About Marsha

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Marsha Hartford-Sapp is originally from Maine, coming to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University in 1998. After receiving degrees in Psychology and Political Science in 2002, she then returned for her Masters in Public Administration. Since delving into the professional equestrian community, Marsha's equestrian center has focused on the "Complete Equestrian Education", with a focus on developing the young horse, and developing the young rider. The equestrian center not only teaches classical dressage, but hunters, jumpers, and training the young horse from the ground up. Passionate about "least resistance" training, Marsha has made a name for herself nationwide with her effective training techniques and outstanding young horse development program. She has entered sucessfully, and made top 5 placing 3 different times in the national "Extreme Mustang Makeover" competition. Marsha has been the President of the Southern Hunter Jumper Association,  President for the Southwind Eventing and Dressage Association, and is a current coach for the FSU Equestrian team since 2004.

    Marsha Sapp also uses the Aspirant Technique, a sophisticated balance and timing of the aids developed by Carolyn Sharpe Rose at Isaac Royal Farm. The horse is asked to balance in self-carriage from the very beginning with light use of the reins. The horse comes through the back from the use of the seat so that the horse really dances with his rider. The horse learns to yield softly and be supple on both sides, staying relaxed and happy in his work. Marsha is a certified instructor of the Aspirant Technique.
     The philosophy at Southern Oaks  is to teach the rider the language of the horse to ensure that the horse enjoys his work and shows no resistance to training. 
      Southern Oaks Equestrian Center is the only location in the Southeast with a certified "Aspirant Technique" instructor, and is pleased to share it's intriuging, game changing ideals with others. 

An informational book series has been written by the master trainer Carolyn Sharpe Rose, and is available to students.


 Marsha has been featured in Horse Illustrated, Tallahassee Woman, Tallahassee magazine, WCTV's "People You Should Know", zootoo.com, and several other national publications. She has sent students to regionals and nationals in various disciplines, and has won numerous regional and national awards.



2007  Marsha's FSU team was #2 in the region, and Marsha sent 4 students to Semi-Nationals.

2008 Marsha's FSU team was #1 in the regional, and 7th at Semi-Nationals, and two students went to Nationals. Marsha's student Kate Gainey was #6 in the Nation.

2008 Vice president SWEDA - Southwind Eventing and Dressage Association

2008 Susan B Wager Senior Sportsmanship Recipient

2008 Coach of FSU Equestrian

2009 Vice president of SWEDA
2009 President of SHJA Southern Hunter Jumper Association

2009 Coach of FSU Equestrian

2009- Qualified two FSU Dressage team members for Nationals

2009 Selected for "Extreme Mustang Makeover" Trainers challenge. 

2009 Marsha and Assistant Trainer/ Student, Mary Berlauk both finished in top 5 for "Extreme Mustang Makeover."

2009 Official Host site for RPSI tour/inspection

April 2009 Featured in Tallahassee Woman Magazine

Sept 2 2009, Featured in WCTV's "People You Should Know"

 Oct 25th, 2009 Featured in National Pet Website

 Oct 24th 2009 Finished 5th in National "Extreme Mustang Makeover in Murfreesboro Tennessee.

Oct 31st-Nov 1 2009 Selected to ride in Clinic/Symposium with 6 time Olyimpian Robert Dover.

November 8th 2009- Offical Host site for North American Studbook, 2nd kuering in the USA ever.

 Published training/adoption tips for National Wild Horse Adoption Day 2009

2010 President Southern Hunter Jumper Association

2010 Vice president Southwind dressage and Eventing Assoc.

2010 Coach for FSU Equestrian

2010 Finished 24th out of over 100 horses adopted for the "Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover" is Forth Worth Texas.

2011- Started/ trained over 30 horses of varying breeds. 15 warmbloods, 3 American Warmbloods, Appolossa, Cleveland Bay, and a Gypsy Vanner. Also in 2011 started 6 completely wild mustangs.

2011- Had lessons and worked under over ten different nationally knowned and renowned trainers.

2011- Host site RPSI Kuering

2011- 5th Place horse in Legends Division in National "Extreme Mustang Makeover" Competition, Tennessee.

2011- Working Student Jessie Freeland placed 2nd in Idols division of "Extreme Mustang Makeover" Tennessee event.

2011 Sponsored rider for SandraB Designs

2011 Sponsored rider for Southern States

2011 Sponsored Rider for Town and Country Tack Shop

2011 Year End Champion SWEDA riding "PetersCreek Morning Glory"

2011 Year End Champion SWEDA Riding "COBRA"

2011 Year End Champion SWEDA High Score Riding "PetersCreek Morning Glory"

2011 Year End Reserve Champion SWEDA riding "Onyx" 

2012 Sponsored rider for SandraB Designs

2012 Sponsored by Southern States Feeds

Jan 2012 guest Speaker for Riders for Helmets Campaign, Wellington Fl

April 2012 Student Lisa Bailey placed 14th in Nation for IDA Dressage, Training level

Nov 2012 Guest Speaker for Thomasville Humane Society annual fundraiser

2012 Start of Southern Oaks IEA team

2013 Coach for Florida State University

2013 Sponsored rider for Sandra B Designs, Pony Express Tack Shop, Tallahassee Dodge and Woolington Resturant supply. Horses sponsored by TRIPLE CROWN feeds and Southern States.

2013 Demo rider at Equine Affaire, Ohio

2013 Many USDF wins riding "Cobra" a formally wild mustang through 3rd level, his first year of showing just 3 years out of the wild, and Teddy, a homebred RPSI Gelding.  Southern Oaks qualified 5 horses for Regionals at USDF region 3.

Fall 2013 start of Southern Oaks Academy

 USDF "All Breed awards for Nation:

Cobra- Reserve Champion all-breeds 1st level

Alexio 3rd in nation USDF all-breeds training level

Claim Your Pik 3rd in Nation all-breeds Training level

Sept 2013 3yo Mustang "Ty" wins $10,000 in Mustang Makeover in Hunter and dressage division. 120 days from Wild

Nov 2013 FSU Dressage wins High Point Team

April 2014 FSU student Lindsay Patt places Reserve National Champion For IDA
Sept 2014 placed top ten in National Mustang Makeover -Texas

Oct 2014 placed Top Ten in National American Horsewomans Challenge Oklahoma

Nov 2014 won Reserve world Champion in Musical Freestyle for WDAA  and multiple top ten finishes in World Championship show

Rules to Live by:

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1. Take into account that great love and great achievments take great risk.

2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

3. Follow the 3 R's: Respect for yourself, respect for others, responsibility for all your actions.

4. Remember not getting what you want can somethings be a stroke of luck.

5. Learn the rules so you can break them properly.

6. Don't let a little dispute ruin a great relationship.

7. When you realize you have made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

8. Spend some time alone each day.

9. Open your arms to change but do not let go of your values.

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11. Live a good, honorable life. That way, when you get older and look back, you will be able to enoy it a second time.

12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.

13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the present, do not dig up the past.

14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to acheive immortality.

15. Be gentle with the earth.

16. Once a year, go someplace you have never been before.

17. Remeber the best relationship is one where your love for each other outweighs your needs for one another.

18. Judge your success by what you had to give up to acheive it.

19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.