This is a new section we've added and are in the process of updating. Please enjoy some of our clients' stories and check back for more soon!
My farrier recommended I contact Kay after months of me trying to get my horse to load on the trailer. I had tried every technique I had learned and knew we were at the threshold of making progress but were just stuck. I contacted Kay and within minutes knew we were going to get there. Her calm, quiet approach put my horse and me immediately at ease as she refreshed with both of us the basics of respect and control. Within five lessons, my horse was walking on the trailer, even with the divider up, enabling me to take him to lessons on my own! Kay's positive attitude and natural horsemanship techniques make every moment with her a pleasure. I now am using what I've learned on a new horse and it's all working beautifully. I wish I had called her a year ago and saved all these months of angst. She's given me skills I will be able to use over and over again. Thank you, Kay!
- Purcellville, VA, Dressage Rider
Solving Spookiness & Building Jumping Confidence
My horse Petit Bleu Marine was always fairly spooky and his fear of liverpools became very apparent as we moved up the levels in three day eventing. We often had refusals and runouts during the show jumping phase and, once we began competing at the intermediate level, I decided to contact Kay. Kay introduced him to the basics of groundwork and, within a few months, had him comfortably not only jumping but walking over tarps and liverpools. Since then Petit has become a lot braver and his entire personality has changed to a happier, more outgoing horse. He has now begun competing at the advanced level and the show jumping phase has become a lot less stressful for both of us. I would recommend Kay to anyone struggling with a problematic horse.
- Francesca Broginni, 3*** Eventer
Nabu's Story - From Reactive Young Horse To Dependable Partner
I have my confidence back. My frightened, insecure rescue Arabian has a new lease on life. We owe this successful outcome to Kay Pfaff’s training and teaching methods. After a bad decade with an off track thoroughbred who was disastrous mentally and physically, and then a try with and a “free” older warmblood with all kinds of training issues and was physically way too big for me, I started to think of the riding I used to love with a new sense of dread. It had become all work no fun and I didn’t seem to make progress even after seeking professional help. Around the same time I saw Nabu’s picture at a horse rescue website. A year went by before I actually went to look at him because I was not going to get another untrained problem animal I didn’t have the time or skill to deal with. But as it goes I finally succumbed to the face and the story, although now had the good sense to not even stop at my house. I took him straight to Kay. It was worse than I thought, he was basically feral, and I thought that first day, ”OMG what have I done.”
Not even 9 months later he is home and has gone to horse shows, horse trials and organized trail rides, rides alone and in company, has great ground manners, doesn’t mind leaving a field full of companions, is curious and confident and loves human and horse friends alike. A complete transformation. Kay's patient and foundational ground work approach at the beginning set the cornerstone for later building blocks that progressed at a pace Nabu and I could both handle. As far as lessons for a 50 + weekend warrior, she is equally talented, taking the time to explain to the anxious, over committed, overachiever adult rider why things work or why you need to do things a certain way-- and when one explanation doesn’t work comes up with another way to put it until you understand and can put words into action. Her thoughtful communication makes her the perfect instructor for the adult rider, but she has an equally great connection with children. She is interested in what you want to do and learn. I can’t say enough good things about my experience with Cool Breeze Equine. I urge you to give it a try.
- Laurie K. Allen, Endurance Rider
Foundation Building in Young Horses
I took my 3 1/2 year old WB filly, Ella, to Kay last fall to be started and backed - as well introduced to everything from bathing to trailering to trail riding and hacking out. I had done preparatory groundwork with her myself from the time she was a foal, but Kay "took it up a notch" by first working with Ella on the ground to get her more responsive, respectful, and tuned in, then patiently desensitizing her in the round pen (and the field) to objects, obstacles, and spooky stuff - as well as the saddle - and being mounted and ridden. Kay works very systematically, and is firm, fair, skillful and kind - she is thorough and patient and has a good grasp of the young horse brain and how they process things - this enables her to provide a solid foundation of trust, giving the horse the best chance to understand how to "make the right decisions." Kay introduced my formerly "water phobic" filly to being bathed - a miracle!, and taught her how to stand patiently tied to the trailer, load and unload and take short field trips - where she introduced her to small cross country on a long line. Ella learned how to be ponied on Kay's wonderful older gelding, and while being ponied, learned how to cross roads, ford streams, hack through woods and be brave about new and scary things on the trail; an invaluable experience for a young horse! Kay's methodical approach enabled Ella to learn new things and accept the training process in a low-pressure way, yet with enough appropriate firmness to help "shape" and "guide" her brain in a positive direction; she became both braver and more cooperative as a result of her time with Kay, gained maturity, and became more calmly accepting of new experiences. I highly recommend Kay and her training methods for anyone with a young horse; she really knows her stuff, and ANY horse would benefit from her knowledgeable and skillful handling and her step by step approach to training. I plan take Ella back to Kay for further training and more work under saddle, and am eagerly looking forward to continuing our "journey" with her competent help.
- Lee Digangi, Eventer
Strong Foundations for Horses and Riders
In my three years as a working student for Kay I learned many things that have greatly benefited me and my horse. These included the fundamentals such as learning an effective warm-up, properly wrapping a leg, and trail riding safety as well as the very challenging tasks such as starting young horses, retraining problem horses, and effectively reacting to their behavior. Kay gives every horse and rider a strong foundation upon which to build confidence, skill, and trust.
- Brittany George, Former Working Student
Improving Relationships Between Horses and Riders
I feel really good about having my horses with you. Especially after actually being able to ride them with your expert instruction. In my case my picture is of how much I have shortchanged my horses (and myself) in my overall approach of: 1. tack up, 2. go ride, 3. put them away, 4. go off and do something else. You are awakening me to one of the main reasons I got into horses in the first place: the relationship with these amazing and sweet beings. Now I am awakened to "that's just not good enough." I want you to know I really appreciate you and what you do and how you do it.
- Adult Rider, USEA Area II
Patient, Kind, Knowledgeable, and Professional
I met Kay through a friend when I was in dire need of a place for my mare to be boarded until she could move closer to home. It ended up being a complete blessing!! Upon meeting Kay, I knew immediately that she was patient, kind, knowledgable, and professional. Kay’s facility is catered to meet the needs of all the horses whether stall or field boarded, young or old, sport or trail. The welfare of the horse is of utmost importance to Kay so horses enjoy amazing turn out, daily checks, top notch grain, and hay. I wisely took advantage of my time with Kay and went into to training with her. Within two weeks, my mare became a more relaxed, forward thinking, responsive, and happy horse! Part of that was due to that fact that Kay reintroduced my mare to trail riding. Now, my mare truly enjoys her time exploring out on the trails and it has made a huge difference in her dressage training. Kay also helped me step out of my comfort zone and although I’m still learning to “love” trail riding, I am able to walk my mare in large fields and on paths independently.
In the arena, Kay’s teaching and training methods are second to none. She is patient, thorough in explanation, encouraging, and makes you and your horse feel completely relaxed so you can learn!! Kay’s understanding of the dressage training pyramid is definitely a key focus of her training and teachings, but Kay also seeks to help you understand your horse’s perspective. She helps you consider how your body effects the horse’s ability to perform and in some cases not perform. My lessons with Kay were completely enjoyable because I could actually feel progression in my riding (and my mare was happy too)!
Kay is no doubt a phenomenal horse woman, but she is also just a genuinely kind, caring, and compassionate person. I truly loved my time at Cool Breeze Equine and I highly recommend Kay for the training and care of your horse.
- Lucretia Larimore, Adult Amateur Dressage Rider
Back in the Saddle!
As an adult returning to horseback riding after 40+ years, I could not be happier with the experiences I am having as a student at Cool Breeze Equine. Although riding feels nothing like it did when I was a kid, the barn atmosphere, CBE instructors & staff, my fellow students, and horses at Cool Breeze are reminiscent of my youth where I spent every weekend and summer at the barn doing all things “horses”.
Coach Kay is not only a highly skilled rider and horsewoman, but a knowledgeable instructor who has been instrumental in helping me find my confidence and seat again, teaching me new skills and challenging my riding abilities at each lesson. More importantly she imparts to all her students, young and old, that horsemanship is not just about riding, but also about building a bond with the horse and understanding their perspective. The old adage “you’re never too old to learn” definitely applies at CBE. I learn something new every week about horses, whether it's during my riding lesson or horsemanship class, a definite bonus feature to the riding program.
Overall, I highly recommend CBE's Riding Academy to anyone looking to get back into horseback riding, or anyone who wants to learn how to ride for the first time regardless of age. The combination of knowledgeable instructors, great school horses, and an ideal setting (e.g., sunsets on horseback) in the "country" are hard to beat. I'm grateful for the opportunity to ride at CBE and look forward to many more rides in the future, it is definitely great to be back in the saddle.
- Jennifer Fulmer, Adult CBE Riding Academy Student