We had the pleasure of chatting with Shayne Dante of Shayne Dante Dressage this week. Shayne is a USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold medalist, and runs her training business out of the Los Angeles area. In her program, Shayne specifically approaches each horse and rider as individuals. The training sessions are versatile to ensure eager participation from horses of all ages, bringing out their full potential. The same goes for Shayne's riders!
Shayne currently competes Perignon aka “Perry” at the Grand Prix level. She's had quite a unique background up to this point though! Shayne started riding when she was just three or four-years-old, competing in everything from hunters and eventing to western. When she was just 13, she landed a working student position at a Grand Prix Dressage trainer's sales/training facility and was hooked from then on. "I did everything from hand walking young horses, polo wrapping every riding horse, learning to braid, etc. It was the most fun I had and I worked there until I left for college!"
Her business has a unique background too! She said, "When I was working for my coach, I would take my horse to local shows on the weekends. A lady had approached me about teaching lessons in her area, so I started doing that the following weekend. Soon, I had people coming into full training. I knew it was time to expand and therefore go out on my own… somehow, Thomas Walker, Ryan Torkkeli, and I all connected… they were leaving for this amazing opportunity in Europe and they wanted the “right” person to take over their business in Orange County. It all sort of fell into place so perfectly. So, I have this incredible group of people just handed to me… I have to pinch myself daily. I am so grateful that they trusted me to take over… actually, I talk to them very frequently! I am very lucky to remain close to them and whenever I run into problems, they are right there to talk me through it. Pretty unusually cool!"
It's not easy balancing being a businesswoman, equestrian, and athlete. Shayne keeps everything running smoothly with help from her team. This allows her to trust that the business side is taken care of and she can focus on teaching and riding. She runs weekly or biweekly meetings to make sure everything is on the right track. Shayne also reminds us that "Business[woman] versus athlete is at many times clashing, so I think it’s incredibly important to make time to ground yourself." She heads to the gym to start her day with "me" time to ensure a sense of balance before a long day of riding and teaching!
Her team of people is also a large factor in why Shayne loves the sport. We all know how difficult riding can be -- either as a rider or as a businessperson -- and we all have our reasons for continuing to stay involved. For Shayne, it is the "love of horses and people. We all love our horses… but that doesn’t always keep people in this sport. You have to be picky about who you surround yourself with… and that team will always keep you on your feet, even when it’s very easy to walk away."
And finally, her love of horses has given her this huge life lesson, that is so applicable for all of us:
You have to let go of the last movement and focus on what is ahead. I think that goes for anything in life. Move forward.