Vanessa has been at Essex for the last 20 years. First as a student riding and showing successfully on the northeast circuit and then as a trainer with clients that compete at local and national competitions.
Vanessa takes great pride in the accomplishments of her students and prides herself in finding the perfect match for client and horse. Several of those matches have taken top honors on the New Jersey Circuit, capturing year end and series awards.
Vanessa rides and shows competitively herself, while still enjoying the success of both the horse and the client at the shows.
As a trainer Vanessa enjoys seeing her students go from their first time on a horse to their first three foot course. Many students have the goal of showing, but riding success at all levels is the real goal. For the client to know they are getting the best fundamentals and learning to work with the horse for the ultimate goal of great horsemanship. From the ground up, Vanessa wants to make her client develop a relationship with the horse that translates into a fluid ride. It's the details that count!
At the age of 8, Sheila was asked what she wanted to do when she grew up. She knew exactly what her answer was - to teach horseback riding. Now she has celebrated over 50 years of teaching at Essex Equestrian Center!
Over those 5 decades Sheila has taught many students, often from the same family over multi-generations. When you meet Sheila you will find that she is kind, easy to talk to, and offers a wealth of experience.
Among her many accomplishments, Sheila competed at Madison Square Garden in 1959. In 1961, she won New Jersey's Professional Horseman Association Junior Jumper Champion and she was Reserve Champion in the Junior Jumper Class at Garden State.
Sheila is not only an instructor- she also runs her own barn where she cares for 12 horses. Sheila will take a first time rider and give them a better understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it so that the rider and horse become one! Sheila works with any level of rider, from beginners to even instructing other trainers.
Susan has been with Essex for a long time. She has spread her expertise to all levels of riders both at home and at horse shows. Susan takes pride in her ability to take riders from their first lesson all the way to their first horse show successfully.
This last year alone Susan's students have had success from the leadline division to the Children's Ponies. She enjoys teaching all levels of riders at home and furthering her student's education of horses both in the saddle and on the ground.
Susan is always open to new students, no matter their goals. She loves to meet prospective clients in person - if you are interested in training with Susan, inquire about the days that she will be at EEC.
Chris began his career at Essex when it was known as Montclair Riding Academy.
Riding both English and Western in local and regional horse shows, Chris' preferred events were jumpers. He continued to ride during college as part of Centenary College's nationally recognized intercollegiate equestrian team. He earned a BS in Equine Business Management which included classes in riding and instructional methods.
Chris' teaching philosophy is that great riders begin with a strong foundation in the basics along with a healthy love and respect of their equine partners. Chris mostly works with both adult and child beginners to build a base both on a horse and off. He is also the director and the instructor for the Summer Riding Program, which focuses on both first-time riders and advanced equestrians looking to further their knowledge of the horse world.
Ashton began riding in the middle of New York City while attending Trinity school on Manhattan's upper west side. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Equine Studies from Virginia Intermont College.
Ashton is the Head Coach of The New York University Equestrian Team which trains at EEC. Since he began training the team in the 2006/2007 season, they have won two consecutive Intercollegiate Horse Show Association year-end regional high point team championships and one reserve championship. In addition, Ashton is the Head Coach of the Princeton University Equestrian Team. He coached his Princeton team to the same year-end championship in a separate region in 2006.
Representing his alma mater he has won four IHSA national reserve championships. Ashton has competed at major "A" rated horse shows throughout the east coast, from Lake Placid to Lexington.
He has taught at EEC for over two decades and offers instruction in Hunter Seat Equitation through the open level.
Jennifer Griggs grew up riding near Nashville, TN, where she spent all her middle and high school years as a working student for trainer Joy Walter (now owner of Cabin Run Equestrian in Bucks Co, PA). Here she was involved in many aspects of caring for the farm, barn work, horse care, riding, teaching, etc - in exchange for lessons, training and showing. She worked with many different horses during this time, and showed in equitation/medal classes, hunter divisions, and child/adult jumpers in Tennessee and Kentucky.
While in college at Tennessee Tech University, Jen maintained a riding program and managed a small barn where she taught lessons, held guest clinics, summer camp, and traveled to shows in the middle TN area. Some of her former students are now very successful in the Interscholastic and Intercollegiate associations.
Jen came to the northeast to study at the Yale School of Music, and joined the Essex team in 2012. She is excited to share the joy of horses with others, and hopes to instill good horsemanship skills in her students both in and out of the saddle.
She is also the Head Coach of the EEC IEA team. Since she took over, both the middle and high school teams have had great success riding in competitions from the flat level through open fences. Jen also runs IEA shows at EEC with great success and organization.
DJ started riding at EEC when she was just 6 years old and has over 20 years of experience. Growing up at EEC DJ quickly learned vital skills such as mutual respect, trust, bravery to overcome, patience, compassion, and responsibility that needed in the equestrian world (and in life!) in and out of the saddle and is passionate about passing this on to her students. She rode competitively in the junior hunters throughout school and rode in college. DJ is passionate about building up her students whether it be to compete in shows or to simply connect, bond with, and understand the horse. DJ stresses the importance of her students not only learning new skills in the saddle but understanding WHY we do what we do with our horses and the impact we have on these amazing creatures.