Staff

Trish Mrakawa

Trish Mrakawa is the owner, trainer and head coach of Willow Grove Stable Inc. that was established in 1982 and has been at its present location in the beautiful foothills of southern Alberta since 1984. Trish attained her Canadian Pony Club “A” Certificate and is one of a select group to have a National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) High Performance 1 Jump Coach with Equestrian Canada.

After successfully competing in both hunters and jumpers as a junior rider on the North American circuit, Trish then switched to Three Day Eventing representing Alberta many times team events such as the North America Young Riders Championships. Returning to her first love of show jumping, she began riding and teaching professionally in 1982.

Trish's students compete at shows from Novice level to Spruce Meadows which is the #1 Show Jumping venue in the world. Travelling across North America for judging and competitions, Trish has established a large network of professionals who work together to better the industry and the sport.

Her students have reached many milestones in their riding careers including Equestrian Canada National Awards and represented our province and country on team competitions such as the North American Young Riders Championships. Trish was awarded a Coaching Excellence award from Equestrian Canada in 2011 for her work with National Athletes.

Since 2002 Trish has played an active role in the development of Equestrian Coaches in Canada serving both the National English Coaching and the Alberta Equestrian Federation Coaching. Trish has also had the good fortune to work with an amazing of group of talented horseman and business professionals as Chairman of the Jump Canada Coaching committee for seven years from 2008 to 2015. These committees are instrumental in developing the coaching training and certification programs across Canada.

Mentoring within the Equestrian Coaching community has been a key focus for Trish and the programs at Willow Grove since its inception. Trish has had over five hundred students and coach’s move on to professional careers within the industry.

In 1999, Trish expanded her vision of helping people to the wellness industry where she provides consulting for people who are interested in preventative and alternative methods of better nutrition, improved health and achieving balance in their lives.

Trish’s passion for Coaching Coaches has taken her into the world of professional development as a Coach and Speaker and Author. Her goal is to Bless, Inspire, Serve and Transform through speaking, writing, one on one work and online education.

Jenn Smart

Jenn began riding in B.C. at the age of 13 with a horse whose ad stated, “Ideal for an experienced rider who likes a horse with energy.”  While this did not turn out to be an ideal learning situation, Jenn did succeed in learning the skills required to cope with difficult horses (and how to fall off – also not ideal). Moving on to three more “off the track” thoroughbreds, she was presented with the even greater challenge of retraining horses to their new careers. Becoming involved in the Canadian Pony Club, Jenn found the thrill and challenge of three-day eventing was right up her alley.

A graduate of Olds College with Distinction, Jenn was College Valedictorian and Faculty Outstanding Student of the Year. She does everything well and to the finest detail, and these qualities make her an excellent coach and mentor.

Jenn is a NCCP/Equine Canada certified Level 1 Coach and is currently in training for her next coaching level. Since joining Willow Grove, her talents have been well utilized with a long list of accomplishments in the show jumping arena and in three-day events. Jenn spends her days coaching students at all levels, breaking and training horses, competing and helping to care for the horses at the stable. She loves all the theoretical and practical knowledge of caring for horses and is our resident ‘Stable Management Coach’.

In 2007, Jenn was a member of Team Canada at the Intercollegiate World Equestrian Cup where she was part of the winning team in the overall competition and was the individual theory winner and top overall rider. She has gained extensive experience working with a wide variety of horses both in Canada and overseas, spending a year working in the Netherlands at various breeding, dressage and jumping stables.

Riders beware! Be careful if you fall off your horse around Jenn or you might be introduced to another of her many talents – drawing and sketching. You never know when or where a picture of your mishap may show up. Although we are not sure where she finds the time in her busy schedule, Jenn is an accomplished artist in a variety of mediums.

 

 

Sara Compton

My father was in the military which meant my family was constantly moving around Canada. He was posted in New Brunswick when I was ten years old, which is when I began riding. I started riding horses provided by the facility I was riding at but soon went on to buy a young horse of my own.


After graduating high school in 1987 my family moved to Calgary. It was here that I obtained my first job as a groom at Spruce Meadows. In my three years working there I groomed for Albert Kley and eventually began training some of their young horses. I later moved on to work at Anderson Ranch where I worked as a groom for Brain Anderson while he rode for the Canadian team which involved extensive travelling for the year that I worked for him. In 1990 I found work at a racetrack in Lethbridge where I was introduced to Karen Jarvie. Later that year I began working for Painted Trak Farms where I began training young horses for competitions and sales prospects. This is also where I first began coaching all levels of riding as well as at shows. In 1993 I moved back to Calgary from Lethbridge initially to get married but this is also where I found employment at Teesdale Stables. I later became a partner in the business and proceeded to work there for twenty-three years. In that time, I have been able to coach many students at all levels of riding and was given the opportunity to train and compete on many horses of all levels whether it be for clients or for sale. Currently I am working towards obtaining my coaching specialization as well as riding young horses for various people.

 

 

Stephanie Perras

Stephanie was fortunate to grow up on her family's dairy farm in Ontario where her love of animals bloomed. At a young age, she found horses to be majestic and would dream of owning her own. She bought her first horse by the age of 14 and since then has owned 5; Shandy, Squall, Nikki, Jinni and Steve. Owning her horses would have never been possible if Stephanie had not started taking lessons from the age of 7.

Her passion for horses and riding motivated her to teach for over 13 years at Wynbrook Farms, a well known A Circuit barn. During this time, Stephanie studied Animal Sciences at McGill University.

Once completing her Bachelor of Science with a major in Animal Science, Stephanie decided to further her teaching career and therefore obtained her Bachelor of Education at Ottawa University in 2008. Since then, Stephanie is a full time teacher and has taught multiple grades; 1, 3, 4 and 6. In 2010, she moved to Alberta and has been teaching in Calgary ever since.

Stephanie’s dream was not just to own horses but to get her Certification with Equine Canada to teach horseback riding. Her journey at Willow Grove Stables started in the fall of 2015, where she took lessons with Jenn. Since then, Jenn Smart and Trish Mrakawa continue to be her mentors. In October of 2016, Stephanie was successful in obtaining her Instructor of Beginners with Equine Canada. She is currently working towards her Competitive Coach Certification.

Stephanie is overjoyed to join Willow Grove Stables as an instructor. Stephanie looks forward to talking your ears off sharing her passion for horseback riding!

 
 
 
 

Sarah Johnston

Bio to come!