About Mystic Canyon Stable
MCS Program: Recreational Riding and Responsibility
Gain self-confidence, build strength and skill plus develop body coordination all while working with horses!
Given the right enviroment and fostered by the teacher the " I can do it!" self-confidence develops. Yes, YOU Can
Learn to care for and ride your horse independently while learning valuable and practical life skills.
In every lesson all students groom their horse before and after riding. Students explore many options from riding in the arena to the many trails of Palos Verdes, using an English saddle/bridle, a Western saddle/hackamore or on a bareback pad. After the ride the students will untack their horse and clean up their grooming area.
The first lessons are spent orienting the students with the horse on and off the ground with helpers to assist one-on-one throughout the process. Our gradual goal is for our riders to cultivate the skills to fully handle, groom, tack up, ride and untack without help (some after just a few lessons, others after many rides with support)!
Lessons are conducted in a quiet, small-scale riding facility with a priviate riding arena near miles of scenic trails.
Prospective riders are welcome to come observe a lesson. Family, Friends, and Friendly Pets welcome.
Philosophy: Horse + Rider as one, understanding horsemanship from head to hoof
The relationship between horse and rider can be magical, erasing the separateness, finding connection through open communication, unity, and oneness. I hope to share this deeper understanding of horses and riding with others. I teach students 3 years old to adults all about horses, all I know. I hope my teaching style and hands-on learning approach fosters the horse-human relationship in others.
I aim to live by the saying "Give a man a fish, feed him for a meal; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime."
For me my relationship with horses is JOYful, therapeutic, vital and priceless. I wish to realize these benefits and more for others.
Tiffany's History: Check out PVPHA Articles and Pics too
I was born and raised in the South Bay by my parents and with my younger sister. As a young child I enjoyed drawing pictures of horses, telling stories about animals and collecting Breyer model horses! My love for riding began when I was 5 years old, on the backs of my relatives' Quarterhorses at my mother's family farm in Wisconsin. I spent those humid summer trips riding in the early morning before the horseflies bit and in the evening with the fireflies:)
When I was 9 years old, we were selling Girl Scout cookies down the block in Redondo Beach and I discovered a pony eating grass in one backyard - immediately I HAD to know more about this pony!!! Her name was Laurel and our neighbors the Murphys became our first riding instructors, selling us my first pony Whitney! My mom commuted from Redondo to Portuguese Bend, so Whit and I could ride together 6 days/week (2 lessons/week). We showed locally at our Corral 8 ETI shows and participated in the Portuguese Bend Pony Club for 3 years until moving to Palos Verdes on the other side of the hill. Everything I labeled was Tiffany and Whitney's!:)
By 12 years old my horse-loving relative Mary Ann gave us Zane, my first horse and with Whitney that equaled 2 equines! For the good schools and country living, my family moved to Westfield where I have had the responsibility of our 9-stall barn and own riding ring! I stayed busy managing the barn and maintaining the facility, even training Whitney to drag our arena with a chainlink fence (remember I didn't have a driver's license back then and had to maintain the arena footing somehow!). Between riding Whitney on the trails (as I had grown too tall to show her) plus training Zane to ride English for dressage and jumping lessons, I really enjoyed growing up with horses every day! Being grey, Zane had developed many melanomas and one internally had to be removed. That surgery potentially saved his life, yet ended his competive potential with me. So we retired Zane to trail rides and found him another home and owner.
My parents and I horse shopped until we found Bolaire to continue doing competitions and to join the high school team. Bo and I competed on the Palos Verdes Peninsula High School Equestrain team through the Interscolastic Equestrian League in Freshman Hunters, then JV Jumpers and Second Level Dressage, as well as 3 day eventing shows.
To keep Whitney around forever, we bred her to black stallion Derwen Denmark (http://www.glenhavenwelsh.com/section-d-stallions---frozen-semen.html) who lived in Rolling Hills just down the trail! Boy were we all surprised when chestnut Magic was born at the barn! Her dam was brown and her sire was black, so they must have had the recessive genes of chestnust with flaxen mane and tail in common in their heritage! I got to be the first human to touch her when she was born, the whole experience made me cry tears of awe as witnessing the gift of life is such a miracle (and a VERY rare occurance with live horse births, as the mares try to hide for privacy by night usually)! Whitney gave birth to Magic in front of an audience of many adults and children on a Sunday afternoon to our shock! Whit was such a kind mom who shared Magic with all of us, she trusted us so much!
Seeing me with Bo and Whitney on the trails and arenas, neighbors began asking me to give their children lessons to learn how to ride! So in 1996 I started giving lessons off and on. After high school, Magic and Bo went with me to college at UC Santa Cruz, where I could walk to the barn to care for them daily and I continued giving lessons on them! We froliced in the cow pastures amongst the redwoods by the sea! I shared my popular pastime with friends who had never been horseback riding - imagine that! None of my friends were going to be horse-deprived if I could help it! I transfered to UCLA to graduate with a B.A. in Geograohy/Environmental Studies and rented a small barn in my parents' neighborhood for Bo and Magic; Whitney had been happily leased out at our red barn and joined her daughter and Bo at the new little barn. Upon graduating, I was headed to law school, yet I just couldn't visualize my life without horses every day! I decided to return to manage my parents' red barn and brought Bo, Magic and Whitney. Back then I couldn't imagine making a viable living with horses (the barn was my quiet place, not my work place). I thought to myself that I could teach at a school by day and continue giving lessons and getting my horse time in the afternoons and on the weekends. I asked about an opening and fortunately got the opportunity! In the fall I began working with 3-5 year olds as a Teacher's Assistant at my old private school Via Pacifica, now renamed Del Sol (www.delsolschool.org). Amongst 3-12 year olds in Manhattan Beach, I learned so much about group social dynamics, behavior, development and took education classes too. Many of the students wanted to learn to horseback ride and joined me in the afternoons and on the weekends for lessons! By 2004 I was able to focus on teaching horseback riding full time and devoted my life to doing what I love - being with horses and riders!
Since my humble beginnings with Whitney, our barn has grown to 11 equines of all shapes and sizes - each with their own personalities to teach us how to play safely and effectively with them:)
WELCOME HELPERS AND VOLUNTEERS
Initally it was just me working at the barn, and yet over the years I've grown as a person by learning to expand and accept help from others! By allowing helpers to actively participate in the daily running of our lesson/camp/party programs, our barn has flourished above and beyond what I alone could have imagined! Having riders and helpers who are dedicated to caring for our horses in health, sickness and rehab is the magical part of the equation that I've been more and more flexible to accept their loving help! So many improvements have been the ideas of helpers! Barn decor and tack room layout with name labels, fresh flower planters and small critter habitats, organizational materials and lesson plans to name a few have transpired to betterment because helpers spoke up, patiently (and PERSISTENTLY!) shared their ideas with me and helped hold my hand in the transitional phases! Change is the only constant and they are ever pushing me to become better and to expand beyond my wildest horizons! This is especially true for the technological side of the barn as a business - special thanks to Savannah Edmonds for creating this lovely website and surprising me with it!!!
One amazing aspect of our barn is the vital role of our valuable VOLUNTEERS who give back what they've learned to foster along our newest riders! Helpers assist new riders while handling, grooming and tacking up/untacking, making our program supportive, safer, and infused with information! They get the leadership opportunity to student-teach, improve communication skills, gain responsibilty and develop maturity along the way too!:)
GRATITUDE and GRAMERCY
THANK YOU to all the Instructors who've invested their constructive energy by helping me become the rider and teacher I am today - I am eternally grateful! Lisa and Erin Murphy (all around), Jan Ball (Western), Julie Smith (hunters), Lisa Worthy (all around), Linda Cooper (hunters), Louise Koch (dressage), Kathleen Raine (dressage) and many more clinicians too!
THANK YOU to the Family and Friends who shared theirs horses with me over the years!:) Vernon Brink and Ginny Hess - my first love Mariah, many quarterhorses and then Tennessee Walkers; Mary Ann Groark- Zane (Quarterhorse/Arabian); Stacy Bennett - Quarterhorses; Luanna and Bill Ebaugh - Saddlebreds and Arabians; Vicky Lyons - Icelandics; Cleaves Bennett and Dancing Horse Ranch - Paso Finos... and the list of gratitude goes on...!!!
THANK YOU to all the equines I have had the pleasure of riding domestically and abroad - from California horse camping ("glam"ping because we have running water and electricity!) to covered jumping arenas in Oregon, day-long trail rides through rivers and over scenic hilly cow pastures and crosscountry courses in Wisconsin, solo rides in Central Park in NY, beaches in Thailand and Mexico with guides who didn't speak English, swiming on horseback in Jamaica while drinking from a freshly cut coconut, trail rides in Alaska and Kauai, arenas and trails in Ireland and England, and galloping with the wind in my hair in a valley in China on a VERY sure-footed pony! I passionately aspire to ride all over the world - I just LOVE horses so much that I seek out horseback riding while on vacation too! I feel so good around them:)!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone and every equine who made the dream of horses a reality in my life!
R.I.P. Farewell to my Whitney ~ In June of 2011 Whitney struggled
in her corral and couldn't get up, so we called our vet to end her
suffering by euthanizing her. She was in her 30s we guessed, as she had
been a slaughter house rescue without registration papers. My parents
and I, plus students who could get to the barn were there for her transition.
She is missed and memorialized in so many hearts!
We held a celebration of life for her and many students came to write
a note, others brought cards and shared stories, some even added a
personal page to her scrapbook! Ask to see it, it's in our tack room so
we can see her any time! In her honor we planted a mulberry tree by our
arena, we call it the Whitney tree. I wrote a little something in our local
paper to let our horse community know of her passing
(http://www.pvpha.org/dispatch/2011/2011_10.pdf). She tossed me too many times to count (taught me
how to fall off and then how to stay on!), cared for me by patiently teaching me how to respect and care
for her in turn, gave me wings to fly with her over jumps; together we galloped all over the hill!
Overflowing with happiness I sang my heart out on her back during trail rides, PAINTING BY GHISLAINE GARGARO
just the 2 of us in Nature's amphitheater of the hills with an audience of the Pacific! ON DISPLAY AT TERRANEA ON 6TH FLOOR
Even as her vision failed with old age, she always nickered to me when I walked to the barn.
Whenever I'd hop on her she immediately wanted to canter for me - my heart leapt as I'd smile and know she loved me too!
Thank you for loving me, Whitney - I miss you every day and I will love you always!
R.I.P. (Bo)laire- I didn't want Bo to struggle and suffer, so when he had difficulty getting up without hurting
himself (many eye injuries, scrapes falling down and head bangs in to walls), I scheduled 3 weeks ahead for our
kind vet to humanely euthanise him. I wanted to give myself and everyone time to say their final good-byes and
be part of the farewell and thank you process.
An athletic Thoroughbred gelding, Bo raced until he was 6 years old, then was retrained for 3-Day Eventing.
We bought him as an 8 year old. Together we competed on the high school equestrian IEL team in
Hunters/Jumpers and Second Level Dressage, in 3-Day Eventing (dressage, stadium jumping and cross crounty),
and on both Portuguese Bend Pony Club then Palos Verdes Pony Club, became another Pony Clubber's horse for
4 years in Portuguese Bend, then settled in to being a lesson horse with Tiffany again!
Bo taught us all about retirement and caring for aging equines. I tried unsuccessfully to retire him in Northern
California in 15 acres with a stream and other horses (my ideal if I were a horse)- he HATED it! He pushed his
way in to their goat house and kept reinjuring himself, wanting to be back in a barn (if you can believe it!)! So we brought him back to his stable and herd for his final 3 years... During his retirement at our barn, he got in to all sorts of mischief! Always eager to rub his face on willing humans, he took possessive nibbles of clothing to mark you as his own and check you out up close and personal by blowing warm breath in your face! He was lavished with grooming, cuddles and lots of TLC! Such a character, he is greatly missed! We keep his scrapbook in our tackroom and welcome riders and fans to write a memory, sentiment or contribute a page! I keep getting photos and drawings to add! Born March 23, 1984 - September 25, 2015.
Whitney and I (11 years old) are at the corrals at the Wright's home in Portuguese Bend, circa 1992
Bo (making a silly face) and I strike a glamour pose at a show at Ernie Howlett Park, circa 1998
Magic and I are having fun by showing off a trick of standing on the stump that Avery taught Magic:)
I'm manning our Mystic Canyon Stable table at
Horse Happenings on the Hill at Ernie Howlett Park, Princess helped bring riders to our booth:)
Magic and I enjoy the lovely panoramic views of Los Angeles and surrounding cities