Danica Yates Bio
Olympian Debbie McDonald got me into dressage. I started out jumping and began teaching neighborhood kids and breaking horses when I was 12. My mom had been scared to death of horses, but pretty quickly realized that I was not going to outgrow the horse craze and allowed me to adopt some mistreated ponies to train and sell. I was never too happy with the instruction that was available to me, so I by and large trained myself. When I was fifteen, I took an eventing clinic in which the dressage phase was taught by Debbie McDonald. She told me that I had natural talent for dressage and invited me to come train at her private barn. I sucked up every word Debbie spoke for 3 years. I respect not only her dynamic, sensitive teaching, but also her down to earth personality.
I have many interests and passions, but horses have always been the center of my reality. The longest I have gone without riding was three months in college, I met a girl in a coffee shop on campus in breeches, followed her to her barn and accepted a job schooling jumpers. I completed degrees in environmental studies and communication. I worked in environmental policy in Utah, and for the National Park Service in Alaska as an interpretive ranger giving talks and leading off trail hikes. I worked for a short time riding on a sheep farm in New Zealand. I started a business in the Portland, Oregon area and began training horses/teaching full time in 2007.
In 2013, I moved to Montana and started a business here in the Flathead Valley. I train primarily out of Triple Take Arena in Kalispell. I also compete, teach clinics and judge shows around the West. In 2019, I founded a non-profit organization to rescue horses and provide mental health therapy, www.FreedomHorse.org. I am working towards completing my masters degree in counseling and look forward to helping share the healing power and therapeutic value of our equine friends.
I believe that the tools of classical dressage provide a language to communicate with horses. When horse and rider are both fluent and connected, an invisible dialog produces a brilliant, harmonious dance. There is nothing more magical than feeling a horse moving with ‘throughness.’ The goal for my teaching is to help students develop the feel to achieve this connection. What makes me a valuable trainer, is my natural feel for horses combined with my interest in figuring out ways to explain riding to each individual student so that they can develop feel as well. I am a lifelong student of my horses and of my students. The horses I work with tend to love me because they can feel how much I love and respect them.
I feel that the purpose of training dressage is not to simply look pretty and do tricks, but to develop a communication and a relationship. The truly effective rider can train a horse to do anything. My belief is that riders must relate to each horse individually and adapt techniques to be in sync with the horse's personality and behaviors. I strive to enhance a horse’s natural brilliance found in his free movement. I encourage boldness, accuracy, and sensitivity and also a sense of humor- the understanding that both parties make mistakes and the baseline purpose is to enjoy this fabulous dance.
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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.