Kersten Levine, Head Trainer
Kersten began her riding career at the age of two and hasn't looked back, growing up in Hawaii with her mother as her trainer. She had shown in everything from x rails to 3'0" hunters by age 10. At age 11 she qualified for pony finals on her large pony, Best Second Chance. Since then she has shown many hunters and jumpers to state and national championships, pony finals, hunter derby, and international Grand Prix.
She trained under her mother, Marleta Lillejord, at Cameron Equestrian Center. She credits their relationship for her successes as a rider and trainer. Marleta passed unexpectedly in 2013, and Kersten reincarnated the business as Esoteric Farm.
Kersten raises and breaks her own horses, enjoying the process from birth to show ring. Her most well known horse to come up through the program is her Grand Prix horse Entrepreneur who won the World Cup series for the Pacific League with Greg Best on board.
Kersten never stops learning, continuing to train regularly with Greg Best, Dale Pederson, and Britt McCormick.
Nancy Ansley, Trainer, Barn Manager
Nancy began riding as a child in Phoenix, AZ and competed extensively in hunters, equitation, and jumpers. She had much success with her own horses as well as those she rode for other owners. In addition to numerous horse show championships, she also earned many State Championships through the Arizona Horse Exhibitors Association. One of her horses was the Zone 8 Horse of the Year in Junior Jumpers.
Nancy won the AHSA Regional Medal Finals and competed at Harrisburg, PA in the National Medal Finals. She qualified and competed as a member of the Zone 8 Prix des States Junior Jumper team at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, as well as Zone 8's team at the Young Rider's Championships in Illinois. She also competed and placed at the Washington International Horse Show in the International Hunter Futurity.
She was fortunate to have trained with several notable horsemen including Kaye Love, Lisa Jacquin, Patty Stovel, and Otis Brown Jr, and went on to work for Patty and Brownie at Brass Lantern Farms in Brentwood, TN.
Nancy attended Middle Tennessee State University for her undergraduate studies and received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Auburn University. She is married and has three children.
Lacy Hudson, Instructor
Lacy Hudson began riding in Austin, Texas in 1977, showing successfully locally and on the national level in the hunters and jumpers throughout her childhood. Over the course of her junior years, Lacy worked with Steve Hummel, William Martin, George Sayo, Mike McCormick, Orley Dehoyas, and Phoebe Johnson, and competed in her first grand prix at age 14. During her high school years, Lacy focused on equitation, going on to win several medals in the AHSA, USEF and Maclay, as well as numerous other accolades.
Lacy attended Texas A&M to study Exercise Physiology and Business, where she played on the polo team and showed on the IHSA team, while also continuing to show nationally. After winning a scholarship, Lacy trained and showed under the tutelage of the legendary George Morris for several months. Post-college, Lacy continued to bring along young horses while managing her retail stores and clothing company. In 2006, Lacy returned to Austin to begin her career as a trainer. Since becoming a professional, she has trained several successful young riders to compete at Junior Finals, Medal Finals, and helped young riders continue their development through NCEA Scholarships.
Millicent Gustafson, Instructor
Millicent, born and raised in Austin Texas, began riding with her mom before she could walk. Through her childhood she practiced multiple riding disciplines including western, dressage, eventing and jumpers, until she fell in love with competing in the Hunter ring. Her first classic hunter, Dr. Pepper, taught her the ropes as they won many championships from cross rails to the modified hunters in central Texas. Her next notable horse was As You Wish, who Millicent trained. Together they competed in the Junior Hunters and Derbies throughout Texas.
Millicent had the opportunity to train under Kersten Levine and Marleta Lillejord since she was 12 years old. She credits that combination of trainers to her attention to detail while both riding and teaching. She also has attended many Greg Best and Dale Peterson clinics over the years.
Millicent studies International Relations and Global Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She plans on graduating the spring of 2017.
Greg Best, Guest Trainer
In two decades of international top level Show Jumping competition, Greg Best has won individual and team silver medals at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988 and finished in the final four at the World Equestrian Games in Stockholm 1990.
Greg’s rise through the ranks was extremely fast, going from Rookie to Olympian in 18 months aboard his amazing horse Gem Twist. In their first season on the American Grand Prix circuit, Greg and Gem were crowned Rookie of the Year and Horse of the Year. The duo won numerous Grand Prix, won medals for America in the Pan American Games, and competed in several successful Nations Cup teams.Since moving to New Zealand in 1994, Greg has represented his new homeland in Show Jumping. He has won the New Zealand Show Jumping Grand Prix Series and won the New Zealand World Cup league.
He has had many official roles for both New Zealand Show Jumping and Eventing including coach, team manager, chef d’equipe, selector, and high performance manager. These official roles have taken Greg to two Olympic Games, two World Equestrian Games, and numerous other international events.
Greg now lives in New Zealand but spends much of the year conducting instructional clinics all over the United States and other countries around the world.
In Greg’s clinics, his ability to quickly analyze horse and rider means that the pupil and horse always go away feeling they have learned something, improved their riding, and knowing what they need to work on.
Greg believes the horse-rider relationship to be an integral ingredient in creating success and he continually tries to help riders be sympathetic and see things from the horse’s perspective. He teaches riders how to develop the communication between horse and rider, creating mutual respect, trust, and confidence.
Greg has an amazing ability to train, encourage, teach, and understand all levels of horses and riders. It is rare that someone with Greg’s phenomenal natural ability also has the skills required to be a world class instructor for all levels.
Dale Pederson, Guest Trainer, USEF Judge
Dale is a leading US rider, trainer, judge, and clinician. Dale has judged horse shows such as the prestigious Del Mar National, the Bluegrass Festival in Lexington, Kentucky, the Middleburg Classic in Virginia, the Washington International Horse Show, WEF, as well as the USEF Pony finals. He has also traveled to New Zealand to judge the spectacular horse of the year show in 2009. He judged Esoteric in-house Finals, and is a frequent judge at Colorado Park USEF shows. Dale will share information that every competitor wants to know about competing in the hunter /equitation ring.