My background includes co-existing careers in advertising, art and equestrian sport performance. I turned professional in the equine industry in 1983, retiring from full-time training in 2008.
Between 2012 and 2015, I co-authored two books: The Compassionate Equestrian and a photographic essay on the state of the Pacific Ocean’s environment: Iridescent Silence of the Pacific Shores (coauthor/pub. D. Wahlsten/Victoria, B.C. 2015).
My riding program focused on hunt-seat equitation and jumpers, with a strong foundation in classical dressage. My specialty is utilizing training techniques honed over many years of apprenticeships with outstanding Grand Prix competitors and riding all kinds of horses at every level of development. The method gently remediates back and neck problems, builds topline muscles to support a rider properly, as well as correcting gait irregularities and problems with jumping form. The system takes horses from pain to pleasure, and makes a rider more aware and empathic with their horse’s needs and conditions.
My paintings in oils and acrylics have been shown in Vancouver, Santa Fe NM, Phoenix and Sedona AZ, and won awards in Canada and the U.S. Exhibit portfolio on request.
As climate change affected working outdoors with horses, I have incorporated sustainability and a “green lifestyle” as much as possible and creating more holistic, mindful approaches in all endeavours.
Specialties: Horses – music – art – dance – writing / research / lectures – light therapy and interest in holistic / alternative medicine – competitive running, 5K, 10K, half-marathon.
Executive Producer: The Compassionate Equestrian
2012 – Present (4 years) Salt Spring Island, B.C.
Executive Producer of The Compassionate Equestrian Network, a public social platform for the equestrian community based on 25 Principles of Compassionate Equitation created by Susan Gordon and Dr. Allen Schoen, DVM.
Content includes a new, science-backed compassionate paradigm for the equine industry and heart-centered healing for all animals & humans, and the recently released book, The Compassionate Equestrian.
Multimedia Producer: Green Pony Productions
September 2009 – Present (6 years 6 months)Vancouver, Canada Area
Writing and research for lectures and video productions. Documentary film for non-profits and equine-based organizations supporting critical topics such as Canada’s bill C-544 to end equine slaughter.
Virtual lessons and video/photography based consultations are available for riders via digital communications or in person.
Emphasis is on relaxation, correct form, and the development of focused thinking and strategic analysis to produce the ultimate performance at any level. Although retired as a trainer, I am available for workshops, lectures and assistance for those horses and riders who may be looking for a new approach to their program, and have a willingness to ensure that compassion lies at the foundation of their interactions with horses and all sentient beings.
Full resumes, apprenticeships, references, awards, lecture/writing/art/photography/film samples on request.
Artist-in-Residence: Village Labs
1990 – 1998 (8 years)
Wrote, produced, edited video and slide shows for lectures at health and science conferences. Played electronic and acoustic drums for a progressive instrumental rock-band, demonstrating the use of music, lighting and computer graphics as much more than entertainment.
General Manager: Sharpe-Johnson Productions
1987 – 1989 (2 years) Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Art Direction and Creative Design: Acquisition of contractors per project i.e. photographers, models, stylists, graphic designers, printers and distributors.Location scouting and management.
Partner and producer for Ultra Violet Energy Inc.
1988-1990 (3 Years) Vancouver, Canada
Establishing a film and advertising boutique in Vancouver specializing in shopping center and fashion image-marketing.
(Until 1988) Calgary & Vancouver, Canada
In 1977 I was employed by Woodward’s Stores (Calgary) as their Advertising Traffic Coordinator before turning to equestrian sports full time from 1980 – 1985. I returned to advertising in 1986 while retaining some equine clients, and soon became the General Manager of Sharpe-Johnson Productions Inc., responsible for Pacific Centre’s (Vancouver) international award-winning campaigns in the 1980s, and those of other Cadillac-Fairview shopping centers.
The Compassionate Equestrian:
Compassion becomes the foundation for all decisions that an equestrian makes with every choice for their horse, for all people involved in the equine community, as well as the global community. Through choosing compassion as the common ground for all decisions, equestrians can become a movement for creating a kinder, happier, healthier, more compassionate world.
If changing the way you work with horses could change the world, would you do it?
The Iridescent Silence Of The Pacific Shores:
(S. Gordon / D. Wahlsten – 2015)
A book of abstract water photography with a strong environmental statement, and DVD featuring original Orca calls and music composed by Ron Gordon, Ph.D.