I guess I am what some people refer to as a re-rider. Still a horse-crazy adult, I rode as a child, and as life happened, I fell away from the sport. I met Marsha in 2006 and began taking lessons with her shortly thereafter. Quickly, it was clear that Marsha has a special talent with equines and the people that love them. She is a complete horse person. I was so impressed with her ability to communicate in lessons, and to match rider to horse, that I started my then 6 year old daughter in lessons soon after. Marsha has started Katie slowly and correctly with an emphasis on the basics. In fact, other local trainers have commented to me on what a great start Katie has had with Marsha. Of course, Marsha will continue to train Katie into her junior years.
In addition to her talents as an instructor, she is a keen-eyed matchmaker between rider and horse. My partnership with my horse Pete is due to Marsha’s ability to seek out and find just the right horse for her clients. Please stop by the barn sometime and meet Pete. He’s the handsome bay, first stall on the right; 16.3 hands of personality. He’s my pride and joy.
If Marsha can’t find your dream horse, or he/she is not at her farm, she can certainly help you make one. As an experienced breeder, Marsha is in the process of helping me find just the right sire and dam for my daughter’s junior hunter horse- to- be. I know that she will be there every step of the way for us in this very exciting process.
I believe Marsha turns out a complete rider: one who is safe on or off the horse, one who can care for and train her horse, and one who can be competitive in the ring.”
-Eileen Slevin
“Everywhere we go people comment on Lydia’s excellent form and confidence
in the saddle. I always tell them it is due to Marsha’s fantastic
instruction and training techniques.
Marsha tailors her private lessons to best suit the needs, strengths and
weaknesses of the student. My daughter began as a timid rider, in less
than a year my daughter is a confident and safe rider.
Group lessons are great as well. Marsha is extremely diligent to
supervise and instruct each student throughout group lessons.
The atmosphere at Southern Oaks is professional, peaceful, encouraging
and fun. We love Marsha, she is an exceptional trainer and a woman of great
We feel blessed to know her.
— Nancy Ledford
There are many things that I will always remeber about my experience riding with Marsha. The “lightbulb” moments where things I have been struggling with for years made sense. The memories of seeing young horses ridden for the first time, and how relaxed and comfortable they are, and the smiling, knowledge-thirsty kids (and adults) that camp out by the arena to watch others ride and learn. But one moment clearly stands out that I think signifies the spirit of what Marsha is trying to accomplish. While at a local horse show, Marsha was schooling a bunch of students, kids and adults. She was coaching one child, 5 minutes away from her dressage ride time. Marsha answered her cell phone, seeing it was from a vet, as her horse was at UF for surgery. The news on the end of the phone was grave. The vet explained that her horse would need euthanasia for an untreatable condition. Stunned by the unthinkable news, she thanked the vet, wiped away a few tears, put her own emotions on hold, and proceded to lead the young child into the ring and call out her dressage test, in a clear and steady voice.. Such a strong display of charector has made a lasting memory for me, and has impacted many in positive way.
Thank you, Marsha, for all you have done! As you know, my daughter, Brenna, came to you, ready to sell her pony, Brumby, and terrified of riding. Her pony was being very naughty at the time, having run out of the ring with her almost everytime Brenna tried to ride her. The pony even jumped a three foot fence, from a standstill, with my daughter on her, attemping to get out of the dressage ring. You put Brenna on your 20+ year old pony, Bonnie, and let Brenna gain confidence and skill. Brenna moved on to several other of your ponies and, before we knew it, was back on her own pony. You have given Brenna new skills and confidence in herself. Today, Brenna and Brumby are competing locally in dressage together and having a great time. The pony is happy. The girl is happy. All is good in the world again. The only unfortunate thing is Brenna will eventually outgrow Brumby and that will break all our hearts! Thank you so much for bringing my daughter and her pony back together.
— Karen Murphy
Navajo Dancer (now called Danni) came to me in the fall of 2007 as a lesson pony/potential resale horse. My students love her to pieces, and every show she’s been to has been a good one for her and her rider. She’s a pleasure to work with, is wonderful with my students, and is easy to have around the farm. Marsha and I have kept in touch, and she’s been a great sounding board for new sales horses and potential horses for my students. Thanks Marsha!!!
— Heather Buras