Ali Calkins obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science, specializing in Equine Studies, from Delaware Valley University in 2005. Ali was highly active in the equine programs in her college years. She rode on the Intercollegiate Team for four years, and qualified for Regionals, Zones, and Nationals her senior year when she was also captain of the team. She was also a member of the Drill Team and other affiliated clubs and organizations.
In 2007 she obtained her Level 2 British Horse Society Certification for Riding and Stable Management. After college she pursued jobs in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, working under other professionals managing, training, and teaching.
In 2008, Ali began working for FEI rider Christine Betz, as assistant trainer and barn manager, and a year later built Forward Strides from her existing clientele. Ali continues to train with Christine on a weekly basis and attends clinics with other Dressage professionals to advance her skills as a growing professional.
Beginning in 2013, Ali began her venture in the recognized Dressage show world with her self trained Appendix/QH mare, Emma, beginning with Eventing and then moving to recognized Dressage competitions. By the fall of 2014 Ali had accomplished her Bronze Medal with Emma and in 2018 achieved her Bronze Freestyle Bar, and two scores for her Silver Medal. Emma has since been sold to one of Ali’s clients and is enjoying the life of a schoolmaster.
Just recently in the summer of 2021 Ali finished the scores for her USDF Silver Medal on Coronado, owned by Christine Betz, and also brought a client owned horse to the FEI level.
Ali specializes in breaking down horse and rider issues to identify the source of the problem, then works back up once the basics have been re-established. She is deliberate in her training methods and will not rush to meet a goal before the individual or horse is ready. She takes the time to understand the individual she is working with and tailors training sessions to meet their unique needs.