Rebecca has spent her whole life around horses, growing up in the barn as her mother is an instructor and trainer. At age eleven, with her mother’s guidance, Rebecca started her very first horse under saddle – a coming three year old Quarter Horse/Paint cross. Her first pony did a little bit of everything and loved to jump. She prepared Rebecca to later compete in Hunt Seat classes on her next horse, an OTTB gelding that was given to her by a friend. She was an active member of a 4H club competing at the State level, and participated on her high school Interscholastic Equestrian Association Hunt seat team.
Although Rebecca dabbled in dressage with her OTTB, it was not until she rode a friend’s Oldenburg mare that she felt a strong desire to learn more about dressage. Rebecca helped pay for her horse by working at the barn, and was often able to catch ride friend’s horses or sales horses to gain experience.
Upon graduating from High School, Rebecca was offered a scholarship to St. Andrews University in North Carolina with plans to ride on their Intercollegiate Dressage team. Sadly, she was unable to attend as her mother was battling cancer at the time. As her mother’s health improved, and armed with the experience she gained working at a busy lesson/show stable, Rebecca accepted a position as a working student with Grand Prix dressage rider Silva Martin. While working for Silva, Rebecca was given a talented Oldenburg gelding who was schooling third level. Unfortunately, not long after his arrival, her new horse tore his deep digital flexor tendon and had to be sent home for a year of stall rest. Rebecca spent two years with Silva and was able to grow from working student to barn manager and head groom for her horses.
With her Oldenburg gelding returning to work and another young OTTB to work with, Rebecca took a working student position with Grand Prix trainer Ashley Madison of Yellow Wood Dressage. Rebecca is working toward attaining her USDF medals is excited about the future with her lovely Westtfalen yearling that is growing up at home in North Carolina. Rebecca is excited to continue her journey with Ashley and the team at Yellow Wood Dressage!
Yellow Wood would not be Yellow Wood without Shawndell! From the very beginning of our journey, Shawndell has been a vital part of our team! She has an exceptional attitude and work ethic and is an incredible horsewoman. She has the most positive energy an is always willing to jump in and help where needed. She is a very special young woman who contributes an enormous amount to the team!