USEF licensed dressage judge and USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medalist, owner and head trainer of Equivale Jean Kaplan Thornton started competing in 4H and attended horse camp where she passed her Advanced Level Certified Horsemanship Award. Jeans first "show horse" was a purebred Arabian named Galcimer (a.k.a Ghost), they showed all of the disciplines offered at the Arabian shows. Soon after being introduced to dressage in college, Jean and Ghost quickly received Arabian Grand National and Reserve Championships through 4th level. Ghost took Jean to her USDF Bronze Medal. Ghost lived a long life of 36 years on the farm at Equivale. Once Ghost was retired, Jean found her Grand Prix star Conversano II Aloha II (a.k.a. Lou), a young Lipizzan stallion who captured Jean's heart. Jean trained Lou since he was 4 years old and successfully brought him to Grand Prix. Together they earned over 28 USDF All Breeds National Championships through Grand Prix and Jean's Silver and Gold Medals. Jean rode Lou in sidesaddle Grand Prix dressage demonstrations and trained him to drive.
Jean has studied dressage with Rober Dover, Steffan Peters, Michael Poulin (14 years,) Volker Moritz, Henk Van Bergen, Christoph Hess, Conrad Schumacher, Jan Brink, Major Anders Lingren, Liselotte Fore, Anne Gribbons, Isabel Judet, Franz Rochowansky, Andreas Hausberger, Lucinda Green, Debbie Bowman, Sarah Martin, Bo Jenna, Ulrich Shmitz, Kathy Adams, Heather Bender, Jean Luc Cornille, Tom Noon, Niel Ishoy, David DeWespelare, Dominique Barbier, Jesper Beck, Vi Golding, Deb Bennet Ph.D., Rodrigo Matos and others.
In 2004 Jean imported a young cremello ZFDp stallion Blue Eyed Dream GF and purchased several chestnut mares in the hopes of breeding Equivale's 4-inhand driving team of dark golden palominos! Jean is now focusing on competing her team in ridden dressage and combined driving, as well as teaching students at her farm and in clinics and judging dressage shows.
Jean driving the team she bred
Amber started riding at age 6, showing Western at age 8 and continuing to learn how to show English and Showmanship claiming weekend highpoint awards and often placing top five in the all around division. Over the next few years Amber spent time learning different training techniques on various horses with a range of temperaments. She now manages Equivale with the utmost attention to detail as if every horse was her child. She also competes Equivale horses in recognized ridden dressage shows and is training our horses starting with halter breaking foals through long lining yearlings all the way through upper level ridden dressage. She is also now learning to drive.
Sierra Inabnett one of Equivale's assistant trainers started training for Jean in 2016. She has been riding and competing in dressage for 12 years. She trains many horses at Equivale from foal handling to second level dressage horses as well as carriage driving. Prior to joining the team she trained under Judith Titcomb for 12 years. Sierra works hard at developing individual horses in multiple disciplines. She has won Grand and Reserve Champion as well as end of the year high point in many levels at dressage competitions.
Cheyenne Inabnett one of Equivale's assistant trainers started training for Jean in 2016. She has been riding and competing in dressage for 14 years. She trains many of Equivale's horses from foal handling to first level dressage horses as well as carriage driving. Prior to joining the team at Equivale, she trained under Judith Titcomb for 14 years. Cheyenne enjoys working with each horse to reach their potential. She has won Grand and Reserve Champion in many levels at dressage competitions.