Trainer's horses are her best friends

September 30, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

Anne Clay's voice takes on a sugary tone when she talks to horses.

"They're just like big dogs," she said. "They love to play."

Her horses, she says, are her best friends.

Clay and Sheri Robinson, manager of Fountain Valley Farm, wanted to share their mutual love for horses with others and so they have begun to teach riding lessons to adults and children.

They teach every discipline from Western, used for trail riding, to Dressage, the equine version of ballet.

During the day, Clay works as a sport manager for USA Equestrian at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Sport managers are like referees for equestrian sports.

USA Equestrian is the national governing body for national and world championships, including the Olympics.

This summer Clay moved back to Danville to be closer to her grandmother. She was looking for a place to board her horses, Bo and Roan. She found Fountain Valley, an 84-acre farm on Perryville Road, and Robinson. Clay exercises the horses boarded there and does some training.


She compared schooling a horse to training a dog. Her horses even do tricks. For a peppermint, Bo will nod his head, "yes" and Roan will bow, give kisses and ask please by bending her head.

"I'm queen of teaching stupid pet tricks," she said.

When Clay and Robinson teach students to ride, they also teach them to groom the animals, what to feed them, how to put on a saddle, and safety.

"Horses, like any athlete, have to stretch before exercising, and they have to cool down," Clay said.

The pair are planning to have Sunday trail rides for adults and a Halloween event for children, with horse painting and apple bobbing.

Clay has worked for Payson Stud, Crestfield Farm and Hermitage Farm. She was on the University of Kentucky's equestrian and polo teams.

Robinson has been the manager of Fountain Valley Farm for a decade and also has worked at Milford and Margaux Farms.

The pair offer boarding, breaking, broodmare care, lay-ups, riding lessons, sales prep and training.

For more information, call (859) 238-7019 or visit

Liz Maples can be reached at

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