Testimonials

Kristen (and Connemara/Thoroughbred Cross Gelding Shiloh)

Riding with Tori has been life changing for my horse, Shiloh, and me.  Tori instills correct basics, providing a solid foundation to grow and build upon.  She is tough and correct, yet is positive and encouraging. Shiloh is extremely picky and has strong opinions about who we work with and who rides him.  He ADORES Tori. Our first lesson, he was a completely different horse, just feeding off of her positive energy.  Our growth with Tori has been exponential.  Not only am I more confident, Shiloh is more confident, even as he learns and accepts new challenges.  

 

Having a trainer that has successfully competed at Grand Prix, brings an expertise that others just don’t have. She understands the process it takes to make it, successfully, all the way.  At the same time, Tori is understanding of each rider’s goals and aspirations, and does not put undo pressure on.  Tori has helped Shiloh and me be the best we can be. With her help, we are headed toward FEI!!! 

 

I love riding in clinics!  I appreciate that Tori encourages this growth and continued learning.  Not only does she encourage it, she participates, too.  I can say, that when riding in these clinics, they compliment exactly what Tori works on with me and Shiloh, confirming what I already knew, she teaches us correctly!  

 

All that being said, the riding is correct.  The foundation is there.  But most importantly, Tori can teach (and ride).  She can teach me.  She can teach Shiloh.  And best of all, we have fun in the positive, encouraging environment.  Who could ask for more???

Kay (and Welsh Cross Mare Butterfly Encounter)

I found Tori the end of January 2018.  In just a couple of months she has totally turned around my very opinionated, hot little pony. Tori has earned my pony's trust and respect.  I believe there is nothing this pony would not now do for her. Tori has a very quiet, gentle way about her. Tori has zeroed in on all of my pony's weaknesses and issues, addressing each one methodically. She has worked through every one of them. Several of her weaknesses are now strengths. Tori is very accommodating with the owners as well.  She gives the most awesome lessons! My riding has changed from working with her.  She has the ability and talent to zero in on your weaknesses as a rider and has a wonderful way of building your riding abilities.  I only wish I had found her sooner.

She has trained with many big name professionals. She really knows and embodies the best of dressage. She will be one that sometime in the not very distant future people will be seeking out to train with, and conduct clinics.

    I am looking forward to watching Tori and my pony in the Show ring this season! I know they will do well and many dressage riders and professionals will have a chance to see the amazing training and partnership she has with her mounts.

Shannon (and Mustang Gelding Brave)

My name is Shannon and I have been Tori’s client since April 2017. I grew up riding at my neighbor’s farm so a majority of my riding history was in informal settings. I tried to get serious with riding in 2013 but life events and a few bad experiences kept me from really focusing on my riding goals. I knew before I got married that I wanted to have my own horse but I was nervous about this idea because I was lacking confidence and was not the most skilled rider. Through a rescue, I heard about a beginner friendly mustang gelding that was in need of a home. After much thought, I decided to trust my instincts and adopt the horse. Since I had taken a few months off of riding, I knew in order for this to be a smart, well thought out decision that I would have find the perfect barn and trainer. I wanted to start my journey into horse ownership with a trainer that would encourage a safe and successful relationship with my horse from the very beginning.

 

For me, the most important thing was finding a trainer that would be able to help me build my confidence and encourage safe practices. I knew immediately after my first lesson with Tori that we were on the same page. In a few short months, I have gained back a lot of my confidence. As I mentioned, my experience was very informal so Tori is constantly working with me to help with my equitation. I know that I make a lot of mistakes, as I am still learning dressage (and horse ownership in general) but I never feel self-conscious during our lessons. I have learned more in four months than I did in my previous 23 years of riding.  Tori has also helped lay the dressage groundwork with Brave. Since he is a rescue, we are unsure of his past but we can guarantee that he did not spend his younger years in a dressage arena. Tori does at least one training ride a week when I am out of town and I love coming back for my next lesson to see what she has taught Brave. It is wonderful to see that Tori is always conscientious on how and when to push Brave. She has completely transformed Brave and helps remind him that he is capable of accomplishing any given task.  

 

If you read Tori’s other reviews, you will notice that she has the ability to help riders of all experience levels. I strongly encourage individuals of all levels to consider working with Tori. I feel very lucky that I was able to find her!

Nancy (and Arabian Mare, Silver Marz)

"My name is Nancy and after a forty year break from horseback riding I decided that it would be a good time to get back in the saddle when I moved to Louisville several years ago. Initially I took lessons at an eventing stable but it was not a good fit so I kept looking for a more satisfactory stable and instructor. A friend recommended Wanaja Farm about the time I purchased my own horse about 5 years ago and I have been riding and taking lessons there ever since. My instructor, Tori Retamoza, is an amazing rider and instructor. An USDF Gold Medalist, she excels in both training horses and teaching riders of all ages. Her expertise, patience and communications skills are outstanding and in my own case helped me gain the confidence to enjoy riding again. Having taken lessons from several other local instructors, I feel Tori is superior to all of the others I tried. And I could not be happier at Wanaja Farm. Under Tori’s training, my horse has progressed from a skittish, untrained mare to an award winning show horse. She has consistently won blue ribbons at competitions at Kentucky Horse Park and Spring Run. I am amazed at what Tori has been able to accomplish with both me and my horse and very highly recommend her and Wanaja Farm to anyone interested advancing their riding skills."

Anna (and Arabian Gelding Ima Celebrity Too)

"My name is Anna, and I’ve been training with Tori for 6 years. When I first started horseback riding, at age 8, it was hard for my grandma to find a quality training facility for my newly found interest. At age 9, we found Wanaja Farm, but it wasn’t until around age 10 that I met Tori. Becoming more passionate about Dressage as a sport, Tori has helped guide me in my training for many years.

 

During the beginning of my love for horses, I didn’t have one myself. It wasn’t until the end of the summer in 2014 that I got my own horse, and that’s when my fondness for riding horses became my passion, which was greatly influenced by Tori. For the past 6 years with Tori, every lesson has helped me improve, if not physically then mentally. Dressage is a very maturing and humbling sport, and every time a lesson ends with Tori, I feel stronger and healthier in my body and mind. I praise Tori for her many abilities on and off any horse, and I definitely consider her as a role model.

 

The atmosphere when having a lesson with Tori is one incomparable to anywhere else, at least for me. There is never a day that I feel uncomfortable riding in Tori’s presence, and I never feel embarrassed when I make mistakes. When mistakes happen, she just helps me learn from them. Asking questions to Tori is as easy as asking questions to a friend, as opposed to the feeling of asking an instructor a question and the awkwardness that comes with it. And, in the end, she always praises me and makes me feel accomplished even if our lesson wasn’t the best.

 

At the end of the day, Tori is the person that fuels my passion for riding and influences my improvements in my Dressage skills and abilities. In this way, I am greatly rewarded by the sport, and don’t think there is much in the world that could make me as happy as riding my horse does. With the help of Tori, I am able to learn and grow with my horse, which is something I’m incredibly thankful for."

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