Sarah and Wild Oaks Ranch's young horse prospect Pythagoras

Sarah and Wild Oaks Ranch's young horse prospect Pythagoras

Sarah and her pony, Gingersnap

Sarah and her pony, Gingersnap

Sarah and El Paso at their FEI debut

Sarah and El Paso at their FEI debut

Sarah and her mare, Prada, at 3rd level 

Sarah and her mare, Prada, at 3rd level 

Sarah long lining

Sarah long lining

Sarah Fulton-Smith

Head trainer
 

Sarah Fulton-Smith is an FEI dressage trainer and competitor. Her training program is based in classical dressage principles and focuses on the gradual development of the dressage horse through clear communication and expectations between horse and rider. She thoroughly enjoys working with riders and horses at all levels and is particularly experienced in developing young horses. She has competed through Prix St George and is currently working to bring two horses to the FEI level. Sarah is passionate about dressage and constantly strives to further her knowledge and skills to become a better trainer for the horses and students in her program. She is equally dedicated to horse management and takes all aspects of horse care seriously. As a scientist by training, she does a lot of research and works with top experts to find the best solutions for her horses, from nutrition to body work to cross training. She spends the winter season in Wellington, Florida when possible! Sarah trains regularly with Scott Hassler and Jessica Jo Tate, clinics with Charles de Kunffy and Benjamin Pfabe, and works with Richard Malmgren to keep her horses strong and balanced with long lining.

A lifelong horse woman, Sarah first sat on a horse at 18 months old. When she was 3 she got her first horse, a Welsh/Quarter cross, named Gingersnap.  From the ages of 7 to 12 Sarah competed her in Pony Club and attained her D3 rating. Among many things, Ginger taught her to be brave and always get back on after many, many spills! When she was 12 she got her first big horse, a leggy 4 year-old 17hh OTTB, Heidi. She got her C1 rating on Heidi before leaving Pony Club and schooled Training Level eventing with her. By the time she was 16 she was riding all the 3 year olds that were coming up in their family’s breeding business, Wild Oaks Ranch.    

In college she had the incredible opportunity to take over the ride on her mom’s Intermediare 1 Dutch schoolmaster, El Paso. Within weeks Sarah had fallen in love with Paso and fallen in love with upper-level dressage. After about a year together she went from having never competed above training level dressage to showing 4th level and PSG.  She scored up to 71% at 4th level, barely missed out on her silver medal before Paso had an injury and had to be retired at 21. During this time, she had the opportunity to train regularly with Anne Gribbons, former Chef d’Equipe for the U.S. Dressage team.

For most of her 20s, Sarah was focusing on a career in sustainable agriculture.  She initially woked in Washington, DC on climate, energy and sustainable agriculture policy with both the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations Foundation. In DC, she met her husband, Leland, (who had no idea what he was getting into!). They relocated to Ft Collins, CO, where she attended graduate school at Colorado State.  The demands of school and health issues with her mare, Prada, prevented her from competing during that time.  Thankfully, with Sarah’s determination, the help of wonderful vets and nutritionists, they are finally on the right track with Prada’s health and again progressing up the levels! During graduate school in Colorado, Sarah began teaching students and training horses part-time and quickly realized that her love for horses and dressage surpassed all her other interests. She has a passion for teaching, and finds immense satisfaction in helping riders and their horses find harmony together.  Sarah recognizes that everyone has different goals, and is equally dedicated to the amateur rider who wants a willing disciplined mount to the goal-oriented rider wishing to take their horse up the levels.

Sarah and her husband are passionate about maintaining sustainable agriculture practices on their farm. 

 
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Leland Smith

horse husband extraordinaire
 

Leland does farm maintenance and construction work whenever needed. He is pretty much the best! Leland commutes to Arlington working for a US Government contractor. He has a MS in Information Technology from University of Colorado and a BA in Classics from Wesleyan University.