About Us

Success in Saddles - Ellen and student

Who We Are

Success In Saddles

Many know Ellen because of her esteemed career as an equitation instructor and trainer. But those with an inside view of the show horse world know that Ellen is a timing guru. She works stealthily behind the scenes at most major Saddlebred, Morgan and Arabian shows, working alongside some of today’s most revered trainers. Currently, she can be seen working equestrian events ranging from barrel racing to the ultimate show horse competition.

“Ellen is an incredibly gifted and insightful instructor. I have seen her change a rider for the better more times than I can count,” said Smith Lilly of Mercer Springs Farm and author of Saddle Seat Horsemanship. “We encourage all our riders – both Performance and Equitation – to take advantage of her clinics at every opportunity.”

Ellen cut her teeth on the ground floor and building years at the esteemed Delovely Farm. Along with Raymond and Lillian Shively, she and James Nichols, as well as many others, laid the foundation for what was to emerge. James Nichols and Ellen took that knowledge and nurtured a wildly successful juvenile and amateur program at Cryst-A-Kell Farm, winning multiple World and National titles across multiple divisions. In 2000 after becoming a mother to her daughter Molly, Ellen began planning a program which would accommodate her schedule as a mother and allow her to continue reaching her personal goals. Clinics and personal coaching became a high priority to her as she recognized her ability to influence riders quickly and with precision. In 2006 she returned to her alma mater, Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. where she led the team to restore the school’s faltering Equestrian Studies Program.

Ellen’s Success In Saddles program was born during Ellen’s later years at Stephens at the urging of fellow professionals who needed help polishing their champion combinations. Ellen is often called a “professional’s professional” because supporting the equestrian professional as they grow the show horse industry is her passion. Ellen’s years as a trainer, instructor and USEF judge, combined with her years of managing high profile committees such as the United States Saddle Seat World Cup, USEF Saddle Seat Equitation Committees and the UPHA Exceptional Challenge Cup Committee, taught her to pinpoint talent and to position it to shine. She knows that it takes a well-oiled team to make great things happen, and she is quite comfortable in her offstage role of recent years.

Ellen is assisted in running the daily operations of Success In Saddles by her assistant Hannah Sette, a Stephens College graduate. Hannah is a talented instructor and horsewoman who manages the daily operations and lesson program. Together, they train a select string of competition horses for clients wanting an individualized approach. They also teach clients who travel in to ride with them for intensive riding and collaborative training.


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Hundreds of success stories

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