Megan Leonard is a USDF Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medalist located in the Bay Area of Northern California. Megan brings almost 20 years of experience teaching and training horses and riders in dressage.
Megan believes in ethical horse training without the use of artificial aids such as draw reins, martingales, side reins, or illegal bits. She thinks that dressage should be fun for both horse and rider and that training for expression through joy rather than through fear or compression is of the utmost importance for a happy and healthy partnership. As such, her horses are healthy, happy, and sound with well developed toplines and excellent work ethics, bringing joy to their
Megan got her start in riding early. She primarily rode in pony club and dabbled in hunters, equitation, and eventing before finding her love of dressage. In 2005, Megan bought Regentanzer (Rico), an 8 year old Holsteiner gelding. Rico was a beautiful mover with a great mind, but was green to dressage, having started his career as a combined driving horse.
Megan spent the next three years working on her C3 and B dressage pony club ratings, as well as climbing the levels of dressage. In 2009, Rico and Megan earned her Bronze Medal and the first two scores toward her Silver medal. Megan also earned her HA pony club rating in 2009, and in 2010 became the first person on the West Coast to earn the United States Pony Club dressage A rating.
Megan trained Rico to the Grand Prix in 2014, at the age of 18. He and Megan earned the scores for her Gold Medal and Rico was semi-retired.
With Rico taking a well-earned winter off, Megan began working with the three year old Friesian Sport Horse gelding, The Alchemist (TC). TC's great mind and willing attitude earned himself a permanent part of Megan's life and she bought him in 2015. Since then, TC has shown an unexpected talent for dressage. In 2017 the pair won USDF All Breeds at Training Level for the Friesian Sporthorse Association with a median score of 70%. In 2018, they competed at First level with scores through 73% and used 2019 as a development year to get TC ready to show at Third level in 2020. 2020 was a tough year for everyone, but TC scored to 70% at Third level with clean flying changes in all his tests. They took a couple of development years while Megan has been shifting her focus and learning more about taking a sometimes tricky horse beyond where his conformation may suggest his limitations would be. They plan to return to the show ring at the end of 2022 or in early 2023 with an improved methodology, stay tuned!
Megan started teaching lessons when she was 15, starting with pony club and taking students to schooling shows. In 2011, she coached her first rider to their Bronze Medal. Since then, Megan has trained multiple horses and riders in dressage through the Prix St George level. Megan has trained many different horses and riders in different disciplines; working with gaited horses, Western Dressage, Eventers, and trail riders looking to build strength and balance in addition to dressage-focused riders.
Educating horses and riders is both art and science. It requires a careful eye for the biomechanics of the horse and rider, paired with an extensive understanding of how to correct and develop the flaws in the basics. Megan draws from her pony club background, educational symposiums with Mary Wanless, and the multitude of experiences she has had under the best dressage trainers on the West Coast. She brings a systematic program thoughtfully to the level her student is at in order to develop a plan that will allow the horse and rider to achieve their goals - whether that’s moving up a level or building a correct topline.