Meet Ali Calkins

  • USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medalist
  • USDF Bronze Bar recipient
  • Certified through Level 2 with the British Horse Society
  • Bachelors Degree in Animal Science, specializing in Equine Studies
  • Certified Equine Massage Therapist through Equissage

ali calkins

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.

In 2013, Ali began competing in USEF/USDF recognized Dressage shows. Her competition career began with “I See Stars”, or “Emma” as she was called in the barn, a 15.1 hand Appendix mare. Ali trained Emma herself and started Eventing her through Beginner Novice before switching strictly to Dressage. She brought her from Training Level to Fourth Level, achieving her Bronze Medal, Bronze Bar, and half of the scores needed for her Silver. Ali always has the best interests of her horses in the forefront, and when it was time for Emma to take a step back, she let some of her students take lessons on her to show them the ropes for a year before selling her to one of them.

In 2021, Ali had the incredible opportunity to lease Coronado, an accomplished Grand Prix Oldenburg gelding owned by her trainer Christine Betz. From there she pursued her FEI career and achieved the last two scores needed for her Silver Medal. In 2022 she began working toward her Gold Medal and by the Spring of 2023 she accomplished all of her needed scores. Ali has also been developing other horses to the FEI level for the last several years.

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.

Dressage Training

Dressage Lessons

Quality Care For Horses

Ali with Tigger
Ali petting competition horse after a ride; photo by Tara Jelenie

What My Clients Say

Ali Calkins has made a difference to a number of horses and their riders! 

“I’ve been with Ali for a few years now and have nothing but positive things to say. The horse care is phenomenal and I never have to worry when I’m not there; everything is always taken care of and communicated clearly to me. My mare, who is quickly approaching FEI levels, has been in training the last few years as well and has been produced slowly and correctly with kindness and compassion. Lessons with Ali are also very valuable and tailored to each individual with clear and easy to understand instruction. Great barn atmosphere with lovely horses and riders. You won’t find a better group of people and horses!”
Chloe A.
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