics in riding.
After Morrisville, I attended Lemoyne College for my Biology/preveterinary degree. Meanwhile, I held the position of working student for local Grand Prix dressage trainer and USDF Fourth Level instructor, Crystal Gaskell. She really sparked my interest in holistic approaches and I learned more from her than anyone thus far. She was an original thinker and always searched for answers outside the box. She scheduled regular visits with equine massage therapists, chiropractors, and saddle fitters. She was interested in the whole health of the horse and how it affected her dressage riding and training. She hosted several clinics with Olympic level riders including George Williams and Gina Smith that I was able to audit and ride in during this time. In 2012, I started working my way up the Centered Riding certification ladder. I have attended countless clinics, lessons and courses with the top teachers in the organization, adding tools to my tool box. I have attended many UDSF educational series including audit the L program twice. I have scribed at schooling and rated dressage shows. In 2017 -2018, I took weekly lessons with Grand Prix rider Michelle Labarre of Labarre Dressage at Voltra Farm and had a horse in training with her during this time. Michelle is the most dedicated dressage trainer I have ever met. Her work ethic is unrivaled and she served as a large source of inspiration for me. Her attention to every detail, knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics, compassion for her horses and imaginative teaching approaches is what sets her far, far apart in the dressage world. I learned much more than riding, I learned a new standard in which to aspire to. This woman will forever be one of my biggest idols and role models.
Currently, I work with a small of talented group of coaches : Tanya Bevilacqua (event rider and Alexander Teacher), Suzi Filinger (hunter/jumper trainer and owner at Trillium Stables, Janet Youse (USDF certified instructor and bronze and silver medalist), and Michael Mazur (Alexander Teacher) among my Centered Riding mentors. It is my goal to make them available regularly for clinics for my students as well.
I have spent the better part of a decade as an essential employee as a Medical Laboratory Scientist in Syracuse area hospitals. This career has helped me to support my horse habit and gain the education I wanted for myself in the horse world. As I transition from laboratory life to a full-time equestrian career, I am excited to start working on my personal goals of competing in dressage.
Brief history of The Holistic Horse and Rider:
I began to get certified in practices that would give me the tools to help the horse and rider team. In 2012, I drove across the country to Montana to study Traditional Chinese Medicine Massage, Equine Sports Massage, and acupressure. I earned my Level II Centered Riding certification and have since attended several updates and continuing education. I am a dedicated student of the Alexander Technique, a modality that teaches riders how to develop correct movement patterns and a correct ‘use of self.’ Sally Swift was inspired by the Alexander Technique during her creation of Centered Riding. I began my AmSAT Alexander Technique Teacher Training course in 2018, to be completed in 2022. Click here to learn more about the Alexander Technique and how I use it in dressage.
Collectively, all of these things I have learned are tools I use toward the goal of a holistic approach. Developing a training routine with the physical, emotional and mental well-being of my horses and students in mind is my passion. Within each field I am certified in, are an endless number of ways to address the horse and rider team. As you read through my website, you will see how each practice serves to train the unit as a whole, how it can be applied to any horse and to any rider regardless of the discipline, and how I can help you to develop better position, feel, and timing of your aids, resulting in a better partnership with your horse.