We specialize in starting young performance horses in a variety of disciplines. Our clients are primarily interested in pursuing dressage, jumping, and eventing, however, we welcome those with a "western" background as well, and have had many successful western pleasure and trail horses come out of our training program.
"You can never rely on a horse that is educated by fear. There will always be something that he fears more than you. But, when he trusts you, he will ask you what to do when he is afraid..." Antoine de Pluvinel
Owner and head trainer at Narrowgate SportHorses, Heather McKay grew up riding horses in various disciplines at the Pinto Ranch in southern California. Heather spent her teen years working with OTTBs, Warmbloods, Arabians, Quarter Horses, and the many other breeds that came through the ranch's training facility; experiencing everything from team penning to vaulting, and from polo to eventing. This diverse equestrian background built the foundation that enables her to communicate effectively with a wide variety of horses, particularly those with quirky personalities and troubled backgrounds.
Heather has made a career of working with young horses, and horses that have had rocky starts, and she enjoys helping horses gain or regain trust in their riders while developing confidence in their own abilities. Her career has been as diversified as the horses she works with. A sampling of her experiences: coaching and choreographing for Peppertree Vaulters, wrangling dudes and breaking colts at Red Rock Ranch in Wyoming, eventing client horses at USEA 3-day events, training National and World Champion Morgans from the ground up, working with Arabian sport horses to achieve their Legion of Honor(+) and Legion of Merit(++) awards, and training Clydesdales for barrel racing and H/J classes for the 2018 Clydesdale World Show.
Heather is passionate about furthering her equine education. A firm believer that experience is the best teacher, she takes every opportunity to acquire knowledge that can only come from those with a lifetime of experience in their respective disciplines. However, Heather will argue that the finest teacher.... and the only one without an agenda... is the horse.
Horses are worked with 5 days/week. Weekly updates are provided and owners are welcome to watch training sessions. After the introductory week,
riding lessons with Heather McKay are offered (included in training package) on a weekly basis to clients with horses in training. This is an opportunity for owners to learn to communicate more efficiently with their horses. The ultimate goal is always for the owner/rider and horse to be on the same page when the training session is complete.
Horses are worked with for 5 days, and the session includes one riding lesson with Heather McKay at the end of the week. This refresher course is ideal for
* horses (or riders) that are just getting back into work after extended time off
* owners who would like to establish communication with - and a respectful and obedient attitude in - their horses
*owners who are interested in learning about their horse's aptitudes, strengths/weaknesses, and potential in specific areas and disciplines.
Training session will last approximately 1 hour. This is a great option for owners who are dealing with a particular behavioral issue or communication issue, but don't feel their horse needs to be in full-time training. Sessions include one-on-one time with horse (and rider when necessary). The objective: The horse will willingly respond to specific aids given by the trainer, and then offer the same response to the aids given by the owner/rider.
Owners are responsible to provide all hay/feed and supplements. Boards rates are reduced to $150/month for horses in training.
Owners are responsible to provide all hay/feed and supplements. Boards rates are reduced to $50/week for horses in training.
Horses are worked at Narrowgate or off property. There is no haul-in fee. If we travel to your facility, fuel charges will be applied.