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Students over the years have included “such talents as Michael
Endicott, Darlene Sandlin, Ali Nilforushan, Donald Cheska,
“When you sit on a good one of
Khalid Alid, John French, Charlie Weaver, Todd Minikus, Lyman
Whitehead, Leslie Steele, Misti Cassar and so many others as
those(dressage horse) and feel a top
well as coaching the Saudi Olympic Team,” Bernie expressed
with a touch of sentiment. “The years have been good to me,
Passage, it is beyond description. It
and it’s a privilege to know you have been of some help to
is what wet my whistle for knowledge
others. My main mentor was Rodney Jenkins and he instilled
in me the dedication to other riders and not only myself. He is of flat work, the dedication of that
actually the one who introduced me to the concept of working
for our sport, and at the same time concentrating on the good
work ethic and the reward you get
of our industry, BUT most of all he left me with a long standing
from the horse. It changed my entire
impression of the true meaning of horsemanship.”
“I have always worked hard and now I can enjoy the changes in approach to riding jumping horses.”
my career as I go along. I am really having a good time being so
involved in the Organizations and the direction the West Coast
is taking. I am doing some free lance work and have a few clients
at home. Show coaching has taken on a time commitment with
several riders and I really like clinics and sales. It’s the mix that is
comfortable for me now,” Bernie said.
When asked what makes him cry, his answer was swift and
strong but with a little misty eye. “My daughter made me cry
when she came out of the ring placing 2nd in her first Grand
Prix at Woodside this year.” At the same time he adds, “Cait
does, that woman over there”, as he points to his wife standing
by the fireplace. “She is the best thing that has happened to
me, and came when I was least expecting it. It was purely an
accidental meeting.”
Bernie was doing a clinic in Northern California, and Cait
was working for a vet. She was at the stable doing some medical
work when Bernie came by to check out the place for the clinic.
Walking down the barn aisle he stopped to talk horse talk and
was impressed with her genuine down to earth charm. 6
“It was such an accident,” said Cait. “We talked for awhile, he
said he would be coming back, and then said to me that it would
be nice if I came to visit him there. I thought of nothing else for
those 2 weeks, and then just sort of acted like I had inadvertently
‘shown up’ at the clinic. His reaction made me glad I did!! That
was 8 years ago, and we have been together ever since.”
When Caitin is asked what people would be surprised to
know about Bernie, the answer ranges all over the place with
one surprise after another. “He is a private pilot, he is a boat
captain, and he is also a dive master. He never thinks he has
the final answer and never presumes he ‘knows’. He is always
seeking more information, and his mind works in a direction of
making things better. He prides himself that he will always be a
horseman first!”
Bernie has reached the top in all 3 of the traditional Olympic
disciplines, Eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping. A marvelous
accomplishment very few horsemen have ever achieved. His
career has taken him all over the world, his horses have left a
mark on our competitive sport, his dedication and work ethic is
far, far past amazing. His example as a trainer is to be absorbed
and now his commitment to the West Coast sport is his legacy.
In the end, he says, when he “grows up” he would like to
Top to bottom: 1. Michaela Traurig on Sophie. 2. Natasha on Hemmingway.
end up “Just like my blacksmith, just here and there wherever
3. BT and Daughter Natasha after placing 2nd in her first Grand Prix in the
he wants to go!! Travel as I want and just enjoy my family and
$20,000 GP of Woodside in June. 4. Lucas on Johnny Bravo, Champion
Thermal 2007. 5. BT & Son after winning Champion Pony Jumpers. 6.
someday the grandkids!” he ends with a loud sensational laugh.
Bernie’s son Michael. 7. Caitlin & Bernie. 8. & 9. Bernie’s Facilities and Home
It’s a laugh that encompasses all around him and draws you in.
in San Marcos, Ca.
It’s a laugh you just want to enjoy.
Photos © Budd, Coralie W. Smith, Flying Horse Photography, Freudy Photos,
If you would like to contact Bernie, he can be reached at www.
Howard Schatzberg, Tarrance Photos, Tish Quirk,, or by phone at 760/522-6060.
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