February 2018 - On The Move
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 21:04

Amber Smigel relocates to Trails End Ranch in Orange County.

With reining trainer Dallas Wedel moving his business to San Diego County, the opening at Trails End Ranch was perfect for dressage trainer Amber Smigel to move her growing training business. She was already familiar with Trails End Ranch, as her retired dressage horse PopGunn happily lived out his retirement years at Jo Ann Kass’ beautiful Orange County equestrian facility.

Trails End Ranch dressage arena complete with mirrors.

Amber Smigel had been working in Southern California since 2007, most recently out of the Coto De Caza Equestrian Center. She really appreciates all the positives she has with her move to the more private facility. Amber is a key part of the barn management and she works closely with Jo Ann Kass. That makes the oak tree covered 15-acre facility even more to her liking because keeping on top of the horse management is as important as the training. A full-sized dressage court complete with mirrors, a large barn, corrals, turn-outs, tack rooms and trailer parking are perfect for Amber and her clients.

Trails End Ranch barn and cross-ties are inviting for horse and rider.

Amber Smigel is a United States Dressage Federation Gold Medalist and has reached the highest levels in the sport of dressage on horses that she has trained herself from the ground up. “I like to give horses a chance to grow up before I begin serious work under saddle. All of my training comes from a classical, conservative background that follows the six most important aspects of dressage: rhythm, suppleness, contact/connection, impulsion, straightness and collection.”

Amber truly rode before she walked. From the time she first sat up straight, she was sitting in a saddle in front of her mother cooling out horses after workouts at their North Carolina family farm. When she turned 5, Amber began showing and was soon competing at the recognized shows alongside her mother. Amber won numerous year-end, high point awards and show championships in hunter pleasure, western pleasure, sidesaddle and dressage with her Arabians as a youth rider. As a teenager, Amber went shopping for an Arabian that would take her to the regional and national level. She met PopGunn (Ghost) at Swanson Arabians and fell in love. After winning championships in Country Pleasure and Show Hack, they won their first of many regional awards. Amber then took on the task of retraining Ghost for the dressage arena and committed herself solely to the sport. Amber and Ghost finished top 10 at the US Arabian Nationals and earned numerous USDF awards.

Amber schooling Shines And Foxy Too, a Quarter Horse owned by Jo Ann Kass.

When she turned 18, Amber and Hanoverian breeder Hans Lengers of Indianland Farm selected a young colt of two months and named him Dow Jones. The pair has risen through the levels winning numerous honors including her Gold Medal in 2013. Amber also owns Dow’s full brother, Dijon, and together they are schooling Grand Prix and are planning on showing in his first Grand Prix sometime this spring.

Amber’s working goal is to attain the 5* rating as described by the CenterlineScores (CLS) Rider Rating™ system, which requires 20 points on two horses at the Grand Prix level. See www.CenterlineScores.com/Home/AboutTheRatings for more on this new rating system.

Highly Regarded

Amber continues to build upon her training with some of the most renowned trainers such as David Wightman, Stephen Birchall and Conrad Schumacher. David states, “Amber does a super job coaching her students as well as riding and training her horses. She takes excellent care of her horses.” Bettina Loy says, “Amber Smigel is an upcoming classical trainer in Orange County worth giving a look at. She has done her homework. She is a good horsewoman who keeps up her own training by participating in clinics with top trainers including riding with Conrad Schumacher twice a year.” Stephen Birchall comments, “Amber’s classical foundation combined with her commitment to her horses well-being, make her not only an excellent trainer, but an effective one for producing results up the levels.”

Amber’s clients cover a broad spectrum. Some are serious about showing; others are just enjoying their horses and improving their riding. Amber’s experience with working with many different breeds including Arabians, Friesians, Quarter Horses and Warmbloods makes her very popular with her clients.

She is a caring instructor who strives to give her students the same lifelong joy and passion that she feels for the horse.  She emphasizes kind, gentle, and classical training for both the horse and the rider. “Horses have given me so much. I truly enjoy helping others to share the experience of connecting with their equine partners.”


To meet Amber and tour Trails End Ranch, contact her at 949-355-5622, www.AmberSmigelDressage.com.