Testimonials

Phoebe DeVoe-Moore, USDF Bronze & Silver Medalist, USEF “r” Judge,
Owner/Head Trainer of Thornridge Manor, LLC

 

I have known Aviva for over a decade and our relationship extends far beyond the many facets of the dressage community.

It should be of no great surprise that Aviva and I first met at a horse show, stabled next to each other. She and her husband were immediately warm and made the very unnecessary effort to watch all of my rides that weekend. Her immediate enthusiasm in our first encounter set the stage for a lifelong friendship to ensue. Since our initial meeting, I have had the pleasure to watch Aviva mature as a dressage competitor, trainer and judge. Aviva has the very rare gift for identifying talent in young horses; her ability to hand pick and bring along both Fredi and Q are an example of her innate skill. As a fellow judge, I have always been impressed by Aviva’s vocabulary. She has an amazing way of clearly and eloquently describing what she sees. I enjoy, and I learn from, listening to Aviva while she judges; I admirably call her a mirror in words. It is my hope that Aviva continues to move thru the levels of judging as she is a true asset to the competitors. BUT, I have to wonder if Aviva missed her calling as she would be a best-selling novelist if she chose?!!?

I have been to Aviva’s farm many times over the course of our friendship. The sheer beauty of her personally developed facility is a masterpiece. I often tell her how much I covet her Antique-Annabel-Hydrangea trees; they alone emanate perfection!! But beyond its idealic presentation, Horsepen Hill’s family-feel is a reflection of Aviva herself. It is Aviva’s nature to go the extra distance – she is an honest, passionate, dedicated and generous person in all that she does. I am lucky to have such a friend extraordinaire in Aviva; she has always showed interest in my life and I know that I can always count on her when I need a good friend. BUT, it sure does help that she is a FAB cook, too –hey, when’s the next dinner party?!!?

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Karen Siebert, Student Since 2014

Dear Aviva,

Some people like to thank their coaches after they have performed well, and rightfully so. But for me, I want to thank you before I ride because win, lose, or draw- I appreciate you and all that you do. Now the reins are in my hands, although I know you will be riding along with me from the sidelines.

Whatever my scores are, whatever the judge’s opinions, whatever happens when my nerves set in; you have helped me grow as a rider, you have prepared me well, you have gone above and beyond to foster this dream that I have and, more importantly, you never give up on me even when I am ready to give up on myself. You have supported me from the very beginning. In fact, you were there as I rode my first dressage test ever. I was shaking and nervous as could be and without a real clue about the road I had started down. Ever since that day, you have been one of my biggest supporters and you mean more to me than you can possibly know.

I watch you with all levels of riders, both as a judge and as an instructor, and you are always positive, insightful, and encouraging. Without judgement, you care both for the rider and the horse, no matter their struggles or skill sets. You are understanding of the fears, demands, and expectations of this sport. With compassion you go out of your way to help people! I hope that you know what a gift that is, what a gift you are and how fortunate I feel to have you in my corner. So, before I enter the ring today or tomorrow, please know that I am very thankful for you! I hope to keep my nerves together and keep my nerves at bay so that I may be able to fully use the skills I have gained to perform to the best of my ability. Today is today and I will ride the horse that I have today. This is one day on our journey. I am hopeful to do so in a manner that makes you proud! I am so proud and grateful to have you with me. And I know that no matter what happens in that sandbox, you will be there waiting at the gate with an encouraging word or a pep talk or whatever I need! And that is why I call you friend, because you are so much more than a coach.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Love,
Karen

This was written before the PVDA Ride For Life. Karen went on to win one of her classes and to be awarded High Score QH of the show!!

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Sarah Duclos, USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist FEI Rider and Trainer


"Aviva and I met while taking part in the L Judges Training program several years ago. We hit it off right from the start and have kept in touch ever since. I am always impressed with Aviva’s judging skills. She has an excellent eye for “the basics” of rhythm, suppleness, contact, and impulsion. On top of that she does a truly wonderful job of giving feedback to the riders in a way that promotes learning. When talking with riders, Aviva always manages to tell them what they did really well, then helps them see what they need to work on, and always ends on a positive note! Many of the local dressage clubs near me have hired Aviva year after year because she does such a wonderful job and I look forward to taking my students to those shows each year because I know they will be getting positive and effective feedback."

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Sarah Nather, Student and Boarder Since 2013


Sarah Nather on Rubin with Aviva standing. "I began training with Aviva in the winter of 2013 and moved to her farm, Horsepen Hill, in the spring of 2013 with my new 4 year old dressage horse Furst Rubin aka “Rubin”. Aviva has an excellent eye for instructing and an extraordinary natural ability to teach. I have been riding for close to 22 years with several different trainers, and Aviva is one of the few trainers whom I have worked with who can connect, challenge, and inspire her students both as a trainer and a fellow rider . Her passion for the sport of dressage and dressage education inspires me to develop not only my skill as a rider, but my understanding of all facets of dressage. As one of her boarders, I can attest that she provides top notch care and services for all her boarders and their horses.

Aviva has years of experience with training young dressage horses correctly with a strong focus on developing the horse in the core building blocks of dressage such as rhythm, connection, impulsion, and straightness. She focuses on making sure the horse and rider have a strong foundation on which they can develop as they progress up the levels instead of focusing on solely show ring performance or moving quickly up through the levels.

Prior to meeting Aviva I had not had the experience of riding with an instructor with judging experience as well as trained judge’s eye. She masterfully weaves her knowledge and experience from judging into her instruction and has positively changed the way I approach the show ring and interpret my scores. A true testament to Aviva’s talent for instructing can be found in her student’s successes. Rubin and I were just beginning our partnership when we started training with Aviva. Under Aviva’s tutelage Rubin and I quickly blossomed in our training from beginning training level to a competitive first level team qualifying for both BLMs and GAIGs at both levels in our first year!

I have had several dressage instructors over the years but by far Aviva has been one of the best on every element you look for in a trainer. I have never achieved as much success and satisfaction from my riding as I have since I began riding with her. Aviva pours 110% into her students and challenges her riders to be more than just passengers along for the ride; she shapes them into true riders who have a strong foundation in dressage and confidence in their riding that will last a lifetime. "

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Molly Gibala, Manager of Temptation Farm and Student Since 2012


"Aviva has a way with teaching that I had never experienced before. I came to her as a timid adult, after taking a several year break from riding, on a green OTTB named Mouse who had not been ridden in several years either. Aviva not only helped me to regain my own confidence but she taught me to remain in control of Mouse using my body, even when I am still cautious in my mind. This helped me to develop into a more effective rider by becoming clearer with my aids, and as a result developed Mouse’s confidence as well. I truly think he loves his job now that he understands what we are asking from him.

Aviva is passionate when things are going well, and encouraging when they are not. Every lesson with Aviva is challenging and rewarding for both horse and rider. Aviva recognizes the smallest imperfections in a rider’s position and balance that when corrected make the biggest differences. She sets her riders up to succeed in the saddle. I have felt things with Aviva that I had only heard about with other instructors i.e. control of the outside shoulder, balanced transitions, and straightness. She has not only helped me to become more effective as a rider but more effective as a teacher as well.

I have sent several of my own students to her for help with various challenges and they all come back excited to practice what Aviva has taught them and anxious to learn more from her. I feel that my horses, my students, and I have all learned valuable lessons from Aviva and we are so lucky to have her guidance and support!"

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Shari Palumbo, Boarder and Student From 2000 – 2013


Shari Palumbo & Briggs"I moved my horse Briggs to Horsepen Hill Farm in late 2000. He had some soundness issues, and it was going to be the beginning of his retirement. He was 16 then, and still able to do light dressage work and pleasure rides.

During my more than ten years at Horsepen Hill Farm, I, Briggs, and Aviva (farm owner/manager) have gone through many changes. During that time, I have observed and benefited from the changes Aviva has experienced. I witnessed first-hand the growth in her riding, training, and judging. I watched her train her horse Fredi from green broke to third level, get on her 4 year-old 18+ hand horse “Q” this past year and take him to his first show at training level only several months under saddle. I have also benefited from her training. She is a great instructor and I have learned a great deal and my riding has improved dramatically with her guidance. She has the ability to adapt her teaching to the specific needs of both the horse and rider and is able to communicate effectively so that the rider is able to understand what is needed.

Briggs and I both enjoy our time at the farm. He has plenty of grass and a large stall when he is in and I enjoy the beauty of the farm, the heated tack room and bathroom, and the fabulous indoor and outdoor riding arenas. While I am no longer riding Briggs (now 26) I am still able to ride a friend’s horse that is also at the farm. I try to get to the farm as much as I can, but I always have full confidence and trust that my horse is always well cared for and in a safe environment. When I am at the barn I enjoy Aviva and Adrian’s company as well as their three dogs and the barn cats."

Shari lost her 2 year battle with cancer in December, 2013. Her horse, Briggs, remained with us until his death in January, 2015. All of us at Horsepen Hill Farm miss them.