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Bringing out the best in every horse...Sonja Biada
Sonja’s horse career started when she was 12-years old, in Northern California. She was a trail guide through the age of 16. During that time she took lessons from various people - both English and Western.  She helped one of the instructors give lessons to kids and beginners as well.  Sonja also worked with private horses, as people took a shining to her riding, handling and demeanor with horses. During this time she had opportunity to learn about and experiment with training horses as well. She competed in Western Pleasure and Equitation as a teenager. She continued to ride between the ages of 16 & 19, including becoming the first female “Assistant Wrangler” (person who works with horses) at a guest ranch in West Yellowstone, Montana at the age of 18. Around the age of 19 (the year 1984) Sonja started helping people in Northern California with their horses. She helped school and show some of these horses. She also taught riding lessons to adults and children, as well as coaching on general horsemanship and equine husbandry.

Sonja bought her first horse, Tez, in 1987. He was 3-months old at the time. She raised, started under saddle and trained him the way that felt "right" to her. She calls this "training through trust". Never did they argue, fight or struggle. She always took the time to let him know what was right was easy, and what was wrong was hard. She was patient and "listened" to him. This is just what felt right to her, and was how she handled all her animals.
Tez is still with Sonja, at the age of 21. He is a wonderful lesson horse, and some of Sonja’s students have been very successful in several disciplines, including dressage with him. He is still going to shows and going strong! He has also done many parades, some endurance rides, and trail ridden in several national and state parks.
In the early 1990’s Sonja learned about, followed, went to clinics, and studied what's called "Natural Horsemanship", and so much of it was familiar to her - just things she had done because being kind and patient felt right! At the time Sonja mostly trail rode (which she still does a bit of), and then became very interested in dressage. In the past several years Sonja has studied with many world renown clinicians (both dressage and other) such as Major Miguel Tavora  (dressage), Klaus Bergener (dressage - known as the "gentle general"); Jeremy Steinberg; Tina Steward; Seana Adamson; Erica Posely (the Seat Doctor); Harry Whitney  ("Natural Horsemanship") to name a few. 
Around May of 2002, Sonja took a job working for the very well-respected dressage trainer Darren Taplin She worked for Darren for approximately 8 months. Sonja worked with several of the horses Darren had in training. He valued her greatly for working with his young, green, problem or "scary" horses. She took the time to gain their trust and got further with them than anyone had prior to her being assigned to them. She also worked other horses in training - of all levels. 

During the year of 2003 Sonja worked for Terry Church for a short while, also working with horses who were just started, or not yet started. Terry was very pleased with Sonja’s training techniques, timing and demeanor. Terry studied with Tom Dorrance for 10 years or so, and had a slightly "different" approach to dressage, which was interesting for Sonja to learn, and as a result Sonja added a few of those things to her repertoire. 
Upon moving to Southern Oregon Sonja sought connection with the dressage community which led her to work for Angela Littlefield, an international Dressage Judge and well respected trainer/instructor. She worked with Angela’s personal horses as well as an occasional client’s horse. Sonja competed on one of Angela’s horses as well. Angela and Sonja remain friends and Sonja still enjoys taking lessons with Angela. Sonja also occasionally hosts “Ride-A-Test” clinics at Madrone Hill Ranch with Angela being the clinician.

Sonja believes strongly in continued education and therefore rides with clinicians as often as possible, generally once a month minimum. The most frequent instruction she is currently enjoying is by Tina Steward as well as Angela Littlefield.

On January 8, 2011 Sonja was elected for the coveted award of TRAINER OF THE YEAR 2010 by her peers at the Oregon Dressage Society, as well as High Point 2010 and Most Improved Score Horse/Rider Combo 2010.


Dressage . Training . Lessons .


Sonja & Art Biada Call: 541-582-1896 Cell: 541-840-5914
448 Foots Creek Road Gold Hill, Oregon 97525

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