Young Professional Sarah Salas Brings Energy, Kindness, and Commitment to Chino Hills

by Pam Stein Moeck

Last week I sat down with new professional Sarah Salas at PI Equestrian in Chino Hills. The facility itself is gorgeous, with all the bells and whistles, including an incredible covered arena. The property is owned by Liz Jenkins and also houses Blair Niemcziek and BJN Dressage.

Sarah started her riding career as a teenager. She had always loved horses. She grew up in a very horsey area of California and had horses living behind her house. Because she had to pay her way, she took a job as a working student and quickly became the go-to rider for young horses and those who needed a tune-up.

Her determination to educate herself sent her to England for two years in 2018, where she worked at a prestigious racing facility where she assisted in riding, breeding, and foaling. When Brexit hit, she was unable to renew her visa so she came back and started working at PI Equestrian with its previous owner. Not only did she break, ride, and care for the horses but she also managed the barn. She gained a ton of knowledge from a wide variety of experiences while working for different barns and her working student years.

Sarah began to contemplate other interests. She had always been a Disney kid, so when a chance opening at Disneyland became available she decided to step back from training and have some fun. However, she just couldn’t walk away from the horses, and while talking to a friend decided to open her training barn, thus Storybook Performance Horses was born. The name is a nod to the Disney horses she had always loved and Sarah has jumped full force into training. When I asked her what type of horse she liked the most, for her, no question, babies.

Customer Kayla Lim and her horse Mercy.

Sarah has a very calm demeanor, when I was at her barn I watched her ride a particularly sassy young one and she was patient but firm and I could see this horse calm down and get to work. That kind of patience takes a special rider. Sarah’s philosophy is that horses need clarity. They are athletes and need to be given consistent cues. Keep them stimulated, going forward and giving them no choice but to pay attention. Her specialty is hunter/jumpers, although Sarah also incorporates dressage practices into every lesson. She loves to see her students succeed and grow. A partnership between horse and rider is really important to her, “Riding is supposed to be fun and if horse and rider are not suited for each other, then neither will enjoy their time together.”

Her customers are already big fans. Kayla Lim, and her horse Mercy, love the barn’s energy. Kayla says Sarah is a positive force, “She loves being with her students and their horses. She encourages everyone to be involved with barn chores and horse care. It’s a great place to ride.”

Sarah plans to hit all of the major shows in and around California with their barn debut at the Seaside show in Del Mar.

For Sarah, this new adventure is a true fairy tale ending! Good Luck Sarah Salas!

Contact Sarah at 909-569-7323 or SarahSalas322@yahoo.com.