Trainer and Rider
Alyssa Pagon Pitts is a successful Grand Prix trainer and competitor who has participated in the USEF Talent Search and USEF Elite Rider clinics. She is a USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold medalist. She has ridden and trained several national champions.
Alyssa has gained a reputation for good horsemanship and skillful riding by achieving repeated successes with many different horses. Early in her career, she took some difficult "problem" horses and turned them into successful and competitive show horses. That foundation has led her to approach each horse as an individual and gave her lots of experience with different training methods, temperaments, types, and equine veterinary/health issues. Those experiences developed her training philosophy, which focuses the systematic development of horses from the beginning to ultimately, Grand Prix.
Alyssa is a serious and dedicated trainer and rider with high aspirations. Horses trained by her have a high degree of rideability while also being developed to the best of their athletic abilities. She is a sought after instructor and clinician with a positive approach to teaching. Her students have been very successful in the show ring as well as in their relationships with their horses. Alyssa has coached students through Grand Prix, and she has helped many riders reach the FEI levels.
Alyssa has been influenced by many trainers and schools of thought, but the two trainers whose lessons have been countless and powerful are Charlotte Dujardin and Randy Leighton. The lessons that Alyssa has learned, and continue to learn, define Alyssa's approach to horses. Randy Leighton teaches a system that is based on timing and feel and that treats each horse as an individual and partner; he has guided Alyssa in her approach to young horses and to “difficult” horses. Charlotte Dujardin’s teaching has given Alyssa a very strong sense of the correct basics and an appreciation for developing balance and self carriage. Alyssa feels an enormous depth of gratitude to both Charlotte and Randy for being willing to share their lessons and philosophies with her--they continue to shape the rider and trainer that is Alyssa.
Alyssa grew up in Snohomish, Washington. Her parents had “back yard” horses, and Alyssa literally grew up riding. At the age of 3, Alyssa’s mom saw a “pony for sale” sign on the side of the road, and thus entered Cola, Alyssa’s first pony. The first time that she rode him, Alyssa haughtily told her parents, “Mom, Dad, I can ride without your help!” So, they unclipped the lead rope and handed the reins to Alyssa. Off the pony capered, and off Alyssa fell! Typical of Alyssa’s early years with horses, she spent more time flying through the air and on the ground than in the saddle.
At age 6, Alyssa joined Pony Club, and spent her youth enjoying Pony Club and lower level eventing. She inherited the ride on Rebel, the family’s beloved rescue horse, from her sister when Alyssa was 9, and that incredibly special horse was her partner for the rest of Alyssa’s youth. Alyssa took on another rescue horse, High Jumper, while in high school, but it was difficult to ride seriously while competing in three sports: soccer, basketball, and track.
Alyssa left horses behind when she began school at Stanford University, as she ran cross country and track for two years there. Missing horses too much, she began riding polo ponies to help exercise them for the school team. She bought an off the track Thoroughbred, Honey of a Bear, with her savings from working, and began really enjoying her time with horses again. Upon graduating from Stanford, Alyssa took a “year off” to teach riding lessons before planning to attend graduate school. Her passion for horses never let her go to graduate school.
As Alyssa became more interested in dressage, she slowly gave up jumping and eventing and began to develop an education in dressage. She met Randy Leighton after really botching the training with a young horse, and that is when her education evolved to encompass a broader and deeper understanding of timing and feel. As she developed as a rider, she worked with Steffen Peters, and his lessons about correct basics were incredibly important in her developing education. Later on, she was able to work with Anne Gribbons, who was immensely helpful in fine tuning exercises and show strategies. In 2015, Alyssa was introduced to Charlotte Dujardin while riding in a symposium, and Alyssa has been a dedicated student of Charlotte’s ever since.
Location, Training, and Lessons
Alyssa trains and teaches out of Cedar Meadow Farm located in Echo Lake, between Snohomish and Woodinville. The facility is within easy driving distance of the greater Seattle area. Alyssa is available for lessons and training at Cedar Meadow Farm. Students are welcome to trailer in for lessons as well. Alyssa also teaches students via Skype, so she welcomes students from literally anywhere.