Laura Marquez (Naegeli) has been riding for almost 40 years
and comes from a diverse background of horsemanship
spanning several generations. Some of her earliest training
was with the Glastonbury Pony Club and at Henley Farms in
Andover, CT where Pam Goodrich was trainer. When Henley
Farms burned, Laura honed her jumping skills as a working
student of Beth Baumert at Cloverlea Farm in Columbia, CT.
Eventually Laura focused primarily on Dressage and worked
with both Beth and Sarah Geikie, owner of Angushire Farm.
Throughout her youth, involvement with the U.S. Dressage
Federarion's Young Riders program, Laura benefited from the
instruction of clinicians such as; Jimmy Woffard, Denny
Emerson, Gunnar Ostergaard, Lendon Gray, Kathy Connelly,
Max Gahwyler, Volker Brommann, Pam Goodrich, Reiner
Klimke and Gerd Reuter with an invitation to apprentice in
After my folks split up and sold the ranch when I was 11, my brothers and I went to
Mexico with Dad where he started ranching in Culiacan, Sinaloa. After 5 years of
Mexican adventures, I came back to the U.S. to finish high school, heading to the
family cattle ranch in Marysville, California (my brothers, cousins, and myself being
the 5th generation on the ranch) to hang my hat for a while.
The next several years I spent playing with horses, rodeoing some, working cattle
quite a bit, doing some horse showing, and generally having a good time. I spent
some time in my late teens and early twenties picking the brains of a few trainers I
admired, swapping riding their colts and problem horses for knowledge. It was a
good bargain for both of us.
In 1981 I was hired to come train horses for an outfit in Connecticut (never having
been east of the Rockies before that, I had to look at a map just to see where it was
located), so I loaded up my dogs and gear in the truck, and headed east. About a
year later, after a few requests from people, I decided to start my own training
business. Since then I've been in my own little world, training horses, helping them,
and learning from them.
All through my life growing up, I've been exposed to the California vaquero's
traditions of horsemanship, through story and by example. Of all the things I've been
around, that made the biggest impression on me, and has always been a major
factor in my work. Although there wasn't much call for traditional vaquero
horsemanship (jaquima a freno) in the east, the philosophies have served me very
well in all aspects of the diverse work I've done here.
When I started Vaquero Training Center in 1983, not many even knew what the word
"vaquero" meant, and only a handful outside the west coast regions had much
knowledge of the vaquero horsemanship traditions. Although it's gratifying to see a
resurgence in awareness in the Californio horse traditions, people should understand
that it's much more than wearing a specific attire, being able to speak the "lingo". It's
a philosophy. Of the Horse. Their most valuable asset. A testament to their lives.
In 1986, Laura represented CDCTA as a team member with Sarah Geikie,
Karen Roberts and Claudia Tarlov at the Eastern States Dressage and
Combined Training Association competition held at the U.S. Olympic
Headquarters in Gladstone, NJ. She celebrated her 16th birthday riding down
the center line of this event.
Throughout almost four decades of riding, Laura received numerous
championships and year end awards in Dressage, Eventing and Hunters:
USDF, CDCTA, NEDA, Tri-State Horseman's Assoc., CDA, US Pony Clubs
Additionally, Laura's involvement in Pony Club and Connecticut 4-H programs
offered her opportunities for equine educational recognition in Horse Judging,
Hippology and Quiz Bowl at both state and national levels. In 1987 Laura
received the Reader's Digest Presidential Award at the National 4-H Congress
and was the recipient of one of six AQHA scholarships, out of over 200,000
applicants, as well as a full tuition scholarship to UConn's Ratcliffe Hicks School
of Agriculture, studying Equine Science, and rode as a member of the school's
competitve teams, including their Polo team.
Laura owned and operated Nightingale Farm in Hebron, CT, a full service
boarding facility prior to working with Mike.
7 Cemetery Rd East Windsor, CT 06088 * (860) 623-2687 * email@example.com
Mike Marquez - I've always felt very
fortunate to have been born to the
situation I was, and to be exposed to
the life style I grew up in. Almost
everything about my life has some
relevance to the horse. They've been
a part of my life, in one way or
another, since I hit the ground. My
folks had a 1,000 acre horse
operation in Sierra Valley in the
northern California mountains where
they ran upwards of 120 brood mares
consisting mostly of Quarter Horses,
Appaloosas, and Welsh ponies.