Sanaa Pharayra - Head Trainer


Sanaa spent her childhood years growing up in the suburbs just outside of Portland, Oregon.  She had a deep passion for horses from an early age, and began taking formal riding lessons when she was 9 years old.  Once a week riding lessons on a school horse soon snowballed into leasing and eventually getting a horse of her own. 


During this time Sanaa was exposed to a variety of trainers and types of riding sports.  The majority of her early childhood riding education and show experience was in dressage and three day eventing, later on Sanaa turned her attention to the sport of show jumping and began training and competing with top Jumper trainers in the area.


When Sanaa was 17 years old she got her first job as a professional trainer when she was hired as the Director of the Lake Oswego Hunt Riding School, the largest riding school in the Pacific Northwest region.  She was the youngest person ever hired into this position at the historic facility and she successfully ran the program as well as produced multitudes of talented young riders for the facility during the two years she was there.


In 2000 Sanaa was recruited to come to Southern California and ride and teach as an assistant trainer at an “A” rated show barn.  For the next couple of years she worked at area show barns riding and training top hunter, jumper, and equitation horses as well as coached many child and adult riders to success in the hunter and equitation divisions.


Throughout her riding career Sanaa has developed a reputation not only of being an elegant rider but also of being a very effective horse trainer.  She has a unique ability to take difficult horses and get to the “root of the problem” as well as greatly improve already good horses through her systematical and gymnastic training approach.


In 2003 she began her own training business, Sanaa Pharayra Stables, and began taking on students and horses in training.  She teaches and trains in the disciplines of Hunters, Jumpers, and Equitation.  In 2007 Sanaa relocated her business to Spirit Equestrian where she now resides.


Ira Della Monica - Trainer/ Instructor


Ira Della Monica has 35 years of riding experience. As a child she was strongly influenced by her neighbor, internationally renowned dressage trainer Robert Dover. She continued her training with Hilda Gurney, Jessica Ransehousen, Gerhard Politz, George Morris, Mark Watring, Debbie Rosen, Jane McLoud, Brian Sabo and Jill Walton. Ira also spent some time training in England and holds a British Horse Society certification for teaching riding and horse management. Additionally she is a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and was previously the Riding School Director of Mill Creek Equestrian Center.


Over the years Ira has had the opportunity to work with a variety of talented horses, from unbroken youngsters to Grand Prix school masters. Ira specializes in helping riders and horses build a strong and correct foundation upon which they can move up the levels. She follows the classical training scale as she works with each individual. Ira has a patient and compassionate approach designed to build a good rapport between horse and rider, and believes every pair has the opportunity to make improvements. In addition to working with adults and training horses, Ira loves to work with children! She believes that learning a solid foundation of basics develops a secure seat, gentle hands and a deeper understanding of the aids. Learning these fundamentals at an early age gives a rider the tools needed to succeed with horses throughout the years.

Barn Address: 4790 W. Lynn Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320  -   Phone: (818) 618-2264   -   Email:     

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