Who We Are

Elizabethfirmly believes that learning should never end, and so she started BellaMar to encourage education at every level of the equestrian experience. The utmost goal being that the rider has a balanced effective seat in any discipline, so that they can continue to develop and succeed. She supports this idea by bringing clinicians in weekly, quarterly, and by participating in an annual teacher training. As a balance to the skills and knowledge gained from lessons and training, riders are encouraged to compete as that is another way to test and hone abilities. Elizabeth herself has shown in the hunter/jumper arena, on the hunt field in Ireland, and in the dressage ring arena competing through Prix St. Georges.

Elizabeth started teaching riding in 1995, teaching kids as young as three years old to ride naughty ponies. She continued teaching through high school as well as in college to supplement her hunter/jumper competitions. After graduating from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, she worked for Sandy Howard at American Sporthorse in Santa Cruz. With Sandy she studied the “Bio-mechanics” of the rider’s seat, specifically in dressage. Since then she has continued her education with Mary Wanless, Joanie Bolton, Yves Savingnon, Kelly McKnight, Samantha Scanlan, and Ruth and Dick Widger.

Elizabeth is excited to have the riding school of her dreams as well as an active training program for horses in need of an education. She has worked with many hunter/ jumpers and eventers; teaching them that there is more than using reins and spurs to get around a course, instead bringing her knowledge of bio-mechanics to create a balanced and connected horse and rider team.

Catiehas been working at BellaMar since it first opened in 2012. Catie’s background is in hunter/ jumper and draws on experiences from riding with trainers such as the DeLeyer family, Dick Widger, Ruth Widger, Mickey Hayden, Peter Weinberg, Greg Best, Kelly Maddox, Samantha Reid- Scanlan, Joanie Bolton, Mary Wanless and more over the years. Catie believes that every trainer has something to offer and loves to call on other professionals for training with students and horses to keep the education going.

As a junior rider on the east coast Catie was awarded year end titles in the equitation and hunters. She later would move to California and gain year end titles in the equitation and jumpers. As a junior and an amateur she placed in and qualified for a number of medal finals. Having not grown up with an unlimited budget for horses or shows, a lot of Catie’s experience comes from working with green or project horses and taking every opportunity she could to ride when she was younger.


Catie loves to train horses and riders over jumps with a strong emphasis on flatwork to build strength and correctness. She really enjoys getting to work with horse/rider combinations to help develop the technique and partnership in and out of the show ring. Working with young horses and ponies is another interest of Catie’s as she has formed a strong feel over the years for finding them the right job. Currently, Catie finds her own riding passion in developing horses for the hunter arena and working with pony prospects. Having coached at Pony Finals, she hopes to be back again one day with a student or one of her training ponies.

Since working at BellaMar, Catie has also taken her training in the hunter/jumper arena and expanded it with components of dressage and biomechanics to create a well-balanced seat. She applies this when working with students training to jump by helping them develop a greater feel in the saddle. Catie's background complements Elizabeth’s to create a well rounded program. They both share strong values around horse care and rider education.

Vickihas been passionate about horses and obsessed with being out in nature with them her whole life. Her early life was filled with trail riding and camping with her dad and the horses in Southern California. She became a competitive equestrian early on, and in 1988 she quit riding and moved to Santa Cruz to pursue a BA in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

After missing the horses and the positive influence they had on her life, in 1992 Vicki began her professional career by founding Ridgemark Farm, LLC.. Vicki's students have won numerous National and State Hunter, Jumper and Equitation awards. Vicki prides herself on her commitment to continuing education within the horse industry. She regularly attends clinics and seeks counsel from 1988 Silver Medalist Greg Best, 1996 Olympic Course Designer Linda Allen, and multiple time National Champion Hunter/Jumper Trainer Jim Hagman.

Over the past 10 years, Vicki has become devoted to the work of Buck Brannaman, and has been a regular participant in his Northern California clinics. In 2013 she began to study with Sport Psychologist Carrie Wicks Ph.D and is a graduate of herW(I)NNER'S CIRCLE program. She also completed the educational programs ofEquine AlchemyandCreative Awakenings Internationalwhich were both pivotal turning points in her life. Through her work with the above mentors she created a program called 'Horse(wo)manship'. Using observation of the horses in their herd, exercises with them in the round pen, journaling, and guided meditation, Horse(wo)manship participants delve deep into the exploration of the Self. Participants learn specific tools that help them meet their personal challenges with both strength and grace as well as techniques which enable them to live their very best, most authentic lives.

BellaMar Training Stables & Riding School 2021 - 151 Casserly Road. Watsonville, CA 95076 (978) 505-1778