I was directed to Bookmark as an adult re-rider to overcome confidence issues with my riding.  I came because of the stellar reputation of Joan Promen and because of the exceptional facilities and school horses.  I have stayed because of the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made and yes, because of the recovered confidence that allows me to continue enjoying horses and riding.  Thanks, everyone at Bookmark!  ~ Cathy Thompson  4/2017

“While riding at Bookmark Farms I have learned so much courtney-newby-225x300about all aspects of riding and horse care. Now that I am away at college majoring in Equine Studies, I am constantly reminded of the importance of a solid foundation in the basics of riding, as well as an in-depth understanding of fine-tuned techniques and skills. I feel as though I couldn’t have been better prepared for my riding classes at school. The one aspect about Bookmark Farms and my training with Joan Promen that sticks out the most in my mind is the attention to detail and the importance of not cutting any corners while learning. It helped me head into college with confidence, feeling safe and secure in my equestrian pursuits.”

-Courtney Newby, Student-Lake Erie College, IEA National Champion in Varsity Intermediate on the Flat, and Bookmark Farms student since 2002.


“Oliver” and Sarah, with Mom Ashley Ekola and little sister Sophie looking on.

It is the most wonderful thing to ride and learn and share our love of horses together! (Of course I couldn’t stand just watching for long – I started riding lessons too.) We have discovered that while horses in general are fantastic, Bookmark Farms is truly remarkable. Joan and all the trainers are respected and loved by horse and human students alike, and the values that permeate the place make it incredibly special. All students learn confidence, respect, trust, determination, patience, generosity, responsibility, humility, partnership, and compassion in addition to riding and horsemanship skills. What is it they say?…there is plenty of horse sense in the world, but the horses have most of it? There is plenty to be found at Bookmark Farms!

Getting back in the saddle as an adult has done more for me than I can explain. It seems like such a big mountain to climb, especially in middle age, to get back to something that is so physically demanding. But it has given me such joy!

To watch Sarah progress and learn and excel at something she loves so much is a great gift for a Mom. I was wondering aloud on the way home the other night how it is that she understands the horses so well, and she said, “Well, that’s easy Mommy. You know the thing inside the horse that makes the horse a horse? I have that in me, too!”

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