Our Experts

Barrie & Sarita Stratton - Two Lifetimes of Experience

Barrie and Sarita specialise in progressing riders and horses by furthering their knowledge and skill levels.

Barrie & Sarita have been riding most of their lives, Sarita since she was 4 years old.  Barrie started training to be a Dressage Judge in his early twenties and progressed to being an 'A' Level (Olympic level) Judge in his 30's.  Barrie's passion has always been Classical Equitation and Dressage right from the beginning whereas Sarita, starting so young, came up through the Pony Club System. In her late teens she worked in the Mid-north (outback) breaking and training brumbies and taking tourists through and around Wilpena Pound.  In her early 20's she was asked to manage the riding school 'Fineview Ranch' from 1974 which she later bought and continued to operate as Sovereign Stables and Sovereign Riding Academy. This was a large teaching, trail riding and agistment centre with 20 school horses and 56 boarded horses, as well as a guest house accommodating 12 students during school holiday courses and mid-term "ladies" courses.

Besides lessons and trail rides, Sarita took up to 45 riders at a time on 5 campouts a year varying from 3 to 5 days sleeping under the stars or in shearing sheds.  Every Sunday in the winter, Sarita would load up 27 horses to go hunting, and every month would organise a day ride to various parts of the State.  School holidays would see the guest house full of eager riders and during school term ladies would have time away to enjoy their love of horses.  Accommodation was increased so that up to 80 school children could attend camp with their teachers mid-term keeping everyone extremely busy.

In the 80's the Strattons furthered their knowledge and skills by studying in Europe and in 1984 sold Sovereign Stables and purchased 20 lovely acres at Mount George near Bridgewater, just off the South Eastern Freeway where they built a Classical sized indoor and sheltered outdoor arenas and other equine facilities equateing to 5 star amenities for horses and riders.

Sarita wrote the Equine Studies Course for TAFE and then co-ordinated and lectured for the Government for 17 years teaching the subjects in her areas of expertise, inviting guest lecturers for other areas plus running Field Trips for students attending the Equine Studies Course. 

Barrie upgraded his "A Level" Dressage Judge status by undertaking further training to also become a Judge Educator and Mentor.

Both Barrie and Sarita write articles for National and International Magazines, teach and train at Clinics Interstate and Overseas.  Barrie continues to Judge locally and Interstate.  Sarita is an expert at starting young horses and Barrie is a very accomplished rider and trainer in high demand.

Sarita has always had a passion for harness and founded the South Australian Horse Driving Society in the 70's.  She is also passionate about sidesaddle and was lucky enough to train in this discipline in Portugal under world famous Nuno Oliveira in the 80's.

In 2011, Barrie and Sarita were introduced to Working Equitation by the founder, Gill Kennerly.  Working Equitation includes: working dressage (freestyle dressage to music) and dressage with obstacles (both the Style and Speed phases).  They discovered that Working Equitation is a natural extension of the classical dressage they have always loved and lots of fun and enjoyment for horses and riders.  In 2014 they embraced incorporating Working Equitation under the umbrella of their Academy of Dressage.

Intelligent Trick Horse Training is another area that Sarita in particular ventured into in the late 70's.  Wonderful Tom Roberts taught her how to safely and kindly lie a horse down for example, but tricks were not well accepted back then so Barrie and Sarita studied and developed their knowledge and skills in the area of Classical Dressage, leaving the tricks alone until January 2014 when they were lucky enough to train with Allen Pogue, Master Trick Horse Trainer at Imagine a Horse in Texas, USA.  The possibilities for horses too young to be broken in, horse lovers not able to ride for whatever reason, injured horses not able to be worked under saddle, the list goes on, are all able, and love to do tricks.  Trick training develops horses mentally and physically in so many ways that Barrie and Sarita are incorporating Allen's Intelligent Trick Horse Training into all their work with the horses and riders that train with them.

Barrie and Sarita are both sought after to write articles for various International Magazines including Barrie's series on "The 3c's" - Calm, Confident and Connected.

Barrie and Sarita have a passion for improving the lot of the horse by educating riders so they can ride and train horses with their brains and not their brawn.  Educating riders and handlers by helping them develop their skill set means horses and riders end up enjoying the journey and having a happier life.  Both Barrie and Sarita are saddened by the 'quick' and forceful methods being used more and more to train horses around the world.  

Barrie and Sarita are preparing their first E-books and DVD's.  Updates on this will be posted in the News Blog section of this website and on Facebook.

Sarita instigated and organised Federal funding for a National Horse Safety Code to resolve the non availability of Public Liability Insurance in Australia in the early 2000's.  The Australian Horse Industry Council  was in charge of organising the writing of the Code.  

Sarita instigated and saw through, over a long 8 year period, the repealing on 1st January 2011 of the South Australian State Governments Recreational Services (Limitation of Liability) Act 2002.  This was a very bad law and caused 20 out of 24 riding centres to close in 2002 alone.  This law affected ALL sport, recreation and leisure activities, not just horsenrelated ones meaning many not-for-profit organisations and businesses were affected and have now gone forever.

Sarita & Barrie on school masters Toolman and Tasidor July 2014
Sarita & Barrie on school masters Toolman and Tasidor July 2014
Sarita Stratton & Manuka Agentino
Barrie's Classical Equitation award 2013