Amanda ThurstoN

Trainer & Hunter-Jumper Instructor at Heart + Horse LLC

My love for horses began in Kindergarten after my first pony rides at Irvine Regional Park and beginning English riding lessons at Sycamore Trails and Rancho Sierra Vista. I joined the stellar Hunter-Jumper program at Mary Morrison's Ivy Gate Farm (Tar Farms) in the early 1990's-2000. Guided by Mary’s mentorship and profound talent in pairing a challenging horse with a determined young rider, I gained experience developing green prospects into polished sporthorses and crafted championship Hunt Seat Equitation.

Highlights of my junior equestrian athletic career include: Numerous OCHSA year end championships through Children’s Hunters, two OC IEL high-point division championships, "A-rated" competitions from Showpark Del Mar to Pebble Beach Equestrian Classic, and catch rides at Coachella's Desert Circuit (now HITS Thermal).

Graduating high school from St. Margaret’s Episcopal School as an award-winning Equestrian Athlete and scholar garnered me full-ride & merit scholarship offers to multiple Southern California universities. I earned a BA degree from University of San Diego in 2004. Since 2008 I’ve completed 300 hours of Yoga Teacher trainings and 2 certifications from Nosara Yoga Institute of Costa Rica.

Answering the lifelong calling to be a Horse Trainer after I found my way back to horses as an adult, after time away from the sport pursuing post-graduate education and more “traditional” careers. Thanks to my yoga experience, I quickly transformed my adult body to the support the fitness required of a professional Equestrian Athlete. I discovered my passion for coaching while entrusted to teach the riding school at Mary Gatti’s Rainbow Canyon Ranch in Azusa. Instantly, the mind-body-spirit connection I’ve always shared with horses came alive in my students’ lessons.

My daily mission in founding Heart + Horse is to empower my students with the finest tools I’ve acquired, to nurture both the Heart and the Horse.
— Amanda Thurston


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