Heidi Zorn of Premier Equestrian presented Nick Onoda with the Premier Equestrian Award at Seabreeze Farms Equestrian Center in San Diego, California (Photo courtesy Premier Equestrian – no photo credit necessary)
Sandy, UT (April 7, 2017) – In today’s world of high-pressure equestrian competition, it may seem that the principles of classical dressage – a holistic training approach that requires years to fully and correctly develop a horse – are becoming those of a dying art. It’s hard to deny that the demand for quick results and immediate gratification has spread even into the world of horse riding and training. For some equestrians, though, the value and relevance of the classical methods, which have been developed and perfected over thousands of years, continues to endure.
This is the case for dressage rider and trainer Nick Onoda, who was recently honored by well-known arena and footing company Premier Equestrian for his commitment to preserving the art of classical dressage. An accomplished rider and clinician with over 15 years of experience, Onoda has become one of few remaining champions of the classical riding tradition, following closely in the footsteps of masters such as Walter Zettl.
Heidi Zorn, President of Premier Equestrian, was pleased to present Onoda with the Premier Equestrian Award at his training base of Seabreeze Farms Equestrian Center in San Diego, California. As a part of the honor, Onoda received a tricolored ribbon and engraved silver award tray from Premier Equestrian. Recipients of the Premier Equestrian Award are chosen because they exemplify an exceptional commitment to maintaining the highest level of horsemanship and sportsmanship, and in doing so have contributed to the equestrian community at large.
Upon first meeting Onoda while he was training at Silver Tail Farm in Creswell, Oregon, Zorn was thrilled to find a like-minded horseperson who shares in her philosophy of putting the well-being of the horse first. As a trainer, Onoda employs a holistic approach to developing a horse’s natural biomechanics, while promoting its mental and physical wellness as a foundation to proper, kind, and correct riding. This mindset resonated with Zorn’s own philosophy for successful horsemanship and business practices at Premier Equestrian.
“Nick has a conviction to preserving the classical principles, and is charting the path forward,” Zorn observed. “I am a real advocate of keeping those principles alive and it was a passion of mine to preserve them, which is why we documented Walter Zettl in Premier Equestrian’s video series Matter of Trust. Nick isn’t interested in cutting corners; it’s more about a relationship with the horse and keeping true to his classical principles. We hit it off because his mission is my dream, too.”
Onoda has competed multiple horses through the lower and FEI levels in the U.S. and Germany, and was head rider to Stefan Wolff for six years; two of which were at the Westfalische Reit-und Fahrschule in Muenster. A clinician who taught sports psychology and classical riding in Norway and Germany, Onoda grew up training western horses in Northern California and has always enjoyed working with riders of various disciplines and horses of different breeds. He is especially passionate about helping riders develop clear communication with their equine partners.
Onoda’s perspective on riding echoes that of previous trainers who have worked to further the art of horsemanship in dressage. “Stefan Wolff, my mentor, was Klaus Balkenhol’s head rider and is an authority on developing horses in accordance with their physiology and psychology,” Remarked Onoda. “To me, that is something very important, and it is the emphasis of my training with all horses.”
Onoda now rides regularly with Olympian Guenter Seidel, and is staying true to his classical background. “That’s just how I want to ride,” reflected Onoda. “I don’t want to deviate from what I believe is good for the horse mentally and physically. Correct classical schooling embodies the value system that I think Premier Equestrian also embraces, and I think that is what we really need now in our sport.”
Onoda works from his home base, Seabreeze Farms, where he offers training, special young horse programs, trailer-in lessons, clinics, theory lessons, and more through Onoda Dressage. To learn more about Onoda Dressage, visit the website at www.onodadressage.com.
Premier Equestrian was proud to present Onoda with the Premier Equestrian Award, demonstrating that it’s just as important to recognize riders who display exemplary sportsmanship and dedication as it is to honor those who top the scoreboards in the show ring. Premier Equestrian is a leading supplier of world-class arena footing, picturesque dressage arenas, revolutionary horse jumps, books, DVDs, and more. For more information about Premier Equestrian and its full line of products and services, please visit the company’s official Facebook or Instagram page @PremierEquestrian or visit the website at www.PremierEquestrian.com.