Danica Yates is the most connected, tuned in riding professional I have ever had the pleasure to work with. I began taking lessons with Danica over 3 years ago, and in that time she has brought my level of equine understanding to new heights. Danica has a way of helping riders identify their feelings of fear or insecurity or tension or stress and use the horse as a mirror to work through those emotions. I have watched her work with everyone from small children to seasoned riders and everyone of them came away not only a better rider but a happier person.
She has a strong character, is loved by all she meets, and is one of those seemingly few truly good people you meet in life.
Danica is a good person with integrity, honesty and compassion. She’s a rare find in the horse world
What I most appreciate about taking lesson with Danica is her ability to pinpoint exactly what needs to be corrected with me to bring about the desired result with my horse. As I started to ride with Danica, it was like magic.
Danica breaks it down like no other trainer ever had. It is simple, yet always effective. She communicates well, and also has a keen sense of building blocks for horse and rider. Her approach to each rider differs on the needs of horse and rider, but always goes back to the basic building blocks of good riding.
~ Jane Marsh
Danica covers new ground in each lesson and has expanded my knowledge of the true principles of Classical Dressage, and my confidence. Her ability to give clear and effective instruction has enabled me to improve my skills in a short period of time. Her no-nonsense, straightforward approach is both refreshing and can be easily understood by anyone. Her talent in matching rider and horse are extraordinary and guided me to my current mount. Best trainer on the West Coast. She can speak to the average amateur rider and teach you how to feel. Danica taught me how to communicate with my horse in a perfectly simple and easy manner. I wish I found her sooner!
~ Linda Poetsch
Danica has a magic about her with the horses. They listen to her and all love her. Danica’s supportive nature and gift for being in tune with animals makes her an exceptional trainer.
I have had the best lessons of my life with Danica. She makes me feel like I am a success as a rider and I learn new things and progress every ride. I feel elated at the end of my lessons and am high all week. Danica is a beautiful rider as well, she makes every horse she gets on look good.
Danica has been training my 10yr old Dutch gelding for 2 years and has taken him from an on the forehand training level horse to successfully showing and schooling changes, pirouettes and incredible extended trots. I always knew Beau has talent, I just need to find someone who would match his talent and know what to do with it.
I almost wish my horse could write this for me as I know what she would say “Thank God you found her,” Pualei adores Danica and I have seen tremendous strides in both of us in the time we have been working with Danica. I am now able to truly feel the difference and able to achieve round, soft gorgeous transitions. After 20 years of riding I have finally found a trainer that is easy to understand, has passion for the welfare of the horses she trains and rides and is dedicated to having the horse and rider learn the basics before moving on to the other “fun” things.
I think one of the best testaments is that when I came to Danica with my horse she was stiff, sore and had lost the beautiful movement she had as a 5 year old. Two years later my horse is happy, sound, and once again has found her beautiful gaits!!! I attribute this in large part to Danica’s training and am very grateful to her.
Under Danica’s care our Oldenburg stallion Corteo went from a horse that was unsound behind and sore in the back from previous training to a solid well functioning athlete, both mentally and physically.
The seemingly impossible challenge had been for Danica to get him ready for the ISR/Oldenburg inspections just 100 days away. When Danica first took Corteo into her care, his trot was so severely affected that he was developing the movement of a park horse and explosive canter departs.
There are no words to thank Danica enough for returning him to soundness. What she did for us can best be summed up using the words spoken by the handler who had been running the ISR inspections for over 20 years, “That score is unbelievable!” Yes, that score was unbelievable, especially considering the horse we delivered to her asking for a miracle. What can I say, she delivers!
~ Bonnie Martin
Danica is a gifted instructor. She has a way of guiding the student to make the needed changes without the usual stress. She makes learning fun. Danica has an arsenal of creative exercises to help the rider achieve their goals with their horse. She has a keen eye for what is needed to improve a horse's balance. And she is good at communicating this to the rider.
I came to Danica with my five-year-old mare after admitting that I needed some serious professional help to get my horse moving forward and through to start improving her gates for dressage. Danica is knowledgeable, talented, and her training is correct, correct,correct!
After only ten weeks with Danica my horse’s movement improved dramatically with enhanced suppleness and elasticity. Danica also helped me to improve my seat and position to be a more effective and quiet rider. In the past I don’t think I’d ever got scored higher than a “6” on rider position. After ten weeks with Danica, I got an “8” at our very next show! I use what I learned from Danica every day to become a better rider and to get the best from my horse. With help from Danica, I have no doubt that I can take my unconventional dressage mount, a Percheron/Arabian cross, all the way to Grand Prix!
~ Lee Stokes
Working with Danica has been one of the best experiences of my life. Danica is always bringing a positive attitude and a wealth of knowledge to the barn with her. One thing I love that Danica has done for me was getting me started in dressage. I have always been a jumper rider, but the benefits of learning both are totally apparent in my riding and with my horse! I always use to have a problem with doing too much on my way down to a fence. The other day, after three months of dressage, I jumped my horse and I found that I no longer needed to do so much! I finally understood what she was saying when she said “let the fence come to you.” It was so incredible to watch the way I ride change in such a short time! Danica really does work miracles; with horses, with riders, and just in general. Anyone is lucky to have her as their trainer!
~ Morgan Skeels
Danica possesses a rare combination of being highly professional and organized while being an exceptional, consistent and fair trainer. I am not a trainer but I know enough about horse training to know the importance of a good start and how expensive and difficult re-training a horse can be. I wanted my gelding started with good basics I really feel that I invested in my horse and that I have added value to him through her excellent training. My gelding was not an easy, natural athlete but because he got the right start with Danica he left his training a much more forward and athletic horse with a willing and happy attitude. He is now back at home and able to be ridden by both myself and my 12 year old daughter. We are so pleased that we want to continue his training as soon as Danica can fit him in! Thank you Danica!
One of the things I admire the most about Danica is that she learns and loves the personalities all of the training horses, they are not just ‘another one in the lineup.’ She clearly has a passion for the horses themselves as individuals. She has taught me to listen to the horses. Each ride you can have a rough agenda, but then you need to listen and train to what the horse needs that day.
Danica helped me become the rider I always wanted to be: light and effective with my aids, considerate to my horse, and balanced in the saddle. Better than anyone I've ever trained with before, she was able to help me both intuitively "feel" the concepts, while also understanding them intellectually.
At the core of her teaching approach, Danica teaches her students to ride in response to the horse. She helps students develop the necessary feel to read and respond to what the horse is communicating, rather than mechanically responding to the dictations of an instructor. Danica taught me how to achieve the results I did during lessons outside of lessons.
Perhaps most importantly, Danica helped me bring joy back into my riding. With my last instructor, I had hit a dead-end; feeling frustration and exhaustion. With Danica, from day one, I found myself able to relax my body and actually break a smile in the saddle again. Danica showed me that while riding is complex, it doesn't have to be complicated, and for that, I'll always thank her.
~ Zohar Friedman
Danica is a very talented instructor & trainer. She has a kind and patient way about her with both rider and horse. I have become a much better rider because of Danica. She has helped me fix my position which in turn effected the way my horses went. My horses are now more forward, supple, relaxed & happy. The horses really prove by their way of going how correct Danica teaches. I would recommend her to anyone from beginner to advanced riders. She has also found the perfect horse for me! When the time was right for me to get another horse, Danica matched us up perfectly!
~ Mary Ann Trout
I have been riding and taking lessons for 16 years, I have done eventing, show jumping and dressage. Over the years I have had many instructors teaching with just as many styles. Danica is the first instructor to be able to teach me in a clear and concise manner in which I haven't gotten frustrated or upset. Danica DOES NOT "teach" by riding the horse "through you", leaving you wondering how you got the results you just achieved. She is not only an amazing rider but also an amazing instructor. If you are thinking you need a new trainer you do, it's Danica Yates.
~ Philip M. Smith, CLS Farrier
It proved to be difficult to find a trainer with the right skill set and mentality to help develop my stallion’s potential; l I was thrilled to find Danica. She helped transform Kamiakin into a mature, confident, and promising young dressage prospect. Danica adapts her methods of training based on each horse’s own strengths and weaknesses. She has given him the gift of correct basics and provided exactly what he needs to excel.
~ Katie Hill
Danica Yates has been working with our American Drum Horse Stallion Apollo for almost a year. I must say it has been almost as fun for myself as it was for our horse. With just one lesson a week, Apollo steadly received mid to high sixtys scores. With each competition he got better. We have great hopes for him in the future. If you have an aspiring youngster, or athletic horse which you want to take to the fullest, you should call Danica and meet her. She will always be our only Dressage instructor.
~ Jim Elliott
I am a full time professional and am working on training a young mare. I had been putting money into other instruction for months being told, “counter bend her and keep going around” and nothing was happening. I came to Danica and she is teaching me classical techniques to communicate with my horse and my training has taken off. Danica’s instruction is clear and concise. She is talented and hardworking, a rare combination. I am always excited for my weekly session and hope to train with her for years to come.
~ Terraka Mishler
I've been riding with Danica for over a year. I appreciate her uncommon ability to focus upon both strengths and weaknesses in horse & rider, and very effectively communicate solutions to match individual human/equine personalities. She's kind, considerate, professional, funny--serious and bold about her profession, but also down-to-earth and sensitive. It all adds up to a really wonderful combination of knowledge, experience, personality and natural talent with horses that has helped me tremendously.
~ Viktoria La Paz
I have been riding classical dressage for many years but never seemed to be able to progress past Training Level. It seemed like a never ending struggle to get my mare forward, off my leg and achieve the connection needed to progress. When I met Danica, it was like a breath of fresh air! She immediately identified areas that needed to be addressed in our first lesson and provided me with clear, concise instructions on how to perform the various tasks and movements. She is able to clearly explain and demonstrate concepts from the ground as well as from the saddle. Because of this we have moved forward in our training more quickly than I could have imagined! Isabella and I are both enjoying our work once again and becoming the team that I always knew we could be.
Danica is an incredibly talented instructor and communicator. Her years of experience with Debbie McDonald, in Europe and at the FEI levels have given her the tools to be a premier instructor, trainer and rider. She combines positive feedback with humor and makes each lesson a fun, positive experience for me. I have learned more in the past 3 months from Danica than I have in the last 3 years! I highly recommend Danica as an instructor/trainer for all levels of dressage training. If you want to learn from the best, look no farther!
~ Connie Landstrom
Working with Danica has benefited my horse and my own riding tremendously. Her systematic approach and knowledge base have clarified many points for me. Before I started riding with Danica, I felt like I had hit a plateau with my riding, but now just after four months, I can see huge, positive changes in my horse’s throughness and gaits and I am excited to be moving up the training tree again. She has also helped refine my position in order to make me a more effective rider and partner with my horse. I highly recommend her as an instructor and trainer.
Danica is an amazing teacher who is able to convey riding concepts in a way that is easily understood. With patience for the rider and kindness for the horse, Danica greatly increased my knowledge of collection, suppleness, and lateral work. Another local trainer who I also worked with at the time, commented on the excellent and rapid improvements she saw in my horse’s balance and gaits due to the work I have begun with Danica.
Danica’s knowledge and background are exceptional, and I would highly recommend her as a trainer or instructor for anyone wishing to advance their riding or improve their horse.
~ Samantha Whitley
My wife, Gabriele, and I have been riding for many years and have had many horses. We have also had many instructors in various horse related disciplines.
Danica is very patient and always tries to explain things so that I can "get it." Where as many instructors think that if they only have to say it and it is your responsibility to understand, she takes the time and effort to explain it so that you can succeed. After all these years, I think I am finally starting to understand what inside leg to outside rein really means and I am finally starting to get light with my reins. We really need to use all of our aids independently and it has been an epiphany to have Danica helping me .
My wife says that I have made really good progress and that I don't just race around like a Bozo anymore. She said many of our friends can't believe how much I have improved.
~ John Oscarson
When I came to Danica I was at a major rode block in my riding, I wasn't progressing or digressing. In a few short lessons Danica was able to give me the keys to unlock the doors that had been holding me back. I have not progressed so fast in a few lessons in a such a long time and I have a renewed desire to keep pushing forward. I have been thoroughly impressed with Danica’s teaching because she is so positive and encouraging. She leaves you with the tools to be successful, enabling you to keep progressing even outside of your lessons.
~ Ashley Powers
I have known and worked with Danica for over 10 years and she is one of the most talented, approachable, articulate trainers I have ever met. As an accomplished Dressage rider, Danica’s years of training with Debbie McDonald have made her a brilliant competitor and a gifted trainer. Her approach to teaching is bold but sensitive and her kind heart and sense of humor makes lessons enjoyable and educational. I would recommend her services to riders of all ages. With her extensive background in horses and riding, she can successfully teach riders at all levels across various disciplines.
Danica Yates has a wonderful gift of teaching and training. Classically trained, but open to new, modern, ideas. She has enhanced my riding in 110%! Gentle to horse and human, she is a joy to work with, always giving praise and encouraging words. Danica has put my riding at a new level for me. If you are looking for a trainer with radiant personality, and a wonderful rider look no further!
~ Madey Edlin
I have been riding for approximately 30 years. I have issues with processing information that is given to me verbally. With previous instructors I was not able to process their explinations on the spot and was very frustrated. I was seriously considering getting out of horse because it was all HARD work, no fun and no progress.
With Danica, I find her explanations and instructions make sense while we are working on an issue. And I find that once we work through the problem my brain and body are able to coordinate what we are suppose to do and each time the problem is easier to ride through. Now I am having fun and progressing and my horse is happy as well. I am very excited about what we are doing and look forward to my weekly lessons.
~ Kathryn Barnhart
Danica’s positive reinforcement, teaching ability and clear communication to both horse and rider create a productive and happy learning experience: one that we look forward to each and every time.
~ Penny Strauss
My daughter has never seen the necessity of Dressage in her riding. It was always "Something that Mom does". Before Sarah and RJ started training with Danica, they were doing "okay" in their jumping and flatwork. But it wasn't progressing very steadily. What she has learned with Danica is that Dressage helps with all
aspects of her riding. She no longer settles for a hollowed out ride. She expects her horse to round up and give her that softness she knows he has in him. All of this is allowing her and her horse to become a better team with their increased communication and trust. Their jumping (and flatwork) have improved a lot!
~ Michelle Westwood
Danica has a great, patient training technique. She had helped RJ and I to gain back and build on our ability to function as a team. She is helping us to become all that we can be.
~ Sarah Westwood
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Freedoom Horse Farm, Inc.
Danica is Director/President of Freedom Horse Farm, Inc.
Horse Rescue and Horse Therapy Nonprofit
Lessons in Dressage and Horsemanship
Good training is good training, regardless of the type of saddle you use. Danica uses dressage as a foundation for trail riding, barrel racing, jumping and other disciplines.