Mane Attraction

Ava Lapham gets in some quality time with Marie at Innovation Arabians on Tomoka Farms Road outside Port Orange.

Behind a long white fence on Tomoka Farms Road outside Port Orange, an equestrian facility known as Innovation Arabians Training Center is situated on more than 50 acres.

A passer-by might even delight in seeing horses grazing in the pastures.

Innovation Arabians is a premier training center, offering lessons for all ages and all levels of riders. They have lesson horses at the facility or a rider can bring their own horse. The facility has a instructor who teaches from entry level to intermediate riding, explained Terry Andreasen, manager at Innovation Arabians.

The main focus of Innovation Arabians is competing at the local, regional and national levels with both purebred and half-Arab Arabian horses. Susan Shea trains the horses in the various disciplines in which they compete. Ms. Shea has achieved great success teaching both amateur adults and youth riders to compete and win at all levels of competition, according to Mr. Andreasen.

Ava Lapham, who co-owns the facility with her mother, Diane Lapham, said Ms. Shea has trained around 50 national titles.

Dr. Lapham’s mother, Diane, started Innovation Arabians about 40 years ago with one barn. Now there are five barns, including two 15-stall barns for boarding horses, a stallion barn, multiple turnout paddocks, a spacious covered arena, and a standard dressage area for practicing exhibition and competition riding. There are also more than 200 acres available for trail riding.

Dr. (Diane) Lapham is an anesthesiologist, a retired critical care doctor and a long-time equestrian. She still competes and is a proud mom, saying with a smile, “I’m not as good as my daughter, but twice as old.”

Last year, her daughter earned a national championship and several top 10 regional championships. Ava’s 15-month-old son Everett already rides on horses with his mother, and sometimes by himself, with mom walking next to the horse and holding on to him. She says it is hard to get Everett off a horse and he is all smiles while riding. It is obvious the toddler is destined to be a competitive rider someday.

Ava’s husband, Scott Clark, rides a retired show horse and is taking lessons. He also plays polocrosse, which is like lacrosse, except it is played on a horse.

Innovation Arabians has 63 horses on the farm, in multiple breeds, but the Arabians and Half-Arab Arabians are their show horses. They also offer sale horses and have sold five horses in the last month.

Some of the horses at Innovation Arabians are theirs and some are boarded. They offer turnouts daily for every horse on lush green pastures, and one of their goals is building a relationship between people and horses.

“A lot of people treat their horses like the Ferrari sitting in the garage,” Mr. Andreasen said. “Having a (good) relationship with your horse builds trust. And when horses are happy and well-mannered, it extends beyond the owner.”

Dr. (Diane) Lapham added, “I have two horses out there. We have a bond between us, recognition and acknowledgement. One horse always whinnies when I go by and I cuddle her.

“I’ve got real smart horse,” she continued, “One that helps me not make a mistake.”

Dr. (Ava) Lapham added that “when you build this kind of foundation, these ‘happy horses’ come alive in the ring. Most hate to retire because they love to perform.”

Arabian horses are the foundation breed for every horse breed in the world, Mr. Andreason said. They are handsome horses, with large kind eyes and dished faces.

Dr. (Diane) Lapham summed up the feelings of the horse-loving staff at Innovation Arabians, saying, “Riding is fun. You bond with the animal and that’s pretty awesome. It’s more than just riding a horse.”

Her daughter added, “It’s good exercise, too.”

The center plans to have some special offers in the Hometown News Holiday Guide coming out soon. Learn more about Innovation Arabians by finding them on social media.

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