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Our Team

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       István "Coach Steve" Hernek

Head Coach & Owner

From an early age, István Hernek, born to his parents István and Mary Ann who were both Olympians, has lived a life deeply intertwined with horses. At the age of three, he embarked on his first solo ride. By nine, his expertise and natural affinity for horses made it possible for him to become an assistant wilderness guide at a renowned Dune Shores Resort, which featured traditional American equestrian activities in Michigan’s spectacular Upper Peninsula, a region blanketed by the lush expanse of the Hiawatha National Forest.

By eleven, István was promoted to “Head Trail Boss” and thus had taken the reins of the entire riding program at Dune Shores Resort, skillfully managing a diverse array of equestrian activities. These included traditional horseback riding, as well as unique experiences like stagecoach and covered wagon rides through hundreds of acres of the historic Hiawatha national forest with its spectacular natural landmarks, rivers, and lakes. 

István’s passion for equestrian arts is a family trait and the legacy continued with his daughters, Christiana and Skylar, following in his footsteps which rekindled Istvan’s passion for the equestrian world after a brief hiatus.

His return marked a significant chapter with the acquisition of Orchard Park Equestrian, a show horse farm dedicated to nurturing future generations of riders, including his daughters. This venture has not only reignited István’s passion but has also cemented his role as a vanguard in equestrian coaching.

Currently, István is channeling his extensive knowledge and unique experiences into authoring a book and producing a video series. These projects aim to showcase his innovative techniques in equestrian sports and arts. His specialty lies in fostering an extraordinary connection between riders and their horses. Drawing upon Native American horse training methods and seamlessly integrating them with techniques used to train the mounted cavalry, contemporary equestrian dressage, Hunter Jumper disciplines, and more significantly a  new sport which he has invented tack-free mounted archery and cavalry.

At the heart of István’s approach is a profound understanding of the bond between humans and horses, a skill that has earned him acclaim and respect in the equestrian community.
 

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Christiana Noel Overton

Head Trainer

Christiana  has been riding and competing in the Hunter/Jumper, and eventing world for the last 20 years. She has trained horses and riders alike through many different disciplines and levels but her heart will always lie in the jumper ring.  Christiana has taken a step back from the show ring for the last five years to focus her energy on the next generation of equestrians.  With a strong belief in horsemanship as the foundation of all riding, not only will she teach your child to ride horses but also the importance of proper care and maintenance. She has an almost magical skill of teaching horses and a gentle, yet superior ability to bring young riders to amazing levels. As founder of "Noel's Horse Training", Christiana is a well-experienced instructor. When István's sister got Christiana into riding she began at five years of age at the very farm they ended up purchasing. Before Christiana was a teenager, she was jumping up to 5 feet. She would jokingly say, "Oh that's only a 4-foot jump, I'll just do it bareback with only a halter and a lead rope on my horse." Then, with a youthful smile and a wink of the eye, she would be off and running on her bareback pony approaching the 4-foot pole and spreading her hands out as if she were an eagle, before gliding over the jump.

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