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Michelle Binder

Michelle Binder is the founder of the Relational Riding Academy. Relational Riding is a program that utilizes dressage as fundamental training for all horses performing in all disciplines.In addition to being an ARIA nationally certified instructor since 1989, Michelle has been a professional trainer since 1994. Currently Michelle holds her USEF "r" Western Dressage Judges License in addition to holding a NAWD Western Dressage Judges License since 2014. Over the years Michelle trained extensively with Sue Sherry of Michigan. She has participated in instructor’s workshops and ridden in clinics with Sally Swift, Mary Wanless, Dr Gerd Heuschmann, Gerhard Politz, Jeff Cook, Isabelle Judet “O”, Dr. Rudolph Vlatten “I”, and many others. Michelle rode with Herr Claus Bergener, Grand Prix judge for the German Academy for two years before his death and studied in Europe with Polish Coach Andzrej Salacki at Lewada in 2010. Since 2009, her main mentor has been Dr Gerd Heuschmann who visits RRA twice each year for clinics and instruction. Since 2012, Michelle has developed an extensive Western Dressage program at RRA that is based on classical dressage principles. Riders from RRA have won well over 70 WDAA World and Reserve World Champion titles and NAWD National Championships plus countless local and regional year end awards in Western Dressage. RRA horses have won 2 Silver Medals, 3 Bronze medals, 7 Registers of Excellence, 8 Registers of Acheivement and 8 Registers of Merit through the WDAA Lifetime Awards program. A rider since 1969, Michelle first competed English and Western rail horses in Washington, then Thoroughbred Hunters in Kentucky. Returning to the Northwest in 1987, she pursued Combined Training through USCTA Novice and Training levels in Oregon, and finally settled into Dressage here in the Pacific Northwest in 1995. In the competitive arena, Michelle finished “VP Medley” 5th in the nation in USDF All-Breed Awards for Arabian Sport Horses, and 26th in the nation for All Breeds. In 2006 she finished “A Perfect Mr. Re” 8th in the nation in the AACAP Awards for Appaloosas competing in Dressage. In 2007, Michelle took a hiatus from dressage competition to campaign “King of Broken Hearts,” an Appaloosa stallion, in the open show arena. This horse had 50+ open show class wins and earned 20+ national Appaloosa points in Hunter Under Saddle, Western Pleasure, English Pleasure, Trail and Halter. In 2019, Michelle conmpeted her homebred American Warmblood FT Inspired by Gold to his 8th World Championship in Western Dressage. Michelle is currently working on her second book “Relational Riding: A Horsemanship Tutorial,” and has completed work on two video productions, “Any Horse, Any Rider: Relational Riding: A Universal Foundation.” and "Understand Riding from the ground up." These DVD's utilize a multi-media approach to teaching riding and horsemanship designed to give riders immediate results to training techniques. They help riders develop a relationship with their horses that is based in understanding, love, trust, and respect.

Watch the trailer for the DVD "any Horse, any Rider"

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Watch a short film of Michelle at Lewada 2010.

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