Certification and References

What I teach, and what I have done

About Natural Horsemanship

Natural horsemanship is the philosophy of working with horses by appealing to their instincts and herd mentality. It involves communication techniques derived from wild horse observation in order to build a partnership that closely resembles the relationships that exist between horses. Click here for Wikipedia's definition.

About Groundwork

Groundwork is the foundation of an owner's relationship with a horse. A series of structured exercises performed (between owner and horse) on the ground, they gently reinforce an owner's authority to the horse. This interaction and instruction teaches a horse to follow an owner's lead and requests. This foundation building between owner and horse is much easier done from the ground as opposed to from the saddle, that's why it's called "ground" work. Click here for a great description of groundwork at the Alpha Horse site.

Julia's Professional Experience

Freelance Horse Trainer and Instructor
Specializing in natural horsemanship, hunter jumper and dressage
(May 2010 to Present)

Natural Horsemanship / Hunter Jumper Trainer
New Beginnings Equestrian Center (North Plains, OR)
(September 2010 to Present)

Dressage, Natural Horsemanship and Hunter Jumper Trainer
Sherly Johnson Private Equestrian Center (North Plains, OR)
(January 2011 to Present)

Hunter Jumper Trainer
Blackhawk Equestrian Center (North Plains, OR)
(May 2010 to September 2010)

Hunter Jumper Training
Coldemier Farms (Garden Home, OR)
(August 2008 to January 2010)

Academy Director and Head Instructor of Riding Academy
French Hill Farms, Hunter Jumper Training Facility (Aurora, OR)
(April 2003 to August 2008)

Barn Manager and Trainer
Rancho Carefree Private Equestrian Farm (Bend, OR)
(August 2001 to March 2002)

Assistant Trainer
Surplus Family Private Equestrian Center (Prineville, OR)
(August 2001 to March 2002)

Rocky Mountain Pleasure Horse Ranch, Sales and Breeding (Bend, OR)
(August 2001 to March 2002)

Farm Holiday Stables Riding Academy (Salzburg, Austria)
(1988 to 2001)

Barn Assistant
A&B Natural Horsemanship Ranch (Salzburg, Austria)
(1998 to 2001)

Julia's Education & Certification

Blackhawk Equestrian Center (North Plains, OR)
Caitlin Huntress, Natural Horsemanship Trainer
Received weekly training from May 2010 to present

Coldemier Farms (Garden Home, OR)
Krista Vangstad, Nationally Acclaimed Equestrian Trainer & Riding Instructor for Hunter Jumper

Kevin Freeman, Olympic Champion for Hunter Jumper
Received private training and participated in clinics from April 2003 to January 2010

Stella Sport Horses (Aurora, OR)
Akiko Hamada, Hunter Jumper
Received weekly training from April 2003 to August 2008

TRU Horsemanship (Redmond, OR)
Clint Surplus, Natural Horsemanship Trainer
Received weekly training and participated in clinics from August 2001 to March 2002

Marion Handlechner, Olympic Champion for Dressage (Salzburg, Austria)
Received training in 1999

A&B Ranch (Salzburg, Austria)
Andre Stockinger, Natural Horsemanship Trainer
Received weekly training from 1998 to 2001

Happy Horses, Happy People!


What  People Liked

Here are a few references from some of my wonderful clients:

From Deborah S:
Julia Mattson has been giving my daughter and her horse lessons for a month now, and I can't believe the progress both have made. She is great with the kids, very patient and wonderful with the horses as well. A clear knowledge of how to communicate with both and make it fun for them.

From Amber Kastar
I started riding with Julia last September; I truly haven't found another trainer like her. No one matches her positive attitude, her eagerness to teach, and the lengths she goes to for her students and horses, both in and out of the arena. I'm so happy I found Julia, I've become such a better rider and individual because of her! She is great with both beginners and advanced riders alike, and caters to any riding goals you have. She goes out of her way daily to give each student the best learning experience possible. Julia is a wonderful trainer and person to be around! I highly recommend her to anyone!

From Nancy W:
Julia Mattson is a wonderful trainer for all ages! Happy Horse has provided many experiences to all ages including Kid's Horse Camp, Girl Scout Lessons, Trail Riding, tailered Mini Camps, And Camping trips with the horses to the beach and central Oregon.

From Lisa Kay M:
I have had my Oldenburg in training with Julia for almost 6 weeks now and am so impressed with his progress! I love the fact that she is SO patient and spends so much time getting him to trust her. Julia has went above and beyond with his training (not just in the arena, but on the trail, over bridges, through water:). I can not say how pleased I am and would recommend her as a trainer to anyone, you would be lucky to work with her!

From Patti C.:

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
How can I thank you enough! Abby was so excited and delighted with your connection with her and Sully. She was beaming and all smiles all the way home. She couldn't quit telling her dad and mom how much fun she had and how nice you were with her. You made her day and also made me very proud of my granddaughter and horse. He really worked well for you, especially since he hasn't been used for lessons for over 5 years. I was delighted! I will get back to you this week in order to get her some more lessons lined up. She is looking forward to going on a trail ride with you.
Thank you again,  
Patti C.

From Halina K.:

To all prospective clients of Julia’s and to all others it may concern,

I am proud and honored to take some time to share my gratitude regarding Julia Mattson in both the person she is and the unparalleled service she provides.  I started taking Horseback Riding lessons with Julia only about 4 months ago and already I feel as though I’ve been on an amazing journey to my soul’s deepest desires and happiness.  In such a short time I know I have been so lucky as to find both a trusted mentor and lifelong friend in Julia (and in the horses too ;).  From day one, Julia impressed me with her knowledge and professionalism, but also her undeniably bright and glowing personality.  There was no question that this lady knew her horses…but she also knows her people too!  I knew right away that I was going to learn so much from this woman AND that I was going to adore her. 

At this point I’ve ridden and taken lessons with Julia at several different stables throughout the Portland/Metro area and on many different horses.  One thing that I value SO much about working with Julia is that no matter what kind of new situation I encounter with her, whether it be riding a new horse for the first time, doing a new activity or exercise or taking a trail ride I’ve never been down before, I always feel SO SAFE with her.  I trust implicitly that she would never put me into a situation that I couldn’t handle.  She is uniquely perceptive to both the person and the horse and able to gauge one’s personal abilities, strengths and weaknesses and apply the perfect mixture of comfort and challenge.  I know she will push me and challenge me to excel, and yet I know it will always be within the limits of safety for my current ability.  Another aspect of Julia’s teaching that I value dearly is her patience and positive reinforcement.  Working with horses can be a huge test of patience at times and when I’ve been frustrated, she simply reinforces the positives and models a patient and accepting attitude. In other words, I never leave a lesson feeling as though nothing was accomplished.  I always know that no matter how big or small, we are making progress together.

I could go on and on and if it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am!! This woman is simply amazing!  Working with Julia, it’s easy to see her passion for horses, but equally as admirable is her passion for life and in sharing that with all those she comes in contact with.  It’s a beautiful thing when what we do with our lives comes into perfect harmony with who we are as individuals.  It’s the mark of an exceptional teacher, professional, and human being and it’s the difference between simply teaching a skill and sharing an experience  – that’s Julia, and it’s infectious, it’s impossible not be inspired by it.  Beyond horsemanship, I have been learning vastly about myself and about life in ways I’d never imagined…and I know I’m changed forever. Thank you dearly Julia, for this amazing journey!

With Warmth and Gratitude,
Halina K.