I have rarely found a more welcoming, warm, humble staff that's willing to work with their clients to have them reach their goals. The partnership between the staff and their clients, they really are passionate about forging that connection between their clients and horses. You feel the passion here that, "we're in this to help you get better, and it makes us happy to see you happy."
The success of this is the ability to train people to be successful. I know my wife being in a lot of programs before this, she would come home and be frustrated by what the trainer was pushing them to do--which was 20 steps ahead of where she was. So in that frustration she would feel defeated, and that takes away the love or enjoyment for riding. Not everyone is looking to compete or show, and the environment at HoofbeatZ USA is, "tell us what you want to do and where you want to go with this and we can help you get there."
[The staff] are very patient and friendly and effective.
Your staff is amazing. They are kind and gentle to the horses. They understand where the horses come from, why they do what they do, they work within that zone that they don't have to whip them or hit them with the lead rope. It's so amazing for me because I watch the horses and their faces, and to see them think and do without fighting...I haven't found that anywhere else.
Rich: Everybody has been spectacular. Elisa: Wonderful. They all have their specialty and are so good at what they do. Rich: I can’t say that I’ve ever run into it because nobody is a wrangler here. Everyone is well involved with the horses, so when you get involved with everybody and the horses it’s a well cohesive group.
Instructor & Trainer
At an early age, Alicia decided that she wanted to become a horse trainer. Alicia showed internationally and developed show jumpers and hunters for people of all ages and abilities. She rode in many clinics given by Nick Karazissis, Bernie Traurig, Chris Kappler, and Diane Carney. She eventually opened her own facility and developed the 2008 Equitation Champion of Arizona, winning at West World of Scottsdale. Around that time is when she discovered Natural Horsemanship. She closed down her barn and took a few years off from teaching to hone her natural skills. Alicia refers to natural horsemanship as "honest horsemanship" where she puts her relationship with the horse first, and her goals second. She has attended many Parelli clinics over the years and a highlight of her life is when she was able to ride her horses with Buck Brannaman in 2017. You can find Alicia in the EZ Ride ring and also developing our EZ Ride horses for assured safety for our riders.
Instructor & Trainer
Marissa has always had a passion for horses. After taking lessons as a child with her father, the two embarked into horse ownership and enjoyed riding the oceanside trails of the California coast. Overtime, Marissa’s passion for horses developed into a fascination with horse training which led her to read all the books she could find on the subject and attend all the training clinics to which she could travel. During this time, she studied the emerging field of natural horsemanship and practiced a mixed methodology which included that of horsemen such as: Tom Dorrance, John Lyons, Buck Brannaman, Pat Parelli, Clinton Anderson, and Chris Cox. At any opportunity, Marissa trained her horses and those of her friends in order to hone her early skills in natural horsemanship. Eventually, Marissa attended Moorpark College’s program for Exotic Animal Training and Management where she graduated with degrees in animal training and turned her vocational interests toward equine stunt work and the training of equines for studio work while living in southern California. Marissa developed skills in trick riding and vaulting with top professionals, and also learned techniques for training horses at liberty for movie work from industry leaders. To this day, applying and honing her skills in liberty and “trick” horse training is an interest Marissa still pursues while training and instructing at Hoofbeatz USA. Eventually, Marissa’s interests in horse sports would lead her to compete and train her horses in multiple disciplines which have included barrel racing and other gymkhana events; Extreme Cowboy Racing and finally, her most resounding passion: the sport of Reining. She also had the pleasure of spending some years riding alongside of and learning from professional reining trainers while living in southern California. Marissa has most recently enjoyed applying her longstanding and diverse training skill set to Hoofbeatz USA where she works to add to the innovation and fun that this unique horsemanship program offers to its students.
Sophia Jürgens was born and raised in Miami, Florida where she trained and competed in the Hunter/Jumper Winter Circuit. She has had over 17 years in the saddle, with a special focus on re-training off-track thoroughbreds. From 2015-2016 she competed for The University of Kent's Polo Club in Canterbury, UK, before returning to the United States where she pursued more opportunities in the Hunter/Jumper world at Signature Stables, Mariposa Farms, and in Angela Carmitchel's Working Student program. Sophia looks to foster meaningful, productive, and harmonious relationships between horses and their riders.
Office Manager & Co-Instructor
Although technically a fish biologist, Jackie has had her hands in the HoofbeatZ franchise since 2012 when it was active in Dubai and Qatar. She received her Bachelor's in Fish, Wildlife, & Conservation Biology at Colorado State University and was a government contract for NOAA for a year out of Norfolk, VA working on commercial fishing vessels at sea. Eileen Verdieck, her aunt, along with her mother Maureen Wyer had introduced her to horses at a young age, since it was a family passion. She has taken multiple roles in developing HoofbeatZ USA, from office management to lead marketing director, and assistant instructor.
Gladys graduated from college as a vet technician in Puerto Rico and developed a passion for horses. In 2017 Hurricane Maria destroyed her home in Puerto Rico, so she decided to move to AZ with her partner. She started out at Rae Dawn Arabians and Midwest Arabians to further develop her groom skills. She wanted to ride and found HoofbeatZ USA and fell in love with the program! She has learned about Natural Horsemanship and it completely changed her point of view of horses and understands their behavior and how to connect with them in a way that doesn't hurt or scare them! She is learning how to ride in a very different and unique way thanks to the program and its awesome teachers.
Juliana moved to Arizona two years ago from Puerto Rico with her partner. She always wanted to work with animals, and although she is very new to the equestrian world she has formed relationships with our horses and learned to truly understand appreciate them. She can't imagine her life without them. When she first started at HoofbeatZ USA she couldn't even touch a horse without being scared. After learning from our program and instructors she has become more confident than she has ever been.