Rebecca Cushman, Becky to most, isn't your typical dressage trainer. She has a multi-faceted background including working cattle, exercising polo ponies, scrambling over untold miles conditioning endurance horses, schooling over fences in eventing stables, and conducting her own "vet checks" at race tracks. While working with horses of all breeds and disciplines, Becky has always known that her passion is dressage. Not only is she drawn to the subtlety of the discipline, but she is enchanted by the communication that transpires between the rider and their massive dance partner.
Ever since anyone can remember, Becky has been horse obsessed. When she was 14, Sidley Payne bought the only stable in her small coastal town and Becky became her working student for the next 9 years. As a former Olympic alternate herself, Sidley coached Becky to many awards at 3rd and 4th level on the prestigious Los Angeles dressage circuit. More importantly, Becky was afforded the opportunity to receive the benefits of a European style apprenticeship, often riding over 10 horses a day, developing very high standards in horse management, and becoming very proficient in formulating successful rehabilitation programs. Seeing the beautiful horses that came through the barn in that time did nothing but whet her appetite for international competition.
In 1998 Becky graduated from Dominican College with a BA in Liberal Arts and a Minor in piano. With her formal education behind her, Becky turned her focus to teaching and training dressage, and Paradigm Sporthorse Training was born. She figured that with honesty, hard work, and a sympathetic approach to training horses, she could establish herself as a prominent trainer in California....the first rung on the ladder to her Olympic aspirations.
Becky has trained several horses to FEI levels and earned her USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals, finishing with year end awards on numerous horses. She has coached multiple students to year end awards through Prix St. Georges, an endeavor she enjoys as much as competing herself. She has a supportive, fun, and loyal group of clients, many of whom compete themselves. Additionally, she has the good fortune to have an established and well-regarded contacts in Europe and imports top quality dressage horses from Holland, Germany, and Denmark.
Anyone who has competed knows that the costs are monumental. Becky has managed to climb up the ranks while being entirely self-supported. Most recently she has been working with Nick Wagman and Alfredo Hernandez. She has ridden in clinics with many dressage icons including: Heather Blitz, Charlotte Bredahl, Jan Ebeling, Lilo Fore, Juan Matute, Steffan Peters, Conrad Schumacher,, Dane Rawlins, Gary Rockwell, Sue Curry-Shafer, Axel Steiner, Betsy Steiner, Alex von Silfout, and Jane Weatherwax. Becky has also continued her education over fences, when there are appropriate mounts in the stable, taking lessons with David Adamo, Mattias Ekeroth, and judge Hillary Dorris. She competes her own Peabody, currently on the cusp of debuting at Prix St. Georges, and often can be spotted competing several client owned horses. Peabody is her absolute true love, and Becky is very excited to see how far they can go together.
On occasion, Becky has modeled for, and provided horses for commercials. Fruit of the Loom, and Pfizer are among the companies in her portfolio. She enjoys this work, as a fun, rewarding diversion from her 'real' life!
It has always been important to Becky not to let her competitive goals eclipse her desire to do what she can to help animals in need. To that end she is an established horse rehabilitation specialist. By carefully evaluating the movements and behaviors of injured horses, Becky has been able to rehabilitate an impressive number of horses from injury. Most of these horses come to Becky on veterinary recommendations. Additionally, she is active in rescuing horses from the race track and works with a local dog rescue to place abandoned and abused dogs in new homes.