Ali Calkins obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Equine Studies, specializing in training, from Delaware Valley College in 2005. Ali was highly active in the equine programs in her college years. She a rider and 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 two years later built Forward Strides from her existing clientele. Ali continues to train with Christine on a monthly basis as well as with other professionals, and offers instruction and training at RF Horse Farm in Frederick County.
Beginning in 2013, Ali began her venture in the recognized Dressage show world with her Appendix/QH mare, Emma, whom Ali retrained herself, 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.
Ali is currently training two of her own young Warmbloods as well as a client’s Andalusian cross. They have had a successful two years in the show ring together and are now schooling at home preparing for 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.