The Arabian Horse Association has a wonderful youth division and our shows start with the lead line class for children as young as three years old. Visit the Arabian Horse Association on line at


Giovanni Saldana

Jesse Giovanni Saldana has always loved being around horses. He was on a horse before he was on a bike! He started showing at a very early age. He would show the gorgeous mare I’m a Rich Girl aka Paris owned by Amy Ash. These two formed a very special bond and were inseparable.

I’m a Rich Girl went to a new home in Northern Carolina and Giovanni took a little break from showing. Giovanni came home one day to be taken down to the barn by his dad to show him who was back!

“My Sweet, sweet girl!” were the exact words out of his mouth when he saw Paris again. Giovanni was back to riding every day and now was also riding Stallion Mark of Shai+//. He wanted to be able to show both of the horses and he decided he would show in the 13 and under class even though he is only 10 years old.

He has shown at a couple of class A shows both I’M A RICH GIRL and Mark OF SHAI+// garnering Championships wins on both. He loves and enjoys showing and riding. Jesse and Juana as parent’s can’t thank Amy Ash and Roberta Dixon enough for allowing their son to ride and show these magnificent horses.

Karina Saldana

Being born into the family business was a blessing. While most kids couldn’t run past the sidewalk I could freely roam the ranch. I could come home and unwind by going down to the barn and watching my dad ride or feeding the horses tons of apples. When I was young I was given a horse as a gift by Roberta Dixon. Her name was Princess Diana. She was amazing and we fell in love almost instantly. We developed a bond that was unbreakable. While my uncle and father would sometimes struggle to catch her I could walk into the pasture call her name and she would come jogging over in a matter of seconds. I rode her in the leadline and once I couldn’t show leadline anymore we decided to give her a break and used her for lessons. In 2008 she passed away and I thought I’d never show again. Then along came Amy Ash with her beautiful mare I’m A Rich Girl. I began to ride her for fun and my dad and Amy both decided that I would be able to show her. I of course loved the idea and got to work after Region 3. I’ve been riding “Paris” for almost 4 months now and I couldn’t be happier. I work with her every day that I am not in school. I attend the Santa Rosa Junior College and hope to transfer to UCLA to study business then come back to San Francisco to pursue a career in fashion design. The idea of making show outfits has crossed my mind several times. After all I am a Saldana and you couldn’t keep me away from my horses for all the money in the world.

Else Stuart

Else Stuart and Smokey joined the Jesse Saldana Training Center in August 2007 and have both loved every minute since then!  Throughout high school, Else and Smokey enjoyed their time together training at the barn under Jesse's excellent care, and traveling to Class A and Regional shows to compete in Hunter Pleasure, Country English, and Native Costume classes -- even  enjoying the occassional Championship!  More importantly though, Else has loved the friendships with the other youth and adults who train and show with Jesse. The clients at the Jesse Saldana Training Center are friendly, generous, and fun. They help each other, cheer each other, celebrate each other's successes, and support each other. With Jesse, his family, and all the clients, JSTC is the best possible enivironment for a youth rider! Throughout high school, Else also participated in Future Farmers of America (FFA). She was able to use her activities with Smokey and her learning from Jesse as her yearly FFA Proficiency Project in Equine Science. In 2012 her Equine Science Proficiency won the California State competition and is currently a Top 5 finalist for the National competition which will be held in October 2012 in Indianapolis. Else has been accepted to the Colorado State University Equine Science program and plans to being college in Fall, 2013.

Jayme Mitchell

Jayme became a part of the Saldana Training family when she was 11 years old. She was riding and training her horse SCA Silver Strike when she met Jesse, they trained and were very successful. SCA Silver was retired at the age of 20 and now lives the amazing life as a pasture horse on the JSTC facility.

From the very first day she came to the barn, she fell in love with a young horse in the pasture named Grayson WR aka “Lucky”.  As Silver was being retired, Jesse and Juana graciously offered “Lucky” as an option for her. Unbeknownst to Jayme, while she trained on “Lucky” her parents purchased him for her as a 14th birthday gift.

Two years later, they are inseparable. With Jesse’s incredible knowledge and training they have accomplished many wins in the show ring. On any given day, her preference would be to be at the barn than any other place.

Jesse has an amazing way with horses and his youth riders. The level of respect and gratitude is immeasurable. She is a very accomplished rider because of her time in training with Jesse and his patience and knowledge.

Jesse and Juana are family. We are very proud to be a part of such a wonderful training facility.


Jayme and her family recently re-located to Lincoln, CA. Her most important wish prior to the move was that her horses would remain in Santa Rosa and in training with Jesse.


Jayme is a junior at Lincoln High School and has just joined the FFA program and is focusing her studies in agricultural and animal behaviors.  She is also a volunteer at Ride to Walk in Lincoln.  Ride to Walk is a non-profit organization which mission is to enhance the lives of children and young adults with neurological disabilities by providing therapeutic horseback riding.

Eva and Lily

Lily and Eva have been riding horses since they were 2 years old, first in the saddle with their mom, and then eventually on their own under the tutelage of various trainers. With each trainer, the girls were fortunate to ride seasoned show horses, a few horses on the greener side, and a wide range of breeds. Their parents believe this broad exposure early in their riding activities helped to further enhance Lily's natural confidence and strong sense of determination that is evident each time she sits in a saddle; while Eva showed a tendency to self-teach and move forward by watching activities at the barn and then implementing her own strategies to get the job done.

The experiences with various trainers, disciplines, and breeds also helped to focus both girls toward a true love and passion for the Arabian horse, and specifically, the Arabian show horse. Lily's pure joy in observing and learning to work with Arabians and their spirited manner was deeply compelling, and Eva's competitive drive was so strong that the search began for a permanent Arabian show barn to be a home base for the girls. Their parents would need to find a trainer that understood and valued the love and passion these young girls have for the Arabian breed, and a trainer that would cultivate and further develop the girls' individual confidence and skills through positive and motivational instruction.

The family attended various horse shows and observed many trainers with their clients and horses in training. One trainer always stood out above the rest, Jesse Saldana. Jesse was quiet, calm, kind, and always smiling. He was never heard yelling, but rather communicating with respect to those he was instructing. He was always ringside with his students who were showing, fully engaged and attentive to them. He was well-regarded and well-referred. His clients were loyal and steadfast. From all accounts...even from youth students at competitive barns...he was touted as a great choice for the anyone looking for more than just a barn, but a "home" barn. The only sticking point was his location in Santa Rosa... 2 1/2 hours from the family's home in Lincoln. How was this possibly going to work?

"Two and a half hours each way every Saturday for lessons. Quite a haul...quite a commitment, and not one that has been questioned or regretted since making the decision to join with Jesse last year. As parents, we could not be more comfortable or confident in the decision we made to work with Jesse, his lovely wife and children, and his exceptional staff. We thoroughly trust his guidance and leadership, and are amazed at his talent not only in training his horses, but in teaching his clients. Jesse's patience and ability to impart his knowledge to our daughters is amazing. We appreciate that he respects each of our daughters, Lily and Eva, as individuals, and that he has taken the time to instruct each one differently but with equal effectiveness. Jesse reaffirms the girls' indiviual talents and strengths, and seemingly sees no weaknesses, no obstacles, but rather opportunites for growth in positive measures. Lily and Eva have never learned so much or enjoyed so much fun in the process.

Thank you Jesse Saldana for futhering our daughters' joys and dreams!! We appreciate you!"


Riding in shows helps children learn manners, confidence and sportsmanship.

Parents, if you are new to horses, you need to know only some horses are suited for riding with kids. If you are interested in getting a horse for your child, give us a call and we will be happy to help you find a beautiful Arabian horse for your child to love and enjoy.


Youth at Saldana Training Center

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