ABOUT SHELLEY DAY
At the age of eight on Christmas Day I was surprised with a twenty year old Appaloosa; which my Dad was kind enough to find at an auction for me. I think when CocoPuffs first saw me he started laughing; he was the smartest old horse you ever met. He would step on my feet on purpose and run around the barn with me (I’m talking laps). Thinking back now, I was probably on the ground more than I was on his back! Through a lot of careful and correct help; I was able to develop a working relationship with CocoPuffs. It was amazing to me the trust and respect I had built with this wonderful creature. I knew from that point on this would be my life’s passion, to help others develop the bond between horse and rider.
In my teen years, my family circumstances changed. Since I lived in the city, the only way to continue working with horses was to live at the barn. Thanks to some kind barn owners who gave me the opportunity; I was willing and able to work. I would do anything and everything around the barn to continue riding. I became a permanent fixture at the local hunter farm and it was there that I met Joanne Williams. Not long after at the age of sixteen Joanne provided me with my first apprenticeship at her newly opened farm. While there I was involved with the day to day activities of running a farm. This included: starting young horses, retraining throughbreds off the track for resale, showing inexperienced hunters and teaching part time.
A few years into working for Joanne I took a lesson from an outside clinician, Robert Kiley. He said, “You are a pretty rider to look at, but not very effective.” As a teen this hurt my feelings, I didn’t fully understand what he meant at first. But after several lessons the light bulb went off in my head and I realized; if I changed my seat I could have more of an influence with soft subtle aids. The horses were much happier, it was as if they were saying “thank you” when I rode. It was from that point on I was hooked on dressage.
As time went on, I knew I wanted to continue teaching. As I began to go out on my own I was blessed to teach at the farms within the area, but I knew that to become the best instructor I could I would have to continue to educate myself. I spent the next several years training with George Williams Curtis Sage, and Ted Goed. Through these trainers my knowledge based was greatly expanded. I was taught how to take the training scale and break it down step by step. These steps provided me with solutions to many training issues that occurred.
In 2000 I had the opportunity to ride in a clinic with Kim and Yvonne Barteau. I could tell they were not just your typical trainer, but were fully devoted and passionate about the overall wellbeing of horse and rider. Kim and Yvonne have exceptional understanding of the equine mind. While training at their farm I have had many educational opportunities; clinicing with Gary Rockwell, Bo Jena, and most recently Cathy Morelli.
All of the years of hard work and education has brought my clients and I many successes in the show ring; which include local and USDF awards. A highlight of my career was achieving the USDF bronze and silver medals; as well as the bronze and silver freestyles bars. I would not have had the privilege of teaching and training without the past support of my mother Bonnie and the ongoing support of my husband Terry.