“I was born on the back of a horse.” ~ Leah Winston, quoting her mother.
When a child receives a riding helmet for her first birthday, it’s safe to say that those around
her can probably predict where she is headed.
Leah Winston’s dressage training started in the UK at her mother’s riding school, where she
soon developed a passion for eventing.
“I truly believe that growing up on Brook Farm Stables molded me into the person I am today,” Leah says. “I saw how hard my mother worked to keep the stable functioning, maintain the well-being of all the horses, and create an atmosphere of honesty and customer satisfaction.”
Leah moved to the U.S. and has now operated her own training business for 7 years, where her mission is to help others learn the art and beauty of dressage. Today she serves a wide range of clients at BrookView Dressage – from the trail rider needing help with how their horse moves to the serious competitor who wants to be tops in the show ring. Leah also works with young horses from the age of 2 on upwards, giving them the correct foundation for their dressage career. She can then train them up through the levels and into competition, depending on what it is their owners are seeking.
Leah’s love for horses and her passion to help others are her primary motivations. She sees her work as a pleasure, even though she puts in long, late hours. Leah highly values the relationships she has with the horses and finds joy in seeing them develop in personality as well as in athletic ability.
Leah describes her biggest challenge as never having enough time during the day. Yet, she also knows the importance of taking her time, never pushing ahead faster than either horse or rider can handle.
“When we rush, horses suffer, and that shows up in the results.”
Most equestrians have at least one outstanding horse at some point. For Leah, that special soul was Amintas, the Lusitano stallion she describes as “….a once in a lifetime equine love.” Their connection was so powerful that Leah felt there was nothing the horse wouldn’t do for her. She had high hopes that together they would reach the stars, but at the tender age of six, Amintas foundered in all four hooves due to a medication reaction and had to be put down.
“It was the hardest decision I ever made,” Leah says,” and the saddest day of my life.”
A year later, along came QuaterStern, sired by Quaterback in Germany out of the mare Sandro Fe. He had already been chosen as the top Oldenburg colt of 2013. When Leah first saw QuaterStern online, she felt an inexplicable spark inside. Her heart was clearly saying that her beloved Amintas had somehow sent this colt to her, even though owning him seemed completely out of reach.
“I knew I had to find a way to get him in my life,” Leah says. “He was well over my budget. He had been bred by Debra McMillan of Ridgefield Farms in Maine and I was in Florida, which made everything seem all the more impossible.”
Some horses are destined to be in our lives and QuaterStern is definitely one of those for Leah. At the age of 6 months, he was weaned from his mother, transported from Maine to Mass where he spent three short weeks training with a handler, and then went on to Devon PA for competition, which is where Leah met him. As Leah put it, “It was as though we had already met.”
With the help of several people, Leah was able to take QuaterStern, now known as Queue, home to reside at BrookView and enjoy his coltish life to the hilt.
“I plan on taking him to some in hand breed shows and he will be a breeding stallion a few years down the road,” Leah says, “I see a huge future for him and cannot wait to take that journey with him, hopefully into the international arena.”
There is no doubt that for QuaterStern and Leah Winston, the championships have already begun. They are definitely the pair to watch in 2014 and beyond.
Leah Winston is a well-rounded equestrian who gained much of her experience growing up on her mother’s farm in the UK. Now living in the US, she specializes in Dressage and preparing young horses for the FEI arena. Leah loves teaching the art of dressage, not only to accomplished dressage riders, but also to those just starting out and wanting to learn. Visit Leah and QuaterStern on Facebook at:
Carol Upton (604) 886-8951
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