Sarah Sanders Ride With Excellence By: Edmond P. DeRousse
My wife has been training with Sarah Sanders at The Riding Center in Freeburg, Illinois (located thirty miles east of St. Louis, Missouri) for over eight years. I watched my wife progress as a rider from someone who could stay on a horse well enough, to someone who rides with a great deal of confidence. She and her Arabian horse, Emirah, seem to effortlessly move from one maneuver to another.
Through Sarah’s guidance, I have also gone through a transformation as a rider. I once was one who struggled to stay on a horse. Today I have a four-legged adopted Arabian named Aztec. And now, like my wife, I ride with a great deal of confidence.
Sarah Sanders’ Ride With Excellence began as a dream over twenty years ago. As her riding skill and her love for horses developed, she began competing in a variety of competitions. Regardless whether she was competing in dressage, jumping and reining patterns, cattle handling and cutting, or endurance races, she was equally competitive in all and earned many blue ribbons. She is a past participant and completer of the prestigious 100 mile Tevis Cup endurance race.
Her love for horses inspired her to further her skills by working with Susan Baker and Janice Johnson-Wilson, both Monty Foreman certified instructors. What she learned from them she decided to pass on to others through her own program, Ride With Excellence.
Sarah says “I was always aware of what the horse’s actions were supposed to be and how I was to “sit” on the horse. I discovered that what we think we are doing on the horse and what is actually happening are not the same. Horses are perfect without the rider, saddle, bridle, and other equipment. We must remind ourselves of this each time we ride and/or handle a horse.”
Her Ride With Excellence program trains riders of all ages, sizes, and genders to ride well in many equestrian disciplines. RWE teaches riders who compete in Eventing, Show Jumping, Dressage, Barrel Racing, Ranch Horse, Reining, Cutting, and Endurance Racing. She utilizes a variety of horse breeds.
In her riding clinics, advanced students can expect to learn most of the 16 MOVE BASICS where the rider learns how to understand horse bio-mechanics. That understanding leads to how to “feel” the horse. It improves performance in the show ring and on the trails for riders in most English and Western disciplines. Ultimately it will “improve your ride tremendously and help you to, one day, dance with your horse.”
Sarah Sanders, a Monte Foreman certified trainer, is making a name for herself. Horace Greeley, known for the phrase “Go West, Young Man, Go West, was, in 1859, telling a young newspaper man to go West. He was referring to the discovery of gold in the hills outside of San Francisco a decade earlier. He could never have imagined a 35-year-old woman traveling the opposite direction to Saudi Arabia in 2018.
Sarah and her Ride With Excellence program were invited to travel East to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to help establish a new equestrian center. There were, of course, challenges. “When your students speak mainly Arabic”, Sarah says, “and you speak only English, you have to get creative in your teaching and training methods.” To help overcome the language barrier, Sarah used the “follow the leader” method. She rode with her students as they duplicated her movements. It was simple technique, but highly effective.
Saudi Arabia, Sarah says, has limited riding options. Most riding stables there teach Stadium jumping. The only other option for lessons is Endurance Racing. Her riding program, though, provides the Saudi people with a variety of riding styles and training.
One of the highlights of her experience in Saudi Arabia was giving demonstrations at several events in Jeddah. Appearing before as many as 4,000 people, Sarah demonstrated reining patterns and jumping. She even jumped through a fire ring.
Sarah exported her favorite Arabian, DB Mirath, to Saudi Arabia earlier in the year. One of her favorite memories from her experience in that country was a moonlight ride through the desert on DB Mirath. Sarah is proud to say that her 9-year-old Arabian, born and bred in Freeburg, Illinois, will spend the rest of his life in the land of his ancestors. He will be an integral part in the reshaping of equestrian life styles in Saudi Arabia.
That very same expertise Sarah took to Saudia Arabia is also shared at stables in Arkansas, Texas, and Canada.
It has been a pleasure learning from her and watching her dedication to her craft. Sarah’s enthusiasm is contagious.
If interested in hosting a clinic or would like more information, contact Ride With Excellence at: http://www.ridewithexcellence.com/