"I had my Intermediate level eventer at Lake Norman Dressage all four years that I attended Davidson College. After a thorough search, Lake Norman Dressage was the only place that I felt comfortable keeping my horse. The facility, program, and care were phenomenal. I never worried if an exam or school schedule prevented me from coming out one day. I always knew that they were taking good care of him - whether that meant getting a midday medication, getting blankets changed or being brought in for the vet.
"Elaine has a great rapport with the horses and is absolutely dedicated to making sure that each of them is comfortable and happy at all times. Furthermore, in the time I was there, my eventer went from being a crooked runaway on the flat to a solid Third Level horse through a combination of lessons and training with Elaine. This is no small miracle considering that many top professionals have considered my horse to be one of the most challenging horses they have ever ridden.
"I saw a clear difference in my dressage scores at events as well as his balance and rideability in the jumping and cross country."
Tahrita Knight, Charlotte, NC
"I can't say enough about Elaine's approach to the running of her facility. If you are like many horse owners and you feel your horse is another member of your family, it's comforting to know that Elaine's feeding regime and care is above your expectations. The horses come first in her barn! You can set your watch to her feeding. Elaine's care and attention to detail is remarkable! I would recommend Elaine's boarding facility to anyone that wants their horse to be cared for and loved in a fashion they would be doing it themselves!
"Basic good flat work, as we all know, is MUST to keeping your horse sound and happy, regardless of the discipline... dressage, jumpers, etc. I sent my old show jumping school master to Elaine for training and when I got him back he was hte best he'd ever been. All I could think was... if only I had got her to help me with him earlier! :-)
If you are looking to just have some solid basics applied to you and your horse's regime, or your aspirations are to excel at higher levels (jumping, dressage, or western), to keep your horse SOUND, agile and HAPPY, I would recommend Elaine's 'lessons' or 'in-training' schedule without any hesitation!"
Ruth Shaw, Davidson, NC
"When I got back into riding after years away from the sport, I looked for the right barn and the right trainer before the right horse. I found Elaine Hayes, and that turned out to be a wise decision! Elaine is a superb all-around horsewoman, and I know that my horses are receiving the best of care. She understands both the physical and the psychological dimensions of horse training, and works with horse and rider to build a partnership. Recently, with a young Morgan mare I plan to trail ride, Elaine has reversed some ill-effects of previous training, and has worked with me to handle my sensitive youngster effectively -- even though I am over sixty and not nearly as fast as I used to be! In a matter of weeks, the filly has gone from over-reactive to responsive; has improved her balance; and is so much more forward, straight, and relaxed. And I have learned that with such a sensitive horse, my cues must be so quiet. Elaine's training of my horse and coaching of me are building the foundation for a long, enjoyable partnership."
"When I arrived at Lake Norman Dressage the very first time, it was just the first on a list of several barns that I had researched on the net. My 16 y.o. Selle Français gelding needed the best possible home in Mooresville, NC where I could have complete confidence that he was receiving the best of care. My family and business activities at the time meant sharing myself between two homes, one in Mooresville and one in SC, so I knew that there would be periods of absence.
"Before I left Lake Norman Dressage that day, I was smiling broadly and tearing up the rest of the list. What luck to find an ideal home for my partner of 9 years. On meeting owner/trainer Elaine Hayes, seeing the lovely and well-kept facility, the happy, shiny horses and experiencing the welcoming atmosphere of barn and boarders -- the decision to bring Dali there was an easy one. Dali and I were at Lake Norman Dressage Center for two years. Dali was on half-training board most of that time. He was a dream to ride when I was able to be there and Elaine is a great instructor for any level of rider. My lessons with her and hte ones I was able to audit were excellent and provided many a training tool to my hip pocket.