Two-Legged Instructors

Meet the Instructors

Robyn Smith, RN – Instructor and Chief Safety Director

From “Fearless” to “Teachable”
I have been involved with horses for over 50 years. As a teenager and into my early 20’s I rode primarily QH/TB and Appaloosa crosses, competing in rodeo games, high-speed relays, and bareback barrel racing. This training developed the extreme balance needed to compete in such challenging sports I would be involved in later. My highly competitive “no fear” nature led me to sports such as Endurance and Competitive Trail.  
After owning multiple horses over the years, mostly rescues, I encountered two particular horses that led me to the wonderful world of Natural Horsemanship.  I now view the Parelli NH system as the most comprehensive way of communicating and “being” with horses. As a result, I have learned through the Parelli Principles how to appreciate and respect horses as who they are (their horsanality) not what I expected them to be (performance).  The most important lesson I have learned:
“I was not “fixing” horses, I was helping horses “fix” me & other humans!”  
I have spent the last 30 years on a transformative journey.  From “competitive, performance-driven to a balanced, more appreciative human. Now I help others find the most amazing partnership where horses and humans compete cooperatively, on the ground and riding, and in jobs they both enjoy.

Maggie Miller – Partnership Instructor & General Manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyra Freedom – Instructor 

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I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to horses. They’ve been a part of my earliest memories before I even saw one in person! I started learning to ride at 5 years old.  Funny enough, these days, I love helping people of all ages navigate the same fascination I’ve always had to learn about these cool creatures.
I never thought I’d end up a teacher, but today I find myself intrigued by the individuality of people and the wide range of different ways they learn. I enjoy learning how to better teach people as unique individuals.
Like people, I find horses each have unique personalities and learning styles. As such, I’ve found a special interest in training horses. The ability to communicate with these over-one-thousand-pound animals blows my mind every day.
I was a wandering equestrian in search of a job. I had no idea that I’d end up at a wonderful place like ELS. It’s a great feeling to be part of such an amazing team of people in such a community-oriented, positive learning and working environment. I find that following my passion never lets me down.

Miharu Yamauchi – Instructor

Being a kid in the city, I took the first chance I could, as a grown-up, to get out to a barn and meet some horses! Learning to ride as an adult helped me realize that successful horsemanship requires attention placed not only on the body, but also on the heart and mind.
My background in education ignited a passion to teach this connection with horses to others and I am delighted to explore topics of balance, confidence, and leadership with my students! I look forward to working with you or your special kiddo.
Besides hanging out with horses I also love to sing, eat doughnuts, and go on walks with my cat!

Cory Amundsen – Pony Partner Club and Camp Director

I grew up in California and attended Moorpark College majoring in Early Childhood Education and Art.  Horses have always been my passion. My Aunt Sue’s horse, Cimmaron, started it all.  Since four years old, I have ridden Western and English.
Lessons have opened the door to Hunter Jumping, Eventing, Stadium Jumping and English Equitation.  Over the years, many horses have taught me. 
In February 2017 I found ELS and obtained my dream job combining kids and horses! I’ve learned so much about natural horsemanship at ELS, especially coming from a traditional riding world.  I still have so much to learn and I can’t wait! I am especially looking forward to new adventures and lessons with my equine partner, Sansa.
We are currently learning mounted archery!

Emily Rendahl – Instructor

Much like all my fellow instructors and students, I have always been drawn to horses for as long as I can remember but I didn’t have the opportunity to take riding lessons until after I graduated from Washington State University and was fortunate to find Equine Life Solutions. Robyn welcomed me to the herd first as a weekly riding lesson student, but when that wasn’t enough for me I started to volunteer one or two days a week at the barn. That quickly turned into me taking riding lessons several times per week, and piqued my interest into natural horsemanship and developing a relationship/partnership with horses beyond an hour riding lesson. About 6 months after I joined the ELS riding program I met my heart horse, Roxie – I spent the next two and a half years learning how to be the leader, partner, and rider that she needed me to be and in November of 2014 we adopted each other. Around this time, Robyn approached me about interning to become a riding instructor and arena assistant. I jumped at the opportunity to continue to learn more about horses through the eyes of my students, who were learning as riders and developing their own fledgling partnerships with horses. I have developed youth and adult riders, working closely with Robyn and our other instructors to build a foundation of balanced, centered riding that allows our students to transition into any discipline of horsemanship that they’re interested in pursuing.

Sharon Strang – Instructor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emma Abraham – Instructor