Client Testimonials

Our clients speak on our behalf:

Phoebe & Veronica
Unknowingly Influenced Some People:
Email received from Heather Stiffel in March 2012: "I wanted to tell you how much it helped me to watch the videos of you riding Veronica in FL. I was able to watch you ride her baby spooks and quickly bring her back and then make the next moment awesome and then the next moment even better and so on. I studied the videos 4 times and then and then went into a new facility today that I don't even know with Goldie and warm her up with tons of crazy stuff going on and get her ready for her tests. She then went into the tests with a couple of big half halts just to tell her I was right there with her and did her job like a champ. Not even a bobble or a miss step and the crowd at the end of the arena was 3 times as big as when we warmed up. The judge told me that was lovely riding and I would love to have that ride on the USDF TRAINING TAPES! So, even with you miles away in FL, you and Veronica coached me through a super show and a wonderful score for Goldie. So, hurry up and get home from FL so that I can get a lesson in before you have to get your stupid taxes done!"

Email received from Kelsey Brinegar in July 2012: "I just wanted you to know what a huge impression your temperament with your horses has made on me in the last couple of years. All the horses in your barn are happy as hell, and it is obvious that they like you and really WANT to work for you. Seeing you with Veronica, in the stall, the night last month made me realize that my attitude toward my mare was getting me no where. I have now made a conscious effort to get her to like me and now I realize how much I like HER!! I try to appreciate my horses even when they are rotten, and now, never take any anger out on them. Sometime I do not do as well, but I always think of you to make myself straighten up and fly right! I learn from you even when I'm not riding in a lesson, and wanted you to know that your personality and positive attitude with your horses, esp your relationship with Veronica, doesn't go unnoticed by the little people like me."

Note from Phoebe: How cool it is to have both of you positively influenced by my relationship with Veronica!!! She is just the most wonderful baby ever and because of our bond, she always looks to me for reassurance under saddle. When I first started showing her, she was uncomfortable walking around the show grounds, so I just stopped doing that and rode her -- she looked to me for confidence and never doubted me. By taking that approach, she has been confident walking show facilities after her 3rd showing experience. Every youngster is different, but, I will always stick to my motto: there is nothing more satisfying then a great mare!! I know both of your mares well and once you take the time to get into their heart, they will be absolute superstars, much like my wonderful BabyV!!!!! That mare must knicker to me 50 times a day as I walk by her stall at least that many times daily.....she sure is a special horse and it warms my heart for both of you to notice that fact!

From: Tiffany Muth & 'Ice' & 'Cap'
Email Received June 2012: "My first lesson at your farm was awesome! I've had a lot of trainers in my life and Claudia was warm hearted and could pin point the direction that me and my horses want to be striving toward. I was amazed how much I learned in just one lesson. Thornridge Manor is a wonderful place -- everyone at the farm was very welcoming. I enjoy my time there and the lessons, for Claudia has a wonderful way of teaching and her attitude in doing so as an instructor are one of a kind. She is a friend but also very good and knowledgeable at what she does. You both have an amazing place to attend and ride to gain from. Thank you!"

From: Jacqueline Caldwell
& JC's Keely of Texel
Compiled from email:

Email received on March 23, 2012:"I cannot 'Thank You' enough for the opportunity this week has provided Keely and myself. I looked over my original training plan that I had sent in with my application. To think that I was hoping to get solid in Second Level! I still cannot believe how far we were able to get this week and how much my riding has improved, not to mention where Keely is in her training. Some how the pieces are coming together and will only get better. It was really wonderful to be able to spend time with you and Claudia, who has a vested interest in how we are doing, and be able to watch both of you ride. I really wish I could do this every six months. All I do know: instead of the dream of riding Keely down the center line of a GP test, today I felt like I could have been on that c-line for real with the proper training and strength that you have helped both my horse and I achieve within this entirely too short week!"

Note from Phoebe: Jackie sent this email to Claudia at the end of her Carol Lavell Gifted Scholarship week. Jackie wanted to spend the entire week only training with me, but I encouraged and pre-planned some field trips so that she could experience other insights from talented teachers. I always feel like everyone can learn something from someone as long as you are willing to open yourself up to the experience. Even though some lessons confused Jackie, I spent the time the following day to more clearly explain what the clinician was trying to achieve and relate it back to her daily training routine. The plan worked and by the end of the week, with her thick journal in hand, Jackie and Keely were going gang busters!!! I cannot think of a more deserving and dedicated rider/horse team to have been granted this special scholarship week -- So, many thanks to Carol and USDF from me!!!

Email received on April 30, 2012: "I cannot say a big enough 'Thank You' to all that you and Claudia have done to make this the best show season Keely and I have had. I should say, that I have ever had, my whole life. I still have goose bumps!"

Note from Phoebe: WoooHooo is all I can say!!! This email came in the evening that all of us from Thornridge got to toast to Jackie earning her BRONZE MEDAL!!!! Jackie had placed this as goal to be accomplished by the end of 2012 season.....well, after two recognized shows this spring, 'WE' got that BRONZE!!! And, I should mention that Jackie had only been to one recognized show her whole life, and not one was an overnite experience. So, in two shows, we set the plan for competing First Level, Second Level and Third Level. WOW, Jackie and Team Thornridge: this is truly unheard of and was a very special moment for us all......YEAH!!!!

FROM FRIENDS: Jamie Wright and Nina Meckel
Compiled via email: JULY 2010

Jamie -- "Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a great lesson last night! I dropped Nina and the horse off and headed home to make my voice notes on my phone so I wouldn't forget anything. Who would have thought (coming from an eventer) that a dressage lesson could be so informative yet so much fun! Can't wait for our next one!"

Nina -- "The lesson Buddy and I had with you was WONDERFUL. Since that time, I have been working hard with him and feel improvements. My marks sowed all the things that you taught me in the lesson....straight at turn at C, saw bend on 20 meter circles and I even got a comment about properly placing my circle. My dressage test would not be this good without me hearing your words in my head while I am riding them."

Note from Phoebe: Jamie and Nina began taking semi private lessons in the fall of 2009 to help improve their eventing dressage scores. They are a testament themselves that riders can visually learn from each other. This pair is so supportive of eachother and it comes with great pleasure that I am able to help both of them succeed in a move up in levels this 2010 show season!!! Great scores and great final placements, Ladies!!

Nina clearly enjoys her gallop!!

Received via email: February 4, 2010

"Dear Phoebe, Claudia, and yes, Chuck. Missing You All!! The website still looks great. I fall in love with your Hanoverians every time I see them. I want you all to know how glad we are to have met you when we found Love. You always manage to point us in the right direction. Even with so many horse people in Maryland, I am never surprised when I run into someone who knows Phoebe DeVoe-Moore or Claudia Kleinsmith. As Heather and I continue to develop relationships with yourselves, your farm, and your contacts, I know that we will continue to enjoy something that we love -- working with fabulous people and equine athletes. Love you all, Art."

On a side note: Over the last several years, Art and his wife, Heather, have purchased two horses owned by Thornridge Manor. We all hit it off immediately, and have developed a strong friendship, communicating at least several times a month. At the time of this email, Art had no idea that he was providing us a wonderful testimonial reflecting on our sale involvement in the equine industry.

From: Heather Vinson
Received via email: December 2009

Note From Phoebe: It is a rare occasion that we would choose to post a testimonial twice from the same person. But, this "thank you" note should be shared with all, serving as a reminder to us that we dedicate ourselves to the love of the horse. Heather shows a mature and honest perspective of 2009 and reflects her goals for 2010. Please enjoy.....and remember why we all work so hard -- for the love of the horse!!

"Phoebe, I wanted to take a minute to thank you for your guidance and support in the past year. Through many ups and downs, spins and slides, we have survived another year together (both you, me, and Ally). While 2009 was not full of blue ribbons (or red, or yellow, or white for that matter) it was full of steps forward. You have taught me that not only do I have a talented and athletic mare, she is also smart, agile, and amazing. I know we do not always make the best dressage example, but the two of us have grown together so much and that is due to you. It has helped us in our jumping, trail riding, and more importantly, our communication with each other. With your guidance of when to push her and when to wait for her, we have actually resembled dressage partners! Who would have thunk it?!! Knowing that she was not even supposed to be rideable after her injury, I never would have thought we would have come this far. We wouldn't have if it hadn't been for you -- Thank you. I look forward to 2010 being a huge growth spurt not only in knowledge but hopefully in final standings! :) Just kidding. While the ribbon and great score do reward the present desire, knowing that Ally and have had a good experience and gained new ground means so much more. You truly are a blessing to this sport. Heather Vinson and Foreign Dance (or damn Mare as so lovingly referred to!)"

From Heather Vinson and Foreign Dance
Received via email: March 27, 2009

"I DON"T WANT TO LEAVE but all good thing must come to an end. The lessons we have learned are awesome and will give us a huge jump on this year along with helping with our jumping. I absolutely cannot stress how much it has helped to have your help this past month. Ally and I have grown not only in out knowledge of dressage but in our understanding of each other. THANK YOU."

On a side note: Heather and "Ally" spent the month of March 2009 at Thornridge Manor for extensive full training in preparation of the upcoming show season. At the time of this email, Heather had no idea that she was handing us a well appreciated testimonial. All we can say, Heather, is that we, too, are sorry to see you go back home. You and Ally were a comfortable addition to our facility and we appreciate the dedication that both of you represent. We will be equally enthusiastic with the the bi-weekly training sessions that will mark your summer. Our on the road advice to you and Ally: get a move on to the next level of eventing...appreciate your talented, yet tricky, mare EVERY day, and go knock their socks off....very fondly, Phoebe and Claudia.

From Amy Walsh:
"I first came to Thornridge Manor 3 years ago after visiting just about every horse farm in Baltimore County. From my first lesson, I knew that Claudia was a different kind of teacher. She has a true love of horses and a deep understanding of the art and detail of riding. She's in tune with every step of the horse and every movement of the rider and works from the rider down. She once told me that "if the rider is correct, the horse will follow". In my years at Thornridge, I've taken lessons, leased horses, grown overall as a rider, and now I've bought my first horse! Claudia has been with me every step of the way in selecting the right horse for me, the purchase process, his first vet call, and the first months of ownership. I couldn't ask for anything more than what I've experienced with Claudia at Thornridge Manor."

June 2008: Claudia and Amy are giddy about Nova's first day undersaddle

From Bonny and Kylie Wright:
"Although I am a hunter jumper rider, I came to Thornridge Manor because I needed to improve my seat and posture while riding. My dressage lessons have helped strengthen my legs and back, and I no longer sit crookedly in the tack. I believe that my recent success in the show ring has been a direct effect of my improved posture. Most notably, I have won the MHSA Pony Hunt Seat Medals, finished 8th out of 191 in the National Pony Finals Pony Medal., and 3rd in the Washington International Pony Equitation Finals. I have since moved from the hunters to the jumpers and the body balance and skills that I have learned continue to make me a strong jumper rider. In 2006, I was champion junior jumper rider in USEF Zone 3 with Preston and 3rd in large junior hunter with Carlino. After Preston suffered a ligament injury in FL 2006, I relocated him to Thornridge Manor for rehabilitation. I attribute his smooth recovery to their attentive care, including extensive hand walking, and their excellent footing. Preston has now made a full comeback and we are presently out and about on the circuit with equal success as last year. I plan to continue my lessons at Thornridge Manor, no matter what riding disciplines I am pursuing. Many thanks to my friends Phoebe and Claudia for their help with Preston this spring!!!!"
At their first 2007 show in KY: Kylie and Preston placed 2nd out of 43 in the Level 6 (4'3") Classic/Junior Jumpers!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!

         Photo credit Bonny Wright

From Loretta Kroch:
"After not riding for about 20 years, I found myself with a 13 y.o. Appendix Quarter Horse - with no dressage training. We needed help! I began trailering to Phoebe's for lessons. We were patiently nudged out of our "comfort zone" and made huge progress. My experience at Thornridge Manor has been extremely rewarding and loads of fun. Trailering over to my lesson is the highlight of my week!"

Photo credit Claudia Weeks

             Photo credit Claudia Weeks

        Loretta at the barn with her horse

From Hank Morrow:

"I started training with Claudia six months ago when I moved my 7 year old Holsteiner gelding to Thornridge Manor. Up until that time, I mostly used him as a trail horse and within 2 months of training, Claudia showed him Training Level 1 at a MDA Schooling Show held at the barn and won the class. Not only did they win the class but also received the High Score Award. Now, that’s a trainer! The progress is just above and beyond anything I ever imagined and thanks to Claudia, my trail horse is now a dressage horse. I couldn’t be happier training and boarding Royal at Thornridge Manor because both Claudia and Phoebe are always approachable, extremely helpful, and the barn is filled with all positive energy. After our ride in one of the finest indoor arenas in Baltimore County, hacking out along the tree lined property is very safe, absolutely beautiful, and the perfect way to relax."

From the Spencer Family:
Parents: Taylor and Martha Spencer, Daughter Erin Spencer

"The boarders at Thornridge are like one big family, and have provided tremendous encouragement and support to our daughter during the last three years.

For the longest time Erin was the youngest rider at the barn, but the rest of the boarders always treated her as one of the group. Some of Erin's best days at the barn have involved hacking out with some of the boarders around the lower fields or spending time with Claudia, the Barn Manager and Assistant Trainer.

The indoor has allowed our daughter to make tremendous progress in her riding, since she no longer loses four or five months of consistant riding during the winter months. More importantly, her horse gets ridden consistantly all winter long, meaning both rider and horse are in good form for the early spring shows.

Phoebe was a tremendous help to us when it came time to move our daughter from her pony to a horse. She screened all of the videos we received on prospective horses, saving us numerous wasted trips. Once we narrowed the search, Phoebe devoted a full day to ensuring the horse was a proper match for our daughter, and that the vetting was thorough.

As a trainer, Phoebe has been wonderful for our daughter. Her lessons can be incredibly challenging, often pushing Erin and her horse to the edge of exhaustion. But the coaching is always positive, never critical. Phoebe trains our daughter just like she trains adults in the barn, which in turn has given our daughter the confidence to show competitively against adults. We can't imagine our daughter, or her horse, anywhere else than with Phoebe at Thornridge Manor."

Look at our Current News section for Erin's winnings and accomplishments!

             Erin Spencer and Silver King

                          Erin and Rose

From Mardi Herman:

"Phoebe helped my daughter Sarah progress from beginner novice to the training division. When Sarah went off to college I started lessons with Phoebe. She has helped me appreciate the importance of rhythm and balance and how it improves the atheleticism in myself and my horse. She has made dressage more fun and not just the phase I have to get through before I jump at an event."

                  Photo by GRC Photos

                    Photo by Gary Knoll

From: Sue Springer, owner of Friar Tuck, Bismark, and Necktor

"I have had the pleasure of boarding at Thornridge Manor over the past six years. As a competitive FEI rider and accomplished judge, Phoebe offers outstanding training and works hard to foster an upbeat, friendly environment. Her positive, analytical approach has greatly improved my riding and, more importantly, it has been a fun process. Whether giving lessons, coaching at shows, or traveling (Canada!!) to find a new horse, Phoebe has always enthusiastically been there for me. From the exceptional care that the horses receive under Claudia to Chuck’s commitment with the facility, this is a special place, one where professionalism and expertise is matched by a wonderful sense of community."

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