When Shayna learned about the USA Paralympic Coaching program from Michel Assouline, she knew she had found her path. Shayna has dedicated countless hours to the sport, and had always wanted an academic certification as a Dressage trainer. This is widely offered in Europe, but has been missing in the United States.
Shayna knew this was the realm she belonged in. She loves working with Olympic caliber athletes and their horses. She is fulfilled by teaching them, guiding them, helping them test their limits, and then seeing them find their true potential. She also discovered the extremely collaborative Para-equestrian community. These amazing riders support each other as one tight-knit team; a camaraderie and support network that isn’t widespread in the able-bodied equestrian world.
Being a para instructor isn’t a profession to Shayna; it is her calling in life. She believes in classical riding and always putting the horse first. Her training methodology is simplistic and based upon first principles; the horse will always understand what you are telling them if you are clear and consistent. This comes from her mentor, four-time Olympian Stephen Peters. This simplicity unlocks growth for para riders; you don’t need full use of your legs to communicate with the horse, or all your limbs, or a lot of strength. There is a more profound bond, a more subtle means of communication, and a powerful understanding between horse and rider. This carries over into Shayna’s work with able-bodied riders; not everyone can do things the same way. The talent is finding the right way for everyone to achieve greatness.
That is why working with Bea has filled her with deeper meaning and purpose. Bea was in a deeply traumatic accident, physically and mentally. While she has lost the use of her legs, her bond with her horses has only grown stronger. This is a bond that Shayna understands deeply. When your spirit melds with an animal, you become one with them.