Laura DeCesari is an accomplished dressage rider competing through the FEI Levels with her top mounts; however, she was not always a #DressageQueen. DeCesari began her riding career at very young age in the hunter/jumper discipline but ditched her field boots for dress boots as soon as she discovered dressage through a friend. It did not take much convincing for DeCesari to make the switch to dressage, “[she] fell in love with its beauty” and has not looked back.
DeCesari pursued her dressage career under the tutelage of large “S” dressage judge and USDF Gold Medalist Eleanor Stine-Masek. As a young professional, DeCesari made a short return to the hunter/jumper industry, and even dabbled in the reining cow horse discipline. Talk about jack of all trades!
DeCesari had success training some horses through the FEI levels, and in 2011, she started her own training business, DeCesari Equestrian, in Tuscon, Arizona. DeCesari prides herself in having the same clients that joined her in the beginning to this day, a true testament to her program. When asked how she balances being a business woman and an equestrian, DeCesari candidly jokes, “I don’t! I try!”, and graciously acknowledges her strong support team of employees.
While training clients and their horses is a large responsibility at DeCesari Equestrian, DeCesari continues to campaign her personal horses through the FEI levels. DeCesari’s string includes Farentino, a talented up-and-coming Swedish Warmblood that will begin showing 2nd and 3rd level in the fall; Flower, a 3rd and 4th level elegant, opinionated, bay mare by United out of a Gribaldi mare; and Faire Well, a developing Grand Prix KWPN gelding by UB40. DeCesari has been fortunate to share many influential partnerships with previous mounts but notes that Faire Well and Flower are both particularly special.
“Faire Well was always very difficult in his personality being insecure and a bully at the same time. I never understood why he was like that. I finally found out that he was orphaned at birth and it made me realize why he was the way he was. It made me have more compassion for an animal that can come across angry. He is pushy when I ride him too and he has taught me to try to find ways to get him sensitive without fighting.”
“Flower was imported from Holland after trying her twice. We tried her in a covered arena in Holland because it was raining so much. It became very clear when we got her home she did not know how to handle that outside world. She had many behavioral issues and insecurities when trying to ride her outside or with any distractions. You couldn’t even turn her out in a small pen without her being worried and stressed the whole time. I kept showing up and working with Flower until one day she finally trusted me. She taught me that with a sensitive and worried horse like her, you cannot ever punish her. She has to know she can rely on you to be the confident leader.”
DeCesari reflects on her life surrounded by horses and determines that the biggest life lesson she has learned from these incredible animals is “to always put yourself in your horse’s shoes. Always show up and be consistent with these horses and some magical things can happen. Train the mind of the horse first through the body”. Recognizing that this sport is tough, she has learned to appreciate the small successes gained with each horse every day. DeCesari advises fellow equestrians that trying to start their own business to “work hard and be honest” and their success will follow.
We wish you the best of luck with your showing and training endeavors, Laura!
Laura DeCesari of DeCesari Equestrian is committed to the highest levels of service, horsemanship and safety -whether the client has two legs or four! The DeCesari Equestrian team is focused on making sure that your experience is 100% positive, 100% of the time.