A horse trainer, riding instructor, and competitor, Shawna Parks has spent 25 years working with horses and equestrians. During her career she has earned multiple champion wins in Class A rated shows and has coached her students on to success as well.
Raised on a small ranch, Shawna started riding at the age of five on the old family horse named Lucky. Early on, Shawna showed a talent for riding horses. Her family tells the story of warning Shawna not to canter Lucky, since they worried she was too young to control the horse and stay on. However, one day while inside the kitchen they happened to look out the window and saw Shawna cantering Lucky around the arena with out any problem.
After that Shawna rode constantly. In her teen years, she began going with her parents every other weekend to horse shows. Her father, who owned a printing company in the Bay Area, started the well-known horseman’s magazine called the “Spur” to pay for their show expenses. Shawna showed in both local shows and Class A rated Arabian Horse shows. During this time, she won multiple championships in Western Pleasure, Hunt Seat, Saddleseat, and Halter.
In high school, Shawna played different sports – track, soccer, and softball. Because of her atheletism, she received an all round atheletic scholarship. Shawna attended Cal Poly, the California Polytechnic Institute at San Luis Obispo, and received her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in animal husbandry where she learned about the science of taking care of domestic animals.
After college, she apprenticed with a number of well-known horse trainers:
- Donna Synder-Smith
- Debbie Compilli
- “Bubbles” (Ann) and Wes Hiller
- Bob Brooks
- Eric Wagner
- Shelia Varian
As Shawna says, “I worked for and learned from the best in the business.” Shawna learned and increased her practical horse knowledge working and training many types of horses for the show ring.
In the mid-90′s Shawna started Shawna Parks Training at Arriba Vista ranch. Arriba Vista, located between Fremont and Pleasanton off of 680, is a boarding and training facility that offers an indoor, lighted dressage court; indoor lighted riding arena; outside all-weather dressage court; outside lighted jumping arena; round riding arena and groomed and ungroomed trails.
Shawna continues to show in Western Pleasure and Reining, where she has scored multiple wins. Being a successful long-time competitor herself enables Shawna to provide technical as well as emotional support to her students who are also interested in showing. Currently Shawna spends her time teaching students of all ages and abilities in various disciplines such as Western Pleasure, English, Reining and Trail Class.