Mike Marquez has been a horseman all
his life. He was raised on a ranch in the
Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern
California, where his parents trained and
bred Quarter Horses, Appaloosas and
He is the 5th generation on the family
cattle ranch that was started in the latter
half of the 1800's in Marysville, Calif.
This lifestyle allowed him to learn early on
how valuable a horse is to the success of
being a working cowboy, and how
important it is to master the skill of
developing a horse into that valuable tool.
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
Upon leaving college Mike went to work for Bob Smith, Tony Garcia and Dick Knight
to learn from these exemplary horsemen, working with Arabians, Working Cow
Horses and Cutting Horses.
In 1981 he was brought to Connecticut by El Hamal Arabians as an assistant trainer. A
couple of years later he went out on his own and established Vaquero Training Center.
Through the years he has trained and shown horses to multiple championships in
several disciplines, including western pleasure, reining, dressage, hunter, and trail. He
has worked extensively with Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods and
Arabians. Youth and Amateur riders have been equally successful under his tutelage.
Out of the showpen, he is best known for his skill at starting babies, and his ability to
retrain horses with serious behavior and training problems.
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:
- Tri-State Horseman's Assoc.
- 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 * firstname.lastname@example.org