Hilary Dorris, also known as Hilary Hayward,  has been a Hunter/Jumper trainer for 25 years in Marin and Sonoma County, CA.  She has had many successful students who have competed at the rated shows in all divisions.   She received her United States Equestrian Federation jumper judging credentials in 1996.  Born and raised in Windham, Connecticut, Hilary’s first horse experience began at a race horse farm where she cleaned stalls in exchange for riding lessons.

Hilary is a true horse advocate and founded a non-profit horse rescue called Hoof Beats of America in 2006 . You can view the Hoof Beats blog at http://hoofbeatsofamerica.org.  During her time spent working with rescue horses that had never been handled, Hilary honed her natural horsemanship skills in order to reach them. She enjoys teaching people how to employ these techniques to help them establish a stronger bond with their horses.

Training philosophy: A horse speaks with his body and it is our responsibility once we step into their  space to learn how to speak horse.  I have found over the years that if you present a horse with a  question (will you change direction?) and then offer him the tools to answer it correctly, he will.  Sounds pretty simple, right?  Well, after forty some odd years of being around these  beautiful animals they still surprise me and each horse has it’s own lesson to teach.   I remind myself  when a horse shows me he’s confused or uncomfortable, that a horse will follow the path of least resistance, so make it easy for him to follow the path.  Each time you help him get it right you build trust.

Teaching:  I am not in a hurry, no plane to catch, no phone to answer, when I am working with a horse and rider.  You have my undivided attention and I will attempt to understand you as well as I understand your horse.  I have no desire to push you too far or too fast.  You are the one setting your goals and if you don’t have one I will help you choose one.  Riding well is challenging but ultimately it should be fun.  I enjoy teaching and my intention is to make the time we spend together productive and enjoyable.  I look forward to working with you.

~ Hilary Dorris


2 comments on “About

  1. Hilary is a fabulous communicator. I was fortunate to have her years ago as my Horse Handling teacher and Intermediate Riding teacher in my college Equine Science program. I don’t trust most trainers because, unfortunately, most don’t truly look out for the horses’ interests and think like a horse, and it’s often merely about control and domination rather than building a real trust and leadership relationship with your horse. I trust Hilary because she is amazing with the horses, and they respond so beautifully to her. I’ve seen her work panicked horses through some very dicey situations with poise and skill. She also is great at feedback and can identify what my weight, seat, hands, legs, eyes, or ego are doing or not doing to help or hinder my communication with the horse! I am now playing with/training my 3-year-old mustang filly as well as two other mustangs — amazingly wonderful horses, by the way — and I think of Hilary often with great affection and gratitude as I play with horses and advocate for wild horses as the Humane Observer. If you are within range of Hilary, you are most fortunate.

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