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

Stony at Scottsdale


Jessica Smith Riding CRA MARKED IN PSTONE

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.

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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