Kelley LaFond, Owner & Trainer
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Kelley began riding at the age of 11 and has enjoyed a lifetime love of horses spanning over 30 years. She has ridden as both a professional & highly successful amateur competitor on the A-circuit, winning several major equitation medal finals and year-end national awards. She holds a B.A. in English, as well as a CA State Teaching Credential and M.Ed in Education, and has 10 years of classroom teaching experience. With her additional 5 years in private practice providing advocacy and tutoring for students with learning differences coupled with thousands of hours in the saddle, Kelley brings a unique approach to her training of her horses and riders alike.
Kelley's training approach is based on traditional American hunter seat riding, with an emphasis on fostering beautiful equitation, excellent flatwork and correct, technical riding over fences. With her background in educaiton, the VL program is based on a structured curriculum that uses performance benchmarks, with riders mastering one group of skills before moving to the next level. Kelley works with each rider to define short and long-term goals, and then determine what skills are needed to reach them both in the immediate sense and longer term. Each year these goals are evaluated and refined as the riders progress-it's a great way to validate one's progress in the short term, yet remain patient while looking ahead at the future.
Kelley also had the unique opportunity to build VL's program after years in the classroom and a lifetime of working with students, especially adolescent girls. She sees the barn as a classroom, and a great place to help her riders learn more about how to navigate our busy and often stressful world in a thoughtful and mindful way though their time spent at the stables. The barn environment logicially then is carefully tended, promoting a space with positive, supportive behavior for everyone. All our riders are expected to be accountable, responsible, thorough and to work as a team, and everyone is encouraged to ask questions--the best way to learn.
Showing as an amateur from 2001-2009, some of Kelley's accomplishments in the show ring include:
-2009 PCHA “A” 36+ Equitation Reserve Champion, PCHA Region 2 Adult Equitation Champion, USEF Zone 10 Stirrup Cup Adult Equitation Champion, NorCal 36 & over Equitation Year-End Champion
-2008 Winner NorCal Adult Medal Finals (3’6) Fourth in Hudson & Company Jr/Am Finals, Third in PCHA Victor Hugo Vidal Medal Finals, Top 10 CPHA 3’6 Adult Finals
-2005 NorCal Champion & PCHA Reserve Champion AA Hunters Divisions 18-35
-2004 Top Ten NorCal Adult Medal Finals, Top Ten CPHA Adult Medal Finals (both 3’6)
-2002 Winner Carousel Medal Finals & Adult Equitation Year End Champion
2001-Carousel Horse Shows Year-End Adult Equitation & AA Hunter Champion