Bethany was my personal instructor/trainer/barefoot trimmer & rehab therapist for the 3 years I lived near her ranch and I wished I could have taken her with me when I had to move. She worked with me and four of my horses in various capacities improving my relationship with each horse and effecting the desired outcomes. Bethany first worked with my mare and I in achieving better communication and understanding so I could work with her where she is at as well as improving her balance and confidence in group situations on the trail. She also provided additional training for my young gelding and dedicated daily long-term rehabilitation for a rescue mare in ill thrift with a chronic fetlock tendon injury. Not only did her spirit emerge and body condition shine, but the cutting edge multimodal therapies Bethany brought to bear resulted in a full functional recovery of the fetlock without need for surgery. Bethany instilled a trusting and resistance free mindset in my mare’s foal from birth to 5 months in everything from handling and hoof care to trailering, thereby ensuring a calm and safe cross country journey with the herd despite new environments and situations. As a veterinarian, I appreciated her holistic perspective, lifelong learning mindset, and evidence based approach to both the health and well being and the developmental progression of client horses and her own.
Dr Kreutzberg, D.V.M.
To all of you considering working with Distinction Ranch, I’d like to share the following: Bethany will explain your horse’s ‘picture’ in the most complete and comprehensive way. It is not a method, but rather a way of understanding the horse, YOUR HORSE, on a level that will blow both you and your horse out of the box. You will NOT be left out in the cold after your work with her; always available for her clients and students. She will help you truly UNDERSTAND. The results are REAL and PERMANENT. You will not be disappointed.
Black Beauty, “Beaut” is 15.2 well-bred American Thoroghbred. She HATED racing and never even made it to the official track, since she tried to kill her exercise jockey at Santa Anita only 20 days after being started. I got her for a song; she was really dramatic and very hard to handle. I could not touch her head and could not have her racing plates removed for 30 days—thank you Len Judd for accomplishig that. I started riding her the next summer; she was energetic and fun, but quite a handful, even on a good day. We progressed well, but I never knew which personality I might be riding. Then I met Bethany in May of '13, it was the first time I was introduced to balance work & straightness training. The difference in Beauty was nothing short of miraculous! I would not have believed it unless I was watching it. Beauty’s willingness and attitude towards me and whatever I was asking of her, from that first session forward, has been remarkable. Beauty was THE most crooked horse [both directions] that I have ever seen. And now, we have the tools to help her find her balance. It is so very rewarding!
Senesa, my little 14.1 hand, grey Quarter horse, foundation paint, cow pony has never been worked incorrectly. She is seven years old and Len’s east coast
horse and LOVES her job. Doing the straightness exercises with her only seems to solidify our bond and relationship. It is a beautiful way to “stretch her out”
without forcing her to lunge in the all too traditional sense. She just gets better and better. Her attitude and cooperation is wonderful!
Happy trails, my friends. Get ready for the ride of your life!
Paula Fitzpatrick, Alpine, Ca. / Hinsdale N.H.
We bought the horses from a Morgan ranch that breeds the Western Working line, about 70 miles east of Denver. They were 2 ½ at the time, and are 3 ½ now. Gus (the bay) and Red (sorrel) are half-brothers, sharing the same sire. We expect them to reach a full height of about 15 hands. We chose to train Morgans because of their versatility (trail, arena, cow work, endurance), walking speed and size. We knew they might not have as calm a temperament as Quarter horses, something that concerned me a bit.
When we bought our colts, they were halter broke, and we later discovered they had been minimally exposed to bits, driving and saddling – experiences that apparently were not entirely good ones for them, making them reluctant to face those experiences again. I was initially skeptical about my ability to start a colt, even with assistance. My husband’s horse progressed fairly well early on, but my horse did not seem to know where his feet were, and he strenuously objected to having a saddle put on. It’s because of these issues that deviation from traditional training strategies has been tremendously beneficial for our horses.
Working with Len and Bethany is a unique opportunity, because, with their approach to colt starting through mentoring, they are not just training horses, they are training horse owners in horsemanship. Their methods are based on both western and classical strategies that are horse-friendly, and without gimmicks. Both horse and owner/rider advance during each session, and sessions are tailored to meet the needs of both horse and human participants at the time (as opposed to marching through a series of pre-determined steps). We have learned to use a cavesson to assist our horses develop balance and straightness, and we have led them on mountain hiking trails to promote sure-footedness and environmental desensitization. Extensive ground work has taught us about how the horses move and allowed us to build solid relationships with them. Never in our sessions have I felt fear or the inability to do what Len or Bethany ask of me.
As a result of our work with Len and Bethany, and application of the strategies they promote, our flighty colts are now calm, sure-footed, and responsive to soft cues. The issues they had from early frights have been almost entirely overcome. We would not have achieved these results with our horses if we had sent them to a trainer, nor would we have progressed ourselves in our horsemanship to anywhere near the extent that we have, nor developed the relationships we have with our horses. We will continue to work with Len and Bethany as our horses and our own skills develop; I would not want to start a horse any other way or with anyone else!
Howard & Nancy Kellogg, Brawley Ca.
“I met Bethany Pappani in the spring of 2007, when I was looking for a new home for my Arabian gelding. I was going abroad for several months, and I needed someone I could completely trust on all aspects of natural horse care, including boarding, diet, ground handling, trail training, and endurance conditioning. Bethany did all that and more with my gelding during the summer of 2007. When I came back several months later, I found my horse thriving, easy to handle (you could hardly groom him before), confident and forward in the trails, and essentially ready for his endurance career. I still have my horse under a full-training program with Bethany Pappani, which really is a holistic natural horse care program. Bethany never stops surprising me with her ability to handle difficult horses, from grooming to vet procedures, from safe hauling to trail riding. This ability is part natural talent and part love for the animals; it cannot be explained by mere knowledge and experience. It’s also the love for the sport, as obvious in her meticulous preparation for competitive rides. It’s a real pleasure to be introduced to this complex sport of endurance riding with Bethany taking care of every detail and, to be honest, doing all the hard work, while I can enjoy the miles of fun riding.”
Paolo Padoan, Astral-Physics Professor
Barcelona, Spain/Poway, CA
Trail & Arena lesson Testimonials
“I recently had a long-time friend and his grandson visit from Minnesota. Bethany Pappani took the three of us on a wonderful late afternoon trail ride. Bethany allowed each of us to groom our own horse and helped us "tack up" for the ride. Bethany did a great job assessing each person's riding ability and she matched us up perfectly with just the right horse for our ride. Once on the horses, we walked, we trotted, we galloped and had an absolutely great ride up and down hills and across the fields. Joey had the biggest smile on his face the entire time! His only complaint was he wanted to ride on and on! After they left the next day I received a text message from Dave saying his grandson said the best thing about the trip to California was the great horseback ride Bethany took us on! He can't wait to come back to California and ride with her again. Thank you Bethany, for the great ride!”
Pine Valley, CA
Ride: Family Trail Experience
“I have been a student of Bethany’s for the past six months, riding in the arena but mostly on trails in the surrounding mountains, which she possesses an extensive knowledge of. Bethany’s passion for horses, enthusiasm for riding, and horse handling skills makes her the ideal teacher. She is continuously improving her own horsemanship skills and passes down her knowledge in a natural, easy manner that makes learning from her a truly pleasurable experience. I feel very comfortable riding trails with Bethany; she has a keen awareness of her surroundings and anticipates situations that could cause problems.”
San Diego, CA
Standard Trail Lesson Package
“The trail ride was definitely the best ride we have ever been on. It was wonderful and just perfect. Nothing to complain about. Jackie was totally surprised about the whole experience and kept asking where we were going, but I was persistent in not letting her know a thing. She loved it and the champagne and sunset view at the top of the mountain made the entire experience even greater. We can't stop thinking about how much fun this was, and can't wait to come back for our next ride. The horses were amazing as well. We have never felt so comfortable riding a horse, and Bethany's horses were truly amazing, and felt very secure and safe the entire time. We've been spreading the word ever since and it looks like her parents may be interested in scheduling a ride very soon. Thank you and Bethany so much for your assistance and for such a memorable experience.”
San Diego, CA
Ride: Romantic Ride through Countryside, Trailside Champagne
“As a skilled sharp shooter, Annie Oakley was right on target. Bethany Pappani is also on target when it comes to horses. Her knowledge in Western and English riding styles and horse training is also perfected with grace and beauty. As a seasoned equestrian professional, Bethany’s patient attitude with her students also reflects the love she has for her horses. With a gentle smile, a twinkle in her eye, and a wiggle in her saddle, Bethany Pappani can give you a challenge on the trail. If you like riding steep canyons with narrow trails and rocks big enough to make your eyeballs pop out of your head, then give Bethany a call. She can really make you yell YAHOO when it comes to horseback trail riding. I would best describe Bethany Pappani’s equestrian skills with three words: pleasant, patient, and perfectionism. Her knowledge and love for horses is respected by her students as well as by her colleagues. When it comes to horses, Bethany Pappani is a true professional!”
San Diego, CA
Standard Trail Lesson Package
Youth Program Testimonials
"We have four children ranging in age from 3 to 9 (two boys and two girls), and all four love taking lessons with Bethany and Len. Our older daughter started lessons with Bethany five years ago when she was three and never wanted to leave. Now all four of our children share that same enthusiasm for riding lessons. Both Bethany and Len have a unique and amazing way not only with the horses, but also our children. Our kids have loved every experience there and always leave wanting to come back as soon as they can! Bethany and Len have given our children the gift of a life-long love of horses, and also the confidence they gain with each lesson. It is amazing to see Bethany and Len making a difference in the lives of so many young children. As parents, we cannot think of a more enriching and enjoyable activity for all of our kids! Riding brings out something wonderful in each of them!"
Pine Valley, CA
"Distinction Ranch’s Jr Buckaroo’s is great program. My daughters’ Koral and Rainy have been lucky enough to be part of it for the last four years. They have learned how to understand, love, and respect animals. It has made them more confident in them elves, and more patient. We found a whole new side to our daughters that would have never been exposed if it weren't for Distinction Ranch. Len and Bethany are excellent trainers and treat our daughters very well, and can easily keep their attention. They are very generous as they have also given Koral Ricochet, a miniature horse, and have taken both of them in parades. It's been a wonderful experience we feel very blessed to be part of."
Sara Richardson, Guatay Ca.
"Our experience with Distinction Ranch Jr Buckaroo’s has been nothing short of spectacular. My daughter Kaden began receiving lessons in 2011 at the age of 5. She had always been “horse crazy” and was eager to learn to ride. The cost of lesson was prohibitive so she had to settle for the occasional pony ride at a carnival or fair. We heard about the pro-bono youth program from a friend and quickly applied. Little did I know then, that filling out that application would not only fulfill Kaden’s dream of riding, but eventually that of her sister and brother. From the very first day Kaden was made to feel comfortable around the horses but was taught to have a respect for not only their size but their individual natures, needs and likes. Kaden has learned the importance of grooming, correct equipment and overall horsemanship. She understands the huge responsibility that comes with caring for a horse. Bethany is an incredible trainer who demands the best from her students. She is intuitive in understanding what each child is capable of and has the ability to push each child to his or her personal best. Bethany pairs the students with impeccably trained horses that provide the students the opportunity to demonstrate competence. On many occasions I have seen Kaden push herself to rise to the challenges that Bethany sets.
For me, the thrill of seeing Kaden sit so tall and confident in the saddle is a feeling that is unmatched. I see the light in her eyes and the ear to ear smile on her face and I feel incredibly indebted to Distinction Ranch for giving her this opportunity. "
Shannon Rowe, La Mesa Ca.