Philosophy: Be the calming member of your herd
I commonly refer to the rider and horse as being a "herd". In a herd, if a member reacts to an object with fear, the horse will mirror that fear as a matter of survival. It's the human's job to instill bravery and confidence to the horse.
About Laura Claman
I began training horses and riders in 1985. Training is still part of my life; but I'm really happy to have opened a shop that reflects my eclectic horse background. I started the shop in 2020 selling consignment saddles, offering repair and fitting services, and promoting local artisans. Now in 2022, I've begun carrying more consignment tack and clothing as well as retail products that I use and recommend to my clients.
My experience ranges from my days swimming with horses at SJ Riding Camp, fox hunting with Shallowbrook Equestrian Center, having a horse at home since 6th grade and galloping through the state forest with Reddington Rock Riding Club. Showing was only a minor part of my passion for riding. I designed tack with Smith-Worthington Saddlery, managed a tack shop for 6 years, and have fit tack to schoolies and summer camp horses for more than 30 years.
After starting riding western at age 4, I then began hunt seat at age 11. I developed my dressage skills beginning at age 17, and finally, eventing with its cross-country excitement, grabbed me at about age 20. I apprenticed with a reining trainer while in NY at 19. I participated on a show team, fox hunts, drill team, horse training, and eventually taught riding at Shallowbrook Equestrian Center in Somers, CT. At other facilities, my job duties have included managing a large group of horses, scheduling 50 girls riding twice a day, taking out overnights, overseeing (I was a lifeguard for 30 years) swimming with the horses, and training other riding instructors. Involvement as a young girl with 4-H and FFA was beneficial. At 18 and 21 I participated in two CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) instructor clinics at SJ Riding Camp in Ellington, CT, to become an English and western First Class Certified Instructor. I have been teaching riding since 1983.
I served on the Board of Directors for Connecticut Dressage and Combined Training Association (CDCTA) as secretary and then as the editor of the newsletter over a course of 15 years and most recently as the 2018 President. I volunteered many hours organizing clinics and horse shows. I've participated in the training for the "r" eventing judge's license with the USEA and USEF. It was a great experience. I focus on training and less on showing and judging; although, I am available for judging schooling shows. I'm currently on the BOD for Reddington Rock Riding Club working on projects for the facility (new arena, forest management, building obstacles and cross country jumps) as well as improving horse trails in the local area.
Of course having a horse at home was and is an educational experience. You learn horse management and experiment with horse riding. My house is right next to Shenipsit State Forest. When we were kids, we would come home from school and go galloping bareback around the forest. These days the idea of youngsters running around on horses with no helmets seems inconceivable. Well, that was the late 70s and safety has come a long way.
The style of teaching that I use combines my years of riding, teaching, and study of educational psychology. During my 40+ years of riding I have been a western rider, hunt seat rider, reining trainer, eventer and dressage rider. I've been taught by some Olympians as well as many other instructors not as famous but equally as important to my education. My training philosophies are influenced by trainers such as Billy Smith, Sylvia Loch, Denny Emerson, Charles de Kunffy, Henry Wynmalen, and Sally Swift. I sit down with new clients and make-up a plan with goals specific to their needs. As an instructor I'm patient yet demanding, I encourage the positives and have a large bag of exercises for every issue that needs attention. My lessons are safe and informative.
B.A. at ECSU in psychology. 1991
Connecticut state teacher's license. Middle school language arts and social studies. 2001.
M.A. in gifted and talented educational psychology. UConn 2007
“Laura is an excellent teacher building both my confidence and my skill set as I take up riding again in middle age, after decades away."
Eliza, Stafford Springs, CT
“"Laura Claman - amazing horse trainer and coach, confidence builder for both horse and rider through patience, caring and commitment, addressing the needs of both rider and horse."
Kelly, Tolland, CT