Initially influenced by USDF Hall of Fame member and recognized father of American dressage, Chuck Grant, Matt began studying dressage and the art of training horses in haute école for exhibition performances at an early age. Matt spent seven years working for the Royal Lipizzaner Stallion Show where he trained as many as 16 stallions and riders at a time. This fast paced and high pressure environment forced Matt to create training and teaching methods that were effective and suited to riders of all abilities. In 2011, Matt was head trainer at the Arabian Nights Dinner Theatre where he restructured the equestrian production’s dressage, liberty, western, and reining acts. Matt has continued to hone his skills as a trainer, clinician, and performer by learning and adapting techniques gleaned from training experiences as well as his work with industry notables in the dressage, western, and trick training disciplines.
Matt has successfully trained horses through Grand Prix Dressage that have gone on to compete nationally and internationally as well as multiple horses finished in haute école including Capriole, Courbette, and Levade. He has earned the USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold rider Medals and has a 5 star rating on Centerline Scores. As the first step in the USEF judges program, Matt graduated with distinction from the USDF “L” education program in 2011 and is awaiting the next ‘r’ judge program. In addition to providing instruction at his Florida farm, Matt travels throughout North America and Europe as a clinician.
As an entertainer, Matt is a charismatic and exciting performer, whose professionalism and relationship with his horses has impressed audiences all over North America and Europe. A popular clinician at exhibition venues, audiences relate to Matt’s use of humor, kindness, and frank speaking to demonstrate his training methods. His interactive style and focus on training allows individuals of any discipline to benefit from his sessions. Matt’s extensive history in the equine entertainment industry makes him a valuable asset to any production as an Entertainer or Production Director. With over 20 years of experience, he has perfected his expertise in training horses, designing acts, and managing riders for solo or drill team performances showcasing classical dressage and haute école. Matt has also worked behind the scenes in various capacities including stage construction, lighting, sound, performance direction and cues, production development and direction, as well as public relations. This range of experience gives Matt unique insight into the mechanics and entertainment value of equine productions. He has a rare eye for the ebb and flow required to keep audiences spellbound throughout a production. Matt’s working relationship with industry leaders make him a valuable resource in developing productions displaying a wide variety of equestrian entertainment.