Grey Horse at The Ultimate Piaffe

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Immerbessor & Darrel

Trainers influences include Major Anders Lindgren, Alexandra Howard and most recently 5 star FEI Judge Lilo Fore.

Our students and trainers have earned multiple championships and awards. However, we believe the relationship and journey with the horse is the most treasured and remembered of all.

A characteristic of a good trainer is the ability to look at a horse and rider and decide what to adust to make an improvement or address a problem. One simple change may resolve ten other issues. That kind of understanding and ability to communicate, makes training less complicated, builds confidence, and makes for a happier horse and rider.

Summer Evening

Major Anders Lindgren liked to say, "Every horse has something to teach us, and every ride is an opportunity to deepen understanding and advance our skills."

That sort of optimism requires clarity that comes with knowledge, experience and a solid working plan.

Understanding the Training Scale from the saddle, how each part (Rhythm, Suppleness, Connection, Impulsion, Straightness and Collection) mechanically work and relate to the other parts to create the motion of the horse, are the keys to developing our skills and confidence as riders. Applying those mechanics to training patterns and dressage tests (the tests really are constructed around the Training Scale)  bring clarity to the process.

Sharing that process is unique to each horse and rider. Michelle and Darrel tailor their program to the way individual riders learn as opposed to repeating the same instructions and expecting everyone to hear and learn the same way. We welcome riders of all ages and skill levels, and although we are active competitors, those not interested in showing receive the same support and attention as those that do.

More than twenty-seven years, teaching and training together, Michelle and Darrel's caring approach, humor, and pursuit of Anders expectation for each horse and every ride, create a supportive atmosphere for both horse and rider to enjoy developing their skills together.

Mia & Delta
Haul-In Lessons

Although The Ultimate Piaffe is a full care facility, it's not necessary to board your horse here to benefit from our trainers attention, haul-in students are always welcome. In fact some of our most successful competitors keep their horses at home, and schedule either a single haul-in lesson or plan to stay a few days.

No matter if you are boarding or hauling in , have goals that include championships or simply want a deeper level of communication with your horse, we encourage all levels of riders to commit themselves to gaining an understanding how their position and influence can help create a trusting relationship with your horse.

 Our trainers take pride in providing a safe and supportive atmosphere where at the end of each session the rider goes away feeling confident having worked towards a clear goal and has a plan of what to work on before the next session. For the horse it's essential that they trust the rider and the process. Our trainers help their riders unlock the potential of their horse without loosing the horses character. Nothing is more rewarding then having a horse be willing to work and to truly enjoy the relationship.

Family owned and managed since 1987, The Ultimate Piaffe has been training horses and instructing riders, providing quality equine care and service, breeding, foaling, sales and marketing for nearly thirty years.

We have phased out of the breeding side of the business, and put all our energy behind creating a Boutique - Style boarding and training facility.

That said, the transition from a large scale sport-horse breeding, training and marketing operation to a singular focus on dressage enthusiasts here at home, required some changes to the farm. As we began to lay out a plan it became clear that rather then expand we wanted to scale down, but in an impressive and personal way. One that would showcase what makes our dressage program unique, highlight our special attention to horses care, and welcome riders and horses to a comfortable, fully equipped, intimate, supportive environment from which to ride and train.

We started by scaling back to 15 stalls (Only 2 are still available), built a new grain room, newly panelled our 60' x 120' Indoor Arena, added a hot and cold water wash rack and resurfaced our full court Outdoor Arena to make it available year round.

Horses at the Ultimate Piaffe receive the highest level of care and security. Michelle and Darrel live only a few feet from the barn. Knowing the routine traits and temperaments of each horse helps catch potentially serious health issues before they have a chance to develop. Turn-out and socializing allows each horse to fulfil there needs so they are healthier and happier in their training.

When riders and horses receive the individual attention and support they deserve - relationships grow and goals achieved.

Ideal at his Breyer Induction
Personal Care, Intimate Setting, Friendly Atmosphere

Located on seven acres along Zivney Lane, off Stafford Road in Lake Oswego, the Ultimate Piaffe is surrounded by trees and pastures that offer the tranquility of being far away from it all, while only twenty minutes from Portland.

Completely fenced with a security gate at the entrance, our family both lives and works on the property. Horses are never left alone, their routines, individual personalities and habits are familiar and closely monitored.  Veterinary services are provided by Scott Handson, DVM and his staff at Columbia Equine. Farrier services are provided by Joe MacKee. However in both cases clients are free to retain another if they like.

The Ultimate Piaffe is a place for riders and their horses to enjoy and develop their partnership together. In the spirit of that commitment board requires a minimum commitment of 2 lessons or training sessions per week, not included in the cost of boarding. In return for that commitment we do our very best to keep the price of boarding your horse as reasonable as possible. We are a full care facility. Services (seven days a week) include: feeding and fresh water provided morning and evening (hay included, grain and supplements billed separately), daily turnout in spacious pastures, blankets put on and taken off as needed, and stalls cleaned each day at 6:00 am, 10:00 am, 1:30 pm, 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm. In the event any medical attention is required and requested  (wraps, oral or injectable medications, etc. as per veterinarian instructions) are billed separate and in addition to the monthly rate.

If you are looking for a supportive, friendly atmosphere and a professional, well communicated Dressage Program tailored to you and your horses personal goals; with  peace of mind that your equine partner is receiving the very best, experienced full-care and attention, then we invite you to call Darrel at 503-317-8051. We're happy to answer any questions and schedule a personal tour all about you and your horse and how we may be your place to call home.

For price information on boarding and training click on frequently asked questions tab (FAQ).

Immerbessor . . . Photo by Chris Maylone

Gauguin's  Ideal (Boo) & Darrel

Congratulations to Joyce Ryder and her new partner Finnegan. Cheers from family and friends on the beginning of a wonderful relationship. Joyce and Finnegan will continue their training with Darrel Purdy at the Ultimate Piaffe. Darrel will be riding Finnegan and Immerbessor, also owned by Joyce with Conrad Shumacher at Quailhurst in April. For ride times click on the "News and Events" page.


Joyce Ryder . . .

In making the transition from hunters to dressage I invested my time visiting the area’s dressage facilities as well as watching and taking lessons. Walking into The Ultimate Piaffe, I experienced a feeling I had not had before. It felt like family. Perhaps the fact that it's a smaller facility lends itself to a more intimate environment and the boarders, students, and staff completely supported each other. The horses, too, seem to benefit in being one of a handful instead of dozens. They were relaxed and confident in their stalls with not a cribber or stall weaver among them. I was even more pleased to see that the horses were turned out, some in small groups, others alone but each enjoying the freedom to just be a horse.

 From my first lesson with Darrel we just clicked and I felt like suddenly things started making sense. After each lesson I could reflect back and realize that not only did I learn something new each time but I understood the practical application of what I had learned and how it related to my dressage goal. Darrel understands how the rider influences the horse and has helped me to not just improve my position but to make a positive influence on my horse through my natural aids. I know I'm successful when I have communicated with the horse and she responds with willingness and clarity.

 I found my new home and have started on a wonderful dressage journey. Darrel is riding, training, and showing my gelding and while he comes along, Carol has generously allowed me to ride her lovely Oldenburg mare Boo. Michelle has been helping me build my relationship with my gelding Bessor on the ground with her in hand and liberty lessons. She teaches that in a herd of two I am the leader and that horses really do want to trust in their rider or handler to keep them safe. I've been riding and showing for years but this is the first time I've truly understood my horses and our relationship has blossomed.


Amy Vandenburgh . . .

I have been riding with The Ultimate Piaffe for over ten years and can testify to their constant efforts to go above and beyond in helping riders reach their goals while providing optimal care and attention for every horse. Owners/trainers live on site and keep a watchful eye over the horses 24 hours a day and respond to their every need. Whether your goals are to compete at a high level or simply improve your skills and enjoy your horse in a relaxed and beautiful setting, you will not find a more fulfilling and welcoming group of people to enhance your equestrian experience.


Charlotte Haines . . .

I have been a the Ultimate Piaffe for quite awhile and I love it. To begin, both Darrel and Michelle are excellent trainers and, even better, they really care about you and your horse. They and their staff are all very watchful of the horses boarded there and tend notice even the slightest thing that seems wrong so injuries (which always happen with horses) are found quickly and taken care of quickly. Recently, they have been making some improvements and now have a beautiful new sand arena outside as well as a new wash rack with warm water for Winter. There is always someone close by to keep an eye on things which is also nice. I think anyone interested in learning Dressage would be well advised to check this place out because the quality of the training is excellent and you can be assured your horse is being treated well.


Val Zeek . . .

The trainers, Michelle and Darrel, are very conscientious about the comfort level of both the riders and the horses. They want their students and equine to be competitive, but still have fun and enjoy riding. The horses boarded there are treated like family. With someone on the property at all times, the horses needs are seen at all hours of the day or night. I enjoy working with them and love the support and care they show me and my horses. I know that they will be in my corner at the shows, helping me get ribbons and go up the levels.

Michelle and Darrel are the nicest people in the whole world. whether you are serious about dressage, their horses, or just want some basic instruction they are there for you. nice clean facility, inside and outside arenas. their stud, Ideal, was even made into a Breyer horse--great recognition!!

    About us

    Instructor - Trainers, Michelle and Darrel Purdy co-operate their family owned  Dressage Training and Boarding facility, "The Ultimate Piaffe" in Lake Oswego, Oregon with Michelle's parents Carol and Victor Ives.

    Contact us
    The Ultimate Piaffe
    1180 SW Zivney Lane
    Lake Oswego, Oregon 97034
    503 317 8051