Amanda ThurstoN

Head Trainer & Hunter-Jumper Instructor at Heart + Horse LLC

I provide show-circuit quality Hunt Seat Equitation training and horseback riding lessons in a friendly, community atmosphere at Serrano Creek Ranch.

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. Thanks to Mary’s mentorship and profound talent in pairing a challenging horse with a determined young rider, I gained the experience to train green prospects into polished sporthorses and crafted championship equitation.

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

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

After years away from the sport, pursuing post-graduate education and more “traditional” careers, I found my way back to horses – answering the lifelong calling to become a horse trainer. Thanks to my yoga experience, I quickly transformed my adult body to the capacity 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.