29 Wescott Road Enfield, NH 03748  603-632-1011

Our People

Ice cream after a showYou know by now that our horses at First Choice are pretty great, but so are our people! Our trainers are highly qualified and they want you to learn and be safe, while still having a great time.

We try to encourage a sense of family here. Away horse shows can be stressful, but we show our team spirit by helping each other and having some fun. Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents and friends all come to cheer everyone on. We all wear our First Choice t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc (available in the viewing room), so everyone knows we are a team. Often, we set up a big tent at the show grounds and Bob brings his grill, so we can have our "home away from home" at the show. And if you forgot something, don't worry, the show moms always have a spare for you. A perfect show day is finished with stop for ice cream!

At home, the more experienced students are always available to help with a tack problem, bridle a tricky horse or any other question. Just ask - they are happy to help.

Our Trainers

Heidi Jo Hauri-Gill, Owner and Head Trainer
Heidi and Eleckt

Heidi comes from a planned background in equine science and training. After growing up with horses at home, she went to Westmoreland Davis International Equestrian Institute (a.k.a. Morven Park) and studied riding and training in depth under the tutelage of Raul de Leon, and Tad Coffin. The school provided an intense opportunity to train with superior trainers such as Bert de Nemethy, and Gunnar Anderson.

After graduating Westmoreland Davis and receiving the only award given at the school of Most Improved, Heidi went on to University of New Hampshire to continue studying Equine Science. During college, she was also Assistant Manager/Trainer at Green Acres Stables in Dover, NH. Graduating top of her class was yet another tribute to her dedication in the horse industry.

After college, Heidi managed the barns at the Hamilton Equestrian Center in Hamilton, MA. After almost a year there, she decided that training was really her passion and she became an instructor at Chrislar Farm in Rowley, MA. To this date she credits Chris and Larry Cassenti and their program to her success with her own program; they are true mentors and horse people. She also began to study under Bill Woods, who helped her train her first premium horse Waidmann ("Curly"). After two years at Chrislar, it was time to start First Choice. See Our History for more details on how it all began.

Heidi with Champion and Reserve, Eleckt and RonnieDuring the exciting endeavor of starting her own riding academy, there were also many opportunities to continue her education as well, including training and pursuing dressage with Lois Steiner and consistent training with Volker Bromman. This led to many awards through NEDA and the USDF.

In 1996, Heidi studied to become a dressage judge. It took a full summer of hard work, but in the end when she received her "L" certification "with Distinction", it was well worth it.

Heidi is a USDF certified instructor, a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist, and a Jane Savoie Certified Instructor through 2nd level. Heidi is available to give clinics and have people ship into First Choice Riding Academy. Please contact Heidi for more information.

Heidi and GalaxyHeidi and husband, Bob, run First Choice with the help of their 2 children, Conner and Christopher. Heidi loves to work with young riders and adults on the discipline of dressage. One of her favorite ways to pass the time is finding new horses to train and sell. The best time being when one of her students buys a prospect and then continues training. Heidi is usually found in the indoor arena, teaching or training. After a long winter hiatus from showing, it is time again to return to the show ring with some of these prospects. What fun!

Hunter Schon, Trainer
Hunter

Hunter Schon, who conducts business as HC Equestrian, is a young equestrian professional who works with us here at First Choice Riding Academy. Her horse experience dates back to far before she could walk, when her mother took her to visit her horses. Hunter has almost two decades of horse experience, riding, and training. She has worked extensively with Joe Forest from Horton's Farm, who specializes in the training of young horses. With Joe she spent many years in the Hunter/Jumper world, competing in New England Equitation Finals as a junior, and showing jumpers in many shows, including HITS Ocala.

After years of wanting to, Hunter has made the switch to Eventing and Dressage. Now she is with us at First Choice Riding Academy, and is working with Heidi and trainers that come here as she pursues her credentials for dressage and event certification. She currently rides professionally with training horses and students at various levels of experience. Hunter does not currently keep any competition horses of her own, but shows clients and friends horses as frequently as possible. She still owns "Kisses" a Quarter/Welsh cross from her childhood and her semi-retired Equitation and Derby horse "J.P" who is now a school horse. Hunter attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and competed on their National Champion Equestrian Team, a record setting and well respected program.

Hunter is passionate about teaching and likes to say that she is not just helping to make riders, but helping to make horse people. We are so excited to have Hunter with us as her smile and energy is easily felt when she walks in the barn. She is a big part of the riding lesson program as well as the summer camp program. Look for Hunter in the show ring this year at local events and shows on First Choice horses!!

Madison Gallien, Trainer
Madison Gallien dressage Madison Gallien jumping at event

Growing up with our own family barn, and handling and caring for my own horses every day was a huge advantage to my equestrian career and definitely fueled my passion for horses. I ride and train Event horses and have brought two of my own horses up to the Intermediate and FEI 2* level.

In 2015, I represented the New England area (Area I) in the North American Junior Young Rider Championships at the 2* level. I enjoy bringing along the young horses and also the young riders of this sport!

Our Barn Staff

Bob Gill, Owner and Director of Operations
Bob and the boys at dressage show

Bob is the "jack of all jobs" at the farm. One day you may see him building an addition, like the viewing room and hay/grain storage room, the next day reading dressage tests to practicing riders, the next transporting horses across the North East, and the next firing up the grill for the First Choice Cafe, our show grill.

Bob grew up in Salem, MA where he had absolutely no idea that there was a business with horses. He was heavily into rehabilitating old buildings into condos and retirement housing. Then, he worked with the Painters Union on such landmarks as the Custom House in Boston, the oil tanks in Dorchester with their controversial artwork, and many more places. His favorite thing was designing the rigging to keep the painters safe.

Bob and HeidiIn 1989, his uncle asked him to help with a job turning a 10 stall barn into a 75 horse facility! This was his introduction to the horse industry and this is where Heidi and Bob met. Bob was involved in the development of First Choice Riding Academy from early on. Now the riders at the farm know they can look to Bob, not only for his horsemanship skills, but also for a listening ear and he is often known to offer up some great advice to the parent's of teens. The farm's well known family feelings would never be the same with out Bob.