June 28, 2022 — For anyone that needs to sharpen their equestrian skills or is simply curious about horses, there’s a new option in the Siuslaw Region. Pacific Coast Equine (PCE), located south of Florence, provides instructions on all things horses, for beginners and experienced riders alike.
“I run a lesson program that teaches horsemanship from the ground up,” said Sandi Anderson, PCE’s owner/instructor. “It's not just about riding lessons. It's about learning how to handle your horse, care for your horse and groom your horse, everything.”
Anderson’s lesson program is comprehensive and recognizes the importance of the relationship of between the horse and rider.
“I have a saying that the horse you lead is the horse you ride,” she said. “If you are unable to handle a horse on the ground, your chances of chances of success in the saddle are not going to be that great. My program focuses on horsemanship as well as riding components.”
Anderson, originally from Crow, Ore., brings a wealth of knowledge acquired through a life spent around horses.
“I grew up with horses,” said Anderson. “That, in and of itself, does not qualify me, but I did, from an early age, start competing in horse shows. I was lucky enough to have a wonderful trainer/instructor that prepared me very well for the show pen, in my riding skills and, because there can be a lot of pressure when competing, mentally.”
Anderson competed in 4H and in open and regional competitions as a youth. She has continued to keep informed on what is expected from competitors in competition even after she, herself, stopped competing.
“Things that were relevant when I was showing as a kid are not necessarily happening now, so you have to keep your finger on the pulse of what is relevant today,” she said.
Florence residents and visitors to the area have, for years, relied on C&M Stables, north of Florence, for their equestrian needs. Though C&M does offer lessons, it specializes in the one-day experiences like beach rides that are popular with tourists.
Anderson focuses on instructional work and requires a commitment from her students.
“PCE requires its students come [to the stables] at least once a week for an hour,” Anderson said. “Sometimes it’s less for younger students, but I like my students to constantly be making progress towards their goals. I like the kids to have goals and update those goals as they are met.”
Though a majority of PCE’s students are young, Anderson stresses that she welcomes all ages and has had students up to 70 years old.
In June, PCE hosted its first competition. This gave its students a chance to share what they’ve learned with friends and family and also gave themselves a chance to get their “hooves wet” in the show pen, as the experience can be daunting for the uninitiated.
“Going to a show at a barn or facility can be very intimidating and confusing,” explained Anderson. “I produced a show for my students so they could walk through the process of entering, know when the deadlines are, understand the costs involved and to simply make sure they are entering the appropriate class.”
The show gave PCE students a chance to see all that goes into preparing themselves and their horses for competition because, according to Anderson, “you can’t just roll out of bed and put your horse in the trailer and go to the horse show.”
Preparation for a show starts way before a horse enters the ring.
“With horse shows in particular, there is a lot of grooming and preparing,” said Anderson. “The students attended grooming clinics, there was lots of washing and clipping horses; the students were basically responsible for getting their horses ready the night before and in the morning.”
None of Anderson’s students own their own horses, so they were all assigned one for the competition using a random drawing. The students and their horses were split into teams, and they competed for individual and team trophies.
“The students lifted each other up and encouraged each other,” recalled Anderson. “Even when somebody came out of the show pen without winning a ribbon, they [their fellow students] let them know they did a good job. They stepped into something they had never done before and the kids really lifted each other up. It was really cool.”
Anderson offers different options for people looking to get to know horses a better or just to sharpen skills they already have.
Rainbow Riders is for youth 6 years old and younger.
“Rainbow Riders is about safety and just learning to be in the presence of a horse,” said Anderson. “These horses are big and are flight animals. Even though they are domesticated they’ve never lost the fact that when a horse moves, it moves in a big way. Getting these little, tiny kids to understand spatial awareness is important.”
The program for kids over six years old is similar, just at a different level.
“We do the same type things with the older kids,” said Anderson. “Learning about the care and maintenance of a horse is important. A lot of people don’t understand what it’s really like to own a horse. We also cover communicating and working with a horse.”
Individual and private lessons are also available. Group lessons will be available eventually.
PCE is located at Richard and Pam Palmer’s /p Ranch (pronounced “slash-p” Ranch) at 83973 Clear Lake Road.
For more information, visit PCE on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pacificcoastequine97439, or email [email protected]