Brian and Lisa Sabo
Brian and Lisa Sabo are living a classic love story. While growing up on the same street in Southern California both became interested in riding horses. When Brian was riding ponies at a Los Angeles area barn his mother Kitty Sabo began a long friendship with a then very young and now internationally famous Olympic dressage rider, judge and clinician, Hilda Gurney. Before long Hilda had struck out on her own as a trainer and Brian followed her. Hilda and Kitty founded the Woodland Hills Pony Club in 1965. Lisa’s family moved to the same street in 1970 and Lisa’s interests soon turned to horses. This common interest led Lisa to train at the same barn as Brian and they both developed a passion for the Olympic sport of Eventing (also known as the Equestrian Triathlon). After years of training together and competing from coast to coast each went their separate ways. In 1981Brian moved and bought land in Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast with the plan of starting an equestrian center. Lisa left home in 1982 for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to pursue her education. Realizing how much they missed being together they began dating and eventually married in 1985. This partnership led to the development of the Hurdledale Equestrian Center. From 1985 until 2001 Brian and Lisa built and ran Hurdledale, where they rode, trained, held shows and hosted clinics.
Lisa and Brian are both graduate “A” pony clubbers and advanced level competitors. In 1974 Brian passed his “A” rating. Brian served as D.C. of this club two times (1975-1977 and 1980-1983). Lisa passed her “HA” in 1983 and her “A” in 1984. Lisa is now running the Newport Riding Center and Newport Mesa Pony Club.
Hilda, the inspiration for many of the top trainers and riders in the United States was in the finest sense a mentor to Lisa and Brian. Through her leadership both were introduced to the sport of Eventing. Brian won his first Preliminary (Now CCI 1*) Three-day event in 1968 followed by winning the National Intermediate (CCI 2**) Championships in 1969. This was also the year his coach, Hilda, won the U.S. Open Championships (CCI 3***). Brian has been recognized as the leading event rider in USEA Area VI in both 1969 and 1981.
Lisa has also had a very successful competitive career which continues today. A member of the Silver Medal Area VI Young Riders team in 1984 and also USEA Area VI leading rider a number of times, Lisa has produced a large number of competitive horses all of which she worked with from the very beginning. Lisa has ridden a number of horses she trained through the Advanced level including riding at Rolex Kentucky on three different horses. Lisa has been long listed for the U.S. Olympic Team.
Lisa has always specialized in starting young horses, working with difficult horses and competing and teaching both Young Riders and Adults. Lisa has been recognized as one of the leading riders in USEA Area VI and produced a large number of higher level horses between 1984 and 2009.
Brian remained active through the advanced level on both coasts until 1984 when his coaching activities began to take precedence. As a volunteer to the horse community Brian has served as a USPC District Commissioner, USEA Area VI Chairperson (1985-1987), CDS L.A. chapter public relations chairperson (1973), AVA (American Vaulting Association) board of governors (1976-1978) and Woodside Horse Park founding vice president and board member (1976-1989). Brian was selected Chief Liaison Officer for the 1984 Olympic games. Asked to help with the show jumping phase of the three-day event by good friend Neil Ayer, Brian was eventually awarded the contract to design and build the three-day event show jumping course at Santa Anita for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
Brian is currently teaching a full schedule of clinics across the nation and coaches the Méxican Eventing Equestrian Team. This team is the current Gold medal holder at the Central American Games. Brian also sits on the USEF Board of Directors and is President of the United States Eventing Association (USEA).
Lisa is also a founding member and Vice President of the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society (OCFPS). The OFFPS was recently recognized as Orange County’s leading community activist organization. The OFFPS is at the forefront of keeping Equestrian Sports in Orange County.
Currently Lisa has developed the Newport Mesa Riding Center. Newport Mesa caters to a diverse riding group. Many college age riders and adult amateurs enjoy Lisa’s clear and well educated approach to bringing out the best in both horse and rider. Lisa who credits her systematic teaching style to her early Pony Club experiences is also the founder of the Newport Mesa Pony Club. The Newport Mesa Pony Club holds regular lessons, camps and educational programs geared toward children of all ages. The two groups complement each other and help create a professional and rewarding experience for all the riders that participate.
The primary focus of both the Newport Mesa Riding Center and the Newport Mesa Pony Club is horsemanship and education. Riders learn not only how to ride and compete but also in-depth education on the art of horsemanship. Riders learn from hands on experiences that emphasize classic and correct equitation along with instruction from nationally ranked instructors.
Lisa and Brian’s other business interests focus on developing the Sabo Group which is a national and international Amway business. Their focus on health, wellness and sports nutrition was nurtured through the years of conditioning horses and riders for the highest level on international competition. Learning proper use of foods, supplements, vitamins, minerals and herbs have enhanced the performance and energy levels of many of their riders and business associates.