Missy Gilliland is an FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) dressage athlete who competes globally for the USA. Missy and her 14-year-old PRE gelding, Toledano XXXI, currently rank among the top 250 dressage competitors in the world.
From early childhood, Missy’s passion for horses was undeniable and has only grown with time. She participated in the sport of fox hunting as a teenager, and trained OTTB’s (off-track Thoroughbreds) for three-day eventing competitions. But her love for dressage was always clear. She has pursued only dressage for the past 20 years – and continues to focus on dressage going forward.
Because Missy wanted to be educated in all aspects of the sport, she earned her USEF (United States Equestrian Federation) license in 2019. Now she can officiate at recognized dressage competitions. And she plans to continue her rise through the dressage judging ranks.
Missy owns and manages a thriving dressage training and coaching business at Bar A Ranch in the international resort community of Scottsdale, Arizona. There she coaches students of all skill levels and promotes a friendly and positive environment for both horses and riders. Key to Missy’s success is her biomechanics-based approach to riding and teaching. She believes it empowers riders to control their own bodies so they can communicate and influence their horses more effectively.
A longtime competitor, Missy is a USDF (United States Dressage Federation) bronze, silver and gold medalist with multiple international, national, regional and state championship titles. She has coached numerous adult amateur and junior riders to similar achievements.
Missy also has many European resources for importing top-quality dressage horses. It was on a 2019 horse-buying trip across Spain where she found her talented partner Toledano (aka ‘Marshmallow’). “I just believed in him from the second I saw him,” she recalls. You can read about Missy’s amazing journey with Toledano in The Chronicle of the Horse here.
Based in Scottsdale, AZ, Cyndi has trained with several Olympians, including Christine Traurig, Steffen Peters, Debbie McDonald, Charlotte Bredahl-Baker, and Hilda Gurney. She has been competing in CDIs since 2007 and has competed in the Festival of Champions at Gladstone, the Developing Prix St. Georges Championships, the U.S. Dressage Finals, and the Markel Young Horse Championships. She has trained numerous horses and riders to the FEI levels. She has earned her USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medals and is an “L” Graduate with distinction.
Cyndi Owns To The Max Dressage named for Maxine, Cyndi’s first dressage partner. Cyndi and Maxine came up through levels together and competed through Intermediaire I before an injury forced Maxine’s retirement from upper-level competition.
Cyndi has been a full-time, self-employed dressage instructor since 1999. She is currently competing at training level through Grand Prix and has horses and students showing successfully through Grand Prix. Cyndi lives in Glendale, AZ, with her husband PJ and son Ronin.