Rachel Steen, Equine Rehabilitation Specialist, instructor, trainer and owner of the Balance Point Equestrian Center, has been surrounded by horses since before she could walk.
As a teenager, growing up in Hawaii, she spent as much time as possible with her horse, Major Sport Twist, exploring limitless miles of beach and sugar cane fields on the North Shore of Oahu.
After training her own young Quarter Horse gelding, Sport, for bridle-less riding, Rachel began receiving requests from neighbors to work with their horses.
Living near a busy Polo field, Rachel was hired to train a string of Polo horses. It was in that fast-paced world, Rachel saw for the first time that the world was full of mistreated and misunderstood horses. She soon expanded her training services to include rehabilitation for injured and stressed polo horses. She worked to find ways to teach the horses to trust humans again and relax in their new home.
In Search of the Endless Forest
Rachel and Sport moved to Oregon for college and also began working at an Arabian breeding farm & training stables where she learned stable management and gained experience handling breeding stallions. During that time, she began showing Arabians and National Show Horses in Halter, Saddle-seat, English Pleasure, Hunt Seat, Western Pleasure and Endurance. She also starting her own breeding program of Arabian performance horses.
Rachel worked her way through college training horses, and began using various “Natural Horsemanship” methods in the starting of colts, wild Mustangs and the remedial training of saddle horses.
Living in the Blue Mountains also gave her the experience to organize and lead packs trips in the high-country Wilderness of the Eagle Caps.
From the Fridge to the Oven
Rachel graduated from Eastern Oregon University with a B.A. in Pre-Veterinary Biology. She then moved across the country, trailering her 2-year-old Arabian stallion, one mare, one weanling, a yearling Kiger Mustang (with a few months of taming), and one babysitter gelding. Once in Central Texas, it took another year to establish a breeding and training stable in Bastrop, Texas.
Central Texas gave Rachel access to a wide range of equestrian professionals. In 1996, she delved into the concepts of Centered Riding and participated in a Centered Riding Clinic taught by Internationally known instructor, Wendy Murdoch.
That same year, Rachel also had the opportunity to learn from Grand Prix dressage trainer, Loma Fowler during her trips to Central Texas. It wasn’t long afterward that Rachel found herself moving from Endurance races to dressage competitions. She also added a Trakehner filly to her breeding program.
It’s not just about the Horse
After years of studying horses, Rachel felt the need to communicate more effectively with horse owners. In 1997, she traveled to Missouri and completed a Centered Riding Instructors course also taught by Wendy Murdoch.
Once back in Texas, Rachel moved closer to Austin began teaching riding lessons using the concepts of Centered Riding. While Centered Riding seemed to help teach riders to flow with their horse and stay out of their horses way, Rachel found her dressage lessons with Loma Fowler taking the concepts of balance to a much deeper level. In a quest for more knowlege and understanding, Rachel became devoted learning from the masters of Classical Dressage.
In the next few years, while continuing to study balance and straightness, Rachel also rode with Olympic medalist, Michelle Gibson; German riding master, Col. Von Ziegner; French riding master, Dominique Barbier; Grand Prix dressage trainer, Wolfgang May and Loma Fowler.
With a renewed focus on teaching, Rachel taught weekly lessons in dressage, natural horsemanship and problem-solving at several Central Texas stables.
Students from all disciplines have been able to benefit from Rachel’s simple approach of teaching horse and rider to balance and communicate. Some students use what they learned in dressage competitions, some do competitive trail, endurance, eventing, jumping, or western pleasure.
Even carriage drivers and gaited horse enthusiasts have found their way to Rachel’s training facility, The Balance Point Equestrian Learning Center.
In 2001, Rachel took her first Equine massage course and began incorporating massage into her rehabilitation work. Understanding soft tissue issues helps horses coming in for training to identify issues before they become larger problems.
To help students and horses gain confidence and experience, Rachel has organized several overnight camping trips into the high-country Wilderness of New Mexico, California as well as destinations closer to her Texas ranch.
At the end of 2004, Rachel expanded her training facility by moving to a larger property in Bastrop, TX.
The Balance Point Equestrian Learning Center hosts annual Open Houses and Equestrian Exhibitions of Liberty, Driving, Jumping and bridle-less Dressage and free seminars by equine health professionals.
The facilities includes wooded trails for driving and riding, a large outdoor dressage arena, and great areas to train for combined driving events.