Kirsi Nevalainen

Born in Finland, I grew up like any horse-loving girl spending most of my free time at the stables.
Already then I had a tremendous interest in becoming a professional equestrian.  As soon as I knew how to ride on a novice level I started to assist other riders with helpful advice. Before long I was asked to teach beginners at the local riding school that also sent me to the Finnish Instructor School in Ypaja for an assistant instructor course conducted by Kyra Kyrklund. I competed in both dressage and jumping regionally and nationally in Finland. When I was 19 I decided to move to Germany to study riding with Georg Heyser as a working student. This time in Germany convinced me that my future career was going to be with horses. 
After few years I relocated Stateside to California. There I studied biology in the University for a while. Before long I was back into horses. I ran successful dressage training stables in several locations in Southern California, Washington and Maryland. During these years I prepared myself, with the help of several well known masters, for the USDF Instructor Exams. I am certified up to fourth level with The United States Dressage Federation. Also during these years I competed successfully on several horses in dressage. My students improved and competed as well.
Currently I am training horses at the Mockingbird Hanoverian farms in Gavilan Hills, California. On these horses I compete up to FEI levels.
2009 I was selected to be one of  the dressage young horse and FEI horse developers by the American Hanoverian Society. Recently I rode 4-year old mares in Hanoverian performance test into elite status. 
Constantly I work on my own riding skills and knowledge by riding in clinics and attending Trainer Conferences. Starting 2009 I regularly take instruction from my two current coaches, Axel Steiner and Willy Arts. 
Keen on having a happy and comfortable horse to work with, I look for the best solution for each horse. Therefore I insist on having a well communicating team around me when bringing horses up the levels. A good saddle fitter, farrier, veterinarian, dentist and the feed supplier are very essential part of the team. Good footing in the arena is also on the list of essentials as well as the staff in the barn where the horses live in.
It is my pleasure to work with riders who understand that there are no shortcuts or gimmicks to learning. There is no substitute to an experience…Although a good way to complement knowledge, one can not learn riding by just reading books about it. A willingness to try to understand the process from the horse’s point of view is golden.
There are no three-day wonders. Horses need time. They are to be considered individuals just like us humans. They may learn different things, different ways at different rate.
My great love is to work with young horses as they are full of life-force and joy. They enjoy every new thing brought to them with pure curiosity. It is adventurous to see their mind working and experience their thoughts and actions.