Owner of Pine Trails Ranch
Head Trainer & Instructor
Assistant Trainer & Instructor
In 1990 Michelle and her husband Matt started Pine Trails Ranch. Both had worked in the horse industry before starting the ranch and wanted a place where riders could go and enjoy horses and get a good education without worrying about what breed of horse they had and if their saddle was the current fashion. Michelle had been working with the well respected Morgan horse trainer Tom Simmons and learned a great deal from him about working with the horse and unlocking the horse’s full potential while encouraging the horse to enjoy it’s job. Michelle was impressed with how Tom worked patiently with horses and wanted to also be able to teach riders to also enjoy riding while developing great skills and set out to make Pine Trails Ranch a place where that could happen. Michelle began to study biomechanics and how it can be used to make good riding more attainable for all riders.
In her thirties, Michelle was hospitalized with a serious auto immune condition that attacked the nerves in her extremities. She had 85% damage and was told to forget about riding by the doctors. She chose to ignore this and found a doctor who helped get her treatments designed to allow her to work. Her nerves began to heal and she continued to ride. Michelle was very weak initially and developed a unique perspective that allows her to better understand how hard it is for mature riders to develop their riding muscles and balance. Her strength and riding have improved and with the help of trainer John S. Malbos and Chris Scarlet, Michelle has returned to competitive riding.
-Hunters, Jumpers & Classical Dressage
-Injury rehabilitation for horse or rider
-Correcting behavioral issues
-Trained & experienced in saddle fitting
-Breeding & Foaling
-Experienced in developing young horses for competitive careers
Colette’s interest in horses evolved from a lifelong interest in animal training. At the age of 9, she began training dogs, and spent her teenage years raising guide dogs. In 2008, Colette began horseback riding at Pine Trails Ranch and hasn’t looked back since. In 2011, she began as a working student at Pine Trails Ranch, where she began to learn about rehabbing horses and starting young horses from Michelle. Colette worked as an Assistant Riding Instructor at Pine Trails Ranch while studying Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at UC Davis. Following her graduation in 2015, Colette began working full time at Pine Trails Ranch.
Colette is passionate about the Pine Trails Ranch mission and loves working with students and horses. She enjoys welcoming new people to the world of horses, as well as watching her longtime students develop as riders. In addition, Colette has been working on developing her own competitive riding and has begun to compete with Amoretta, a young horse bred by Pine Trails Ranch.
Kelly graduated from UC Davis as an Animal Science major in 2015 and joined the PTR team in 2016. Kelly has been riding for 16 years, primarily dressage, and had a career in horse training starting young horses to saddle and working with “problem” horses prior to attending UC Davis. Kelly is passionate about animal behavior and training. Kelly now enjoys showing riders the ropes of riding, and also works in the office at PTR and assists in the breeding program.
Megan has been riding at Pine Trails for over 15 years. Although Megan is a retired nurse, she spends many of her days helping out at the ranch. Megan teaches several lessons a week and especially enjoys working with adult students, who appreciate her perspective as a fellow adult rider. Megan also enjoys riding her horses, Aurora (Left) and Roxie (Right).
Roxanne grew up riding has been riding at Pine Trails Ranch for several years. After growing uninspired by an office job, Roxanne asked if Michelle would be willing to teach her how to teach riding. Roxanne loves to spend her spare time teaching. Our younger and more timid students love Roxanne’s calm and engaging teaching style!