BY SISSY WICKES
Just outside of Phoenix, Arizona in the beautiful desert town of Cave Creek lies the bucolic Bellisima Ranch, home of Becky Warner’s Morning Shadows Farm. At Morning Shadows, horses and riders of all levels enjoy personalized, superior care and training. Becky and her clients say the facility is “the most beautiful barn and unique facility in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.” Situated on 25 acres, the stable boasts 12×12 stalls with 12×16 open runs, two covered rings, an outdoor ring and track, and multiple turn out options. Morning Shadows offers the best in horse management and instruction for hunter, jumper, and equitation competitors from beginners to high performance.
Becky Warner’s resume is testimony to her long, successful career. She has learned from some of the best in the business: Victor Hugo-Vidal, Hap Hansen, Jeffrey Welles, Margie Hough, Tim Goguen, and Todd Minikus to name a few. While married to international rider Pierre Jolicoeur, she operated an international show jumping barn as well as competed on the Grand Prix circuit. As a young rider, she achieved second place in the running for the American Grandprix Association (AGA) Rookie of the Year. Becky not only excels in the jumper ring, but is also a successful competitor in the hunter rings. “I love to ride in all disciplines,” she explains. “I love the high and fast of the jumper ring, the pretty style of the hunter ring, and the precision of equitation.”
Most important to Becky is a high standard of horsemanship and horse care. Each horse is looked after diligently and she is proud of her dedicated grooms, most of whom have been with her for many years. “They love their horses. They know their legs and their moods and, most importantly, are aware of what is going on.” Horses at Morning Shadows benefit from individual grooming and feeding programs tailored to their needs. Training regimens include a comprehensive schooling plan, scheduled and managed weekly for owners and riders.
As with horse care, lessons are centered around each rider’s needs. Becky oversees her clients on a daily basis, even when they are not in a formal lesson. “Perfect practice makes perfect riding, “ Becky states. “I will help them to stay on track even if they are just hacking. As a training and teaching tool, Becky rides her clients’ horses as needed. “I love riding and teaching. I ride every horse in order to figure out what is going on with them. Then, I can better help their riders.”
Horse shows are an extension of the care and training routine that the Morning Shadows equine and human clients enjoy. Horses are ridden by Becky in the mornings before they show so as to improve their performance and minimize lunge time. Riders are trained with patience and prepared for their show ring performances. As one client explained, “Because [Becky] is always the first to arrive and last to leave, our horses and children are in the best of care at the horse shows. Clients learn about responsibility and the importance of a good work ethic and sportsmanship. I have observed and experienced her training style first hand as horses and riders flourish under her tutelage.”
Becky Warner and Morning Shadows Farm are a jewel in the Arizona desert. Young horses and riders, experienced competitors, and all those in between can rely on best practices with regard to training and horse care. Another client explains, ”Riding and horse ownership have been both a passion and a privilege throughout my life and I therefore aspire to always surround myself with others that share these same core values. From the moment I stepped into Becky’s stable, I knew I had found that horsewoman.”
Learn more about Morning Shadows Farm at morningshadowsfarm.com or contact Becky at 602-828-0214.
About the Author: Sissy is a Princeton University graduate, a lifelong rider and trainer, a USEF R rated judge, a freelance journalist, an autism advocate and Editor of The Plaid Horse. Her illustrious resume includes extensive show hunter and jumper experience. She lives with her family in Unionville, PA and Wellington, FL.
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