Category Archives: People

Michelle Woollard



My love of dressage began when, at the age of 8, I was allowed up on a family friend’s dressage horse for a ‘pony ride’.  Eventing was my first discipline with horses, but it didn’t take long before I re-discovered my love of dressage and made it my sole focus.

For the past 15 years, I have concentrated only on dressage and  the goal of my own improvement through it.    I teach a small group of dedicated riders and have three horses of my own who I compete Training through the FEI levels.  My horses are all geldings;  two five-year olds, a Dutch Warmblood and a Lusitano and an 11-year-old Oldenburg.   My main interest now is developing my horses for competition and helping my students enjoy their horses through dressage at whatever level they are working.

I have been involved with the SJ Chapter for a number of years and am excited to be part of it’s future, especially in the development of the Youth Scholarship Program.

I live in Talent with my husband, two children, horses, cat’s and the dog.

Michele Matzen

Maynard, the WonderhorseI am now officially a “Senior Rider”.  I have been riding Dressage since the early 80’s.  Obviously, I am into it.  I started out Eventing which I dearly loved.  Maynard, the horse in the picture is a “Wonder Horse”.  He was 15hands and took me through Training in Eventing.  I found trying to school Prelim.  Was not going to work for us.  He too short, but willing to go, but me too scared to go on.  I loved Dressage anyway, that is weird for a EventerJ  Anyway, I started riding with a gal in Vacaville and our neighbor was Dennis Callen.  He would come over sometimes and give us lessons.  Great teacher.  I moved to the Bay Area and continued my education with Mary Grace Davidson, Lilo Fore, Jutta Schott, Darrin Taplin and ended up riding with Jeff Moore for a few years before coming to Oregon.  Southern Oregon,  I found to be a “Dressage Desert”J  I am happy to say that now we have some wonderful trainers and clinicians in the Valley.  I am having fun, again.

I am happy to serve as Vice President, for the State of Jefferson Chapter.  I have also served as President and a BOD.

Karen Piper

I started riding at the age of 7. My mother was Open Jumper Champion of the State of Washington at that time.  Her trainer a retired Calvary man taught me to ride.  At the age of 9 I was riding with the Woodbrook Hunt Club and rode as Whipper-In when I was 14.  I did a lot of eventing and hunter jumper shows.

My dressage scores were low so I could place in Eventing but not win.  In 1995 I was at Toyon Farms watching a Nigli clinic.  That is when I wanted to really learn to ride Classical Dressage. I started working with Rachel Saavedra on a young horse named Samurai.   I have had 10 youIMG_0630ng horses since then.  I purchased my Hanoverian gelding, Ernst August in 2011 and trained with Tanya Vik. I won the 4th level RAAC in 2013 on Ernst.  I earned my sliver medal in 2015.  He is 18 years old now and continues to improve.  We are working with Michelle Woollard and Kathy Everman and hoping to ride the I1 in the near future.

I have ridden with Chris Rivlin, Jane Schwartz, Andrew Murphy, Sue Curry, Lilo Fore, Heidi Gaian, Jennifer Williams and Michael Lieberg.

I have a miniature pony, London Fog, whom I drive around my farm in the Griffen Creek area. I am dedicated to the sport of Dressage and offer my school master to a select few to ride and learn on.


Elaine Thomas

Elaine & ArtiI have had a love affair with horse my entire life.  I had not owned a horse in 18 years, but when I retired from teaching high school, I bought Artimus (Arti).  Together he and I began learning the art of dressage.  For the past five years it has been a wonderful, frustrating, exciting, exhausting journey and we’ve only just scratched the surface.  We are currently training and showing First Level.  Arti is a capable and willing partner that is exceedingly patient with me learning my part of the “dance.”

I have a husband, two adult children and two grandchildren, none of whom are one bit “horsey.”  But, they are always supportive of my riding and are a reliable source of treats and praise for Arti.  I feel blessed to be retired and able to follow my equine passion.

Cassi Soule earns her Silver Medal

USDF SilverCongratulations to member Cassi Soule on her achievements this year!

Her Silver Medal was earned this summer on Goldsun, owned by Debbie Becklin.

Splendid in Black, owned by Diane Nauman of Albany, Or, won two horse awards.  She was top scoring Westfalen 3 year old mare in the Nation, and she was Adequan/USDF Materiale Horse of the year as a 3 year old mare.



Rachel Merusi


Rachel has been riding dressage since 1994 and upon graduating from OSU in 2000 became a certified riding instructor. She taught at Lake Oswego Hunt from 2000-2001. She has two horse rescue projects at home that she is currently working with and she looks forward to getting back into the show ring at some point. Her real job is an accountant with Republic Services.

Sherry Walker

doc and I at 1st showA horse crazy Navy Brat, my childhood exposure to horses was limited to Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series, an occasional summer in Montana either at my Aunt’s cattle/horse ranch or at my Grandmother’s selling nightcrawlers so I could rent a horse for the day from the local fairgrounds.

The Quarter Horse I purchased with my first “real” paycheck eventually led to acreage and ponies/horses for the whole family and after my kid’s riding instructor basically tricked me into trying dressage, I was hooked.  I had no idea what a wonderful instructor I had stumbled upon and Vicki Kelley-Wall provided me with the foundation and desire to become a better rider.

Running our own business and raising three kids kept me from any serious showing, but once we “retired” to our dream farm here in the Applegate and after a couple of years of homework, I started my small breeding operation with gentle, intelligent OTTB broodmares bred primarily to Iron Spring Farm’s WarmBlood Stallions.  My husband, Rob, also now enjoys being able to hay his own alfalfa and grass fields.  The economy has definitely had an impact on my plans, but I’ve managed to breed some fabulous fillies and geldings and to also find an extremely talented trainer in Cassi Soule to lease my barn and arena and to start my “babies” on their paths to becoming dressage stars (or at least super riding partners.)