I have been training with Alana at SunFire for 18 months now, and could not be happier. In a year and a half I have gone from jumping 18" cross-rails to doing 2'6" courses with confidence. Alana has a number of horses available for lease and lessons, and a great eye for human-horse dynamics so every rider is matched with a horse that fits his or her learning needs. As an instructor, Alana knows when and how to push a rider and does so with encouragement and absolute belief that you can do what she's asking. She is a solution-focused teacher who will help you make and stick to a plan to reach your goals, whether they be teaching your baby horse to canter right or going to your first three-day-event this year (two of mine!).
As a barn, SunFire is free of drama and everyone is encouraging and happy to help you with anything you need, from giving buckets if you're out of town to helping you set jumps and critique your position. With two spacious arenas and plenty of field space there is always somewhere to ride, even when everyone shows up at the same time. Alana is happy to have students watch one anothers' lessons and helps observers understand the reasoning behind each of her instructions, which is a great way to train your eye and think about how to address all kinds of different problems when riding. For younger students there are plenty of lesson ponies, each with their own lesson-pony spunk to teach younger riders how to deal with all kinds of horses, but all of whom will take good care of kids.
Alana also provides plenty of opportunities for riders to get "extra-curricular" training. We go cross-country schooling often, and eventing trainer Yves Sauvignon and dressage coach Tina Steward each visit the barn a few times a year for clinics. I could not recommend SunFire Eventing Center and Alana more highly, for riders of all ages and experience levels.
I bought my mare Zella, as a green broke 4 year old with the intent of teaching her to jump. After about a year and half of excruciatingly slow progress at a hunter barn, she began to develop some bad habits- bucking at the canter, refusing cross rails, and rearing. It began to shatter my confidence, so I put her up for sale. I thought it would be easier to sell her if I put her in training, so I moved out to SunFire. Alana helped me fix her rearing problem in ONE lesson. After that one lesson, I took her off the market. In just 6 short months, Zella went from refusing cross rails to honestly coursing 2’6” and schooling up to 3’.
Alana was able to help me make Zella into what I wanted her to be. Alana simply gets horses and is able to convey to riders how to work them. She saw past Zella’s bad habits and saw her intelligence, athleticism, and enthusiasm. She knows how to push a rider and I’ve got my confidence back. She’s positive, realistic, and fun!
At SunFire, the facilities are lovely. Zella is so happy now. She lives in a huge pasture with a great bunch of ponies. The arena is great in any weather. The rates are very reasonable for both the facility and the quality of instruction. Everyone at SunFire is friendly. I have never been much of a competitor and used to get anxiety at shows. SunFire provides the supportive environment that makes events and shows enjoyable.
My 25-year old gelding is enjoying his much-deserved retirement in a beautiful grass pasture at SunFire, and couldn't be happier. The barn manager, Lisa, is really attentive and does a great job of looking after his special senior horse needs. I don't ride him anymore, but SunFire has many lesson horses available for riders of different disciplines and experience levels. Some are school masters, others are recently rescued OTTBs - all are hard-working with sweet dispositions. Alana is a very encouraging and patient trainer, and the lesson and lease rates are both very reasonable. I look forward to my rides at SunFire every week!
I've been riding with Alana and SunFire since 2007, and I've never been happier! I started out barely knowing how to jump, and on the very first day she matched me up with my 5-year long partner Mighty Mouse who worked up with me to jump 3'3" courses with ease. As if just jumping wasn't great enough, she introduced me to the world of dressage and eventing! With her (and everyone at the barn's) help, I've fallen in love with the sport which now highlights my summer! Alana has also introduced me to the wonderful world of OTTBs (off the track thoroughbreds), and her work in rehabbing, retraining, and rehoming these wonderful horses is amazing and is a true inspiration: She never gives up on these horses, who often face many physical and even psychological challenges from their time on the track, and gets them to show their true colours as great companions and partners.
Even with the Dressage+Jumping Beast (aka Mighty Mouse) temporarily out of commission due to an injury, I'm perfectly happy just going to hang out on the fence watching him be fat and happy out in the large grass-filled pasture and chatting with the people who always find a way to make my day brighter. I have always been shy and have had difficulty making friends, but I found it easy to be around the people at the barn and have gained true friends from so many here. All of the people at SunFire are kind and helpful, and are spectacular support for confidence at anything, be it a lesson with scary jumps at home or a show.
SunFire is where I go to destress and have fun no matter the day. I absolutely love the place, and I can't imagine being anywhere else. I couldn't ask for any better people, horses, or facility!