East West Training Stables, LLC
"A Horse Trainer trains horses, a Horseman trains himself"
Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt began riding at the age of 6 with BHS instructor Andrea Pfeiffer. As a young rider he competed through the Advanced level of Eventing with his horse Maximum Speed, and together they represented AREA VI in the North American Young Riders Championships at the two star level in 1993. In order to broaden his education, Matt traveled East in 1996 to train and assist US Team rider Denny Emerson at his Tamarack Hill Farm in Vermont. Upon his return from Vermont, Matt continued to gain education and experience under the expert coaching of clinicians including Pierre Cousyn, Beth Ball, Steffen Peters, Christine Traurig, Beth Clarke, Axel Steiner and Sue Blinks. It was also during this time that Matt was greatly influenced by the horsemanship of George Kharl. Matt spent time on George's Montana Ranch learning a new approach to horses from George, in which observation, patience, and clear communication became the foundation of his training and relationships with his equine partners. Matt and Cecily met in 2003, and started East West Training Stables together in 2004. Matt has competed with much success through the three star level of Eventing, as well as enjoying successes in the Dressage ring, earning many high point awards on horses from Training through Fourth level.
Always seeking to improve, Matt works regularly with Volker Brommann and Derek DiGrazia.
Matt also studies extensively in the self defense art of Kenpo Karate, achieving the rank of Shodan (black belt) in 2000. Matt incorporates the philosophies, body awareness, and balancing techniques that he has learned in the martial arts to enrich his riding and training.
Cecily began riding at the age of 6 under the guidance of Sue Riggs, Diana Field, and later, Audrey Goldsmith. Dedicated coaching and countless hours spent in two point and without stirrups helped her to achieve success in the Hunter and Equitation ranks in Northern California and Oregon. She credits her mount, Alley Cat, purchased when Cecily was 11, as one of her greatest teachers. He was an experienced horse, with opinions tempered by a kind heart, and when Cecily rode well he rewarded her with brilliant performances, but when she did not, she often ended up dangling from his neck. Cecily took a break from serious riding to earn her B.A. in History at Dominican University, but upon graduating Cum Laude, she put that education to good use by joining Matt in establishing East West Training Stables in 2003. Throughout her years spent in the saddle and at the barn, Cecily has been grateful for the opportunities to learn from many talented horseman, including Siri Larssen, Suzie Hutchison, Beth Perkins, Elizabeth Clarke and Pierre Cousyn. Since starting East West Training Stables, Cecily's focus has shifted from Hunters and Equitation to Dressage. She has brought her own horse, Ringwood Galaxy, through the levels to Prix St. Georges, and credits both Matt and Volker Brommann for the success that she and Galaxy have been able to achieve. Cecily is also an avid photographer and is the person behind the lens at the horseshows, capturing the East West team in all of their glory!
Assistant Trainers and Barn Managers
Kristen Merala grew up riding in the Peninsula with Paula Wong. She has started a few of her own horse from scratch and developed them to be successful Eventers. Kristen began riding with East West in 2008 and has since made herself an invaluable member of the team. Since graduating from UC Davis with a B.S. in Marin Ecology and Conservation, Kristen has been working for East West full time riding and assisting with teaching lessons. Kristen has an uncanny feel for a horse, and all of the horses are happy when Kristen is aboard.
Lauren grew up on a ranch and learned the basics of riding as a youngster from bareback adventures on old quarter horses and ponies out on the trails and through open fields. This love for adventure, open spaces, and connecting with horses eventually led her to three-day eventing. Lauren has evented a variety of horses throughout the levels of eventing, competing up through the Advanced level. She grew up training with experienced eventing trainer Kristi Nunnink, and was fortunate to work for her as a working student and assistant trainer for many years. After college, Lauren spent 6 months in Ireland working and riding for Irish eventing Olympian Eric Smiley, where she was grateful to be mentored by such an incredible horseman. Lauren values the unique partnership she has with each and every horse and rider, and is fascinated by the challenge to understand and work with each mind. This passion for understanding the mind led her to pursue a BA in Psychology from UC Davis, as well as her MA in Sport Psychology, which she is currently working toward at John F. Kennedy University. Lauren currently has Hobbes, a TB/Holsteiner youngster who she is excited to begin eventing. She works as a part-time assistant at East West, giving lessons and providing training rides. When shes isn't at the barn or studying, Lauren loves to travel, hike, garden, and spend time with her dog.
Janice’s riding career started at the age of seven, at the bottom of the Mendips in England where she was born and raised. At age 16 Janice began a two-year training program with the British Horse Society at Urchinwood Manor. After finishing her Stage III BHS exams Janice left for the United States. This journey would turn into a life long endeavor into the US horse world. After working for a year with Andrea Pfeiffer (where she first met a young Matt), Janice went onto helping manage and start up Flying Cloud Farm, in Petaluma Ca. This is where her passion for teaching first began.
In 1992 Janice started a business as a freelance instructor while studying child psychology at Santa Rosa Junior College. It was during this time that Janice became Head Instructor and Examiner at the local Pony Club. After completing her associate degree at SRJC she joined Chocolate Horse Farm as a full time Instructor and began to build a successful pony program, coaching children and adults at shows locally and at the National level. It was then that she purchased Squeaks, who took her quickly from Beginner Novice to Preliminary. Janice's next mount was Oodles, a six-year-old Swedish/TB mare. Oodles taught Janice those hard fought lessons of patience, perseverance, and kindness. Both she and Janice had many successful shows at the Preliminary level.
In 2003 Janice married Vince Keats and by 2004 had their first child, Samantha. Sammy spent the first year of her life working with Janice at the barn and loved the horses. Janice then purchased Milly, and amazing mare from Ireland who helped Janice move up in the dressage levels. While working on 3rd level at home, they scored consistently in the 70’s at the local dressage shows.
Amanda joined the Keats in 2006. With this addition life on the back of a horse slowed down a little as they moved around California. At the end of 2008 Janice closed her business here in Northern California to support her husband in a new job opportunity in Southern California. After missing Northern California for 4 years, the Keats’s are excited to be moving back to home turf and joining the team at East West Training Stables. 2013 should prove to be another awesome chapter in the life of the Keats’s with the merging of Monarch Equestrian Center and East West Training Stables!
We are lucky to have an incredible team of professionals helping us to keep the East West horses in tip top shape, including:
Ann Gillis of Santa Rosa Equine Practice (Veterinarian - 707-794-8090)
Larry Galuppo and all of the amazing UC Davis Veterinary Staff (530-752-0290)
Mario Bertoli of Bertoli Farrier Services (Farrier - 707-321-8148)
Margaret Manion (Physical Therapist - 707-292-9111)