Who would you send a quirky young mare to in Aiken for the winter?

I’m considering sending my mare to Aiken for a month or two this winter. She is rising 6 but started late and can be quite quirky. I’m hesitant to send her off but I’m about to be working crazy hours for a bit and with multiple horses to ride and limited daylight hours I’m wondering if maybe sending her off for a bit might be a good solution.

I don’t want or need her out competing but I’d like her to go somewhere she could get some nice XC schooling experiences and some good flat work. Everyone I know personally that I think might work will be in Ocala or staying up north and Aiken is close enough for me to drive out for the day on occasion.

Doesn’t need to be a big name but someone who can handle a strong mare that thinks she knows it all and is sensitive but will also be a bully if she thinks she can take advantage and intimidate you.

Any suggestions welcome. I’m also not wedded to Aiken if there are any really amazing and affordable options elsewhere in the southeast.

Edited to add: it’s also important to me that she go somewhere that she will be worked predominately by the trainer, so a smaller operation would be good. She is tough and I don’t want her going somewhere that you pay for full training and it ends up being one pro ride a week and the working student the other days.

Carrie Wehle goes to Aiken for the winter. She’s not a huge operation (check out Wehle Farms - based in NY). I know a handful of people who have their sensitive/quirky/green/what have you horses in her training program and are thrilled with their progress. Carrie is a fantastic rider and horseman.

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Sally Cousins is very good with this type-- not sure if she has space.


I second Sally Cousins if she has space.

Another thought is contact Arielle at Aiken Tack Exchange. She will be able to give you some good recommendations.

Sally is great but I do get the impression that her assistants ride the horses quite a bit? I could be wrong about that.

Matt Brown is excellent and has a mid sized program. I think Woodge Fulton is also in Aiken this winter, with a great small program and her partner is a dressage rider. They are more than capable of creating an individualized program for a quirky horse.

No I’ve worked for Sally (as a groom) and she rides everything herself.


Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

Nope…opposite. Sally is the only rider and rides them all. Matt would be much more likely to put a WS on a horse.

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Wheeler Equestrian and Ray and Beth Wheeler.

Ray is great with difficult horses. He created a decent eventer and nice horse out of my previously crazy TB mare. Beth does the riding. She is a USEA judge and active eventer.

She has competed both my horses, and after taking one to the AEC two years ago, decided he would be better suited for straight dressage. He and Beth are working at fourth level now.

They are a small operation, with lots of personal attention.

Taylor Oxley runs a great little operation in the area and specializes in difficult (particularly redheaded) horses. She rides all the horses herself and is great about taking them out for schooling opportunities.

I second Carrie Wehle. No one will take better care of your horse. I’ve sent a jumper with her to Aiken. She has a good program and puts the horse first. You can pm me if you’d like more information. I wish Aiken were closer to me, I’d send more horses to her.

Another vote for Sally Cousins.

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Thanks everyone!

Another vote for Taylor.

Try Kate Brown.

If you’re looking for a smaller program, check out Jessica Schultz at Fair Play Equestrian. https://www.fairplayaiken.com/ She will ride everything herself and is a super, super rider and trainer with a great feel and lots of experience with difficult young horses.