Get Healthy Sponsored Athlete
Natalya Gryson is a professional equestrian and FEI Trainer. Natalya emphasizes quality, targeted nutrition for her horses in training and competition. She has partnered with Get Healthy to bring her expertise to our educated team. We can now offer quality nutritional strategies and natural health solutions for horses and their human partners, backed by professional support.
Still Hill Dressage training facility is operated by USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medalist Natalya Gryson and her husband Ben Larsen in Brevard, NC. Still Hill Dressage is currently home to two up and coming Grand Prix prospects, young horses in development, advanced and medium level schoolmasters, and a few amateur rider/horse combos Natalya has taken under her wing.
Background: Since her teenage years, Natalya has ridden with trainers and instructors with a wealth of experience. Their backgrounds range from local hunter jumpers and race horse gallopers, to mounted police patrol trainers, and long-listed Olympic hopeful eventer and dressage riders. Most notably she has been training with Joe Sandven since 2008. Joe has experienced national success at both National and International Young Horse Championships and at CDI Grand Prix dressage.
Training: Natalya enjoys training horses of all ages and levels, focusing on helping each horse gain mental, physical, and emotional strength to do his job under saddle well and with a good attitude. As explained by Natalya, “Mental strength comes from knowledge and understanding of the aids and of our expectations of him. Physical strength comes from balanced conditioning. Many behavioral problems result from the horse not knowing how to move comfortably under his rider. I teach horses how to balance and move freely under the weight of their rider. With mental and physical strength comes emotional strength: confidence. When a horse is confident in his ability to do his job well, it gives him a sense of satisfaction. That is what keeps him a willing partner, day in and day out.”
Instruction: When Natalya takes a rider into training, her focus is creating a feeling rider. Her lessons are seeped with theory to build cognitive strength. She teaches riders to match their center of gravity with their horse’s so the rider can feel what it is like to move with their horse. Riders who are balanced to move with their horse experience an amazing feeling of connection, cultivating an empathetic and empowering relationship for both rider and horse. By engaging riders in their lessons and encouraging self-practice, riders gain the ability to feel for themselves when the work is correct and gain confidence in their own skill as a teacher for their horse.
Equine Athlete Management: Athletes have specific needs not only regarding conditioning, but nutrition and recreation as well. Grazing is the main recreational activity for equine athletes. Still Hill Dressage’s management-intensive grazing practices maximize pasture quality and extending the grazing season, helping our horses enjoy more pasture time r&r. Furthermore, we strive to provide the best nutrition to our equine athletes. We feed a whole food diet which includes Coolstance, a non-GMO, coconut based feed which is high protein, high fat, low starch, and free of inflammatory grains. Equine athletes are individually supplemented as needed with high quality, research proven products produced by conscientious companies, including Get Healthy Vitamins and Natural Foods and Terry Naturally Animal Health.
Farm and Business Management: Natalya suspended her undergraduate studies at the age of 20 to start the business which grew into Still Hill Dressage. She returned to Brevard College finish her undergraduate degree in 2013. In 2016 she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts and was honored with the Presidential Award for Scholarship, achieving the highest academic rank in her graduating class. Her undergraduate studies focused on business management and environmental science. The curriculum from these two areas of study culminated in a proficient implementation of both short and long term business management strategies and farm management practices. At Still Hill Dressage we understand that mindful, sustainable farm practices are important for the health and happiness of everyone on the farm as well as the surrounding community. A few examples of our sustainable efforts on the farm are:
Wildflower meadow bank benefiting pollinators and biodiversity
Spreading manure on the pastures returns fertility to the land and decreases pest bug breeding
Management-intensive grazing (rotational grazing) practices heighten soil fertility, water and nutrient absorption, forage quality and quantity, animal performance, and ecological health and diversity
A Shared Experience: At Still Hill Dressage we endeavor to enhance not only the experiences humans have with their horses, but the experiences horses have with their humans. Sharing of knowledge and skills is held in high regard. As we see it, discoveries are made to be shared, knowledge is accumulated in order to educate, and skills are mastered in order to convey. We would love to be a part of your journey, and invite you to be a part of ours.
Timeline / Accomplishments:
2006: Began equestrian business on a part time basis
2008: Began part time position as working student for international dressage trainer/competitor Joe Sandven at Tantalus Farm
2009: Equestrian business expanded into full time and named Still Hill Dressage
2014 Jan: Enrolled at Brevard College to study business and environmental management and finish Bachelor's degree
2015 Jan: Awarded WNC Ag Options Grant for environmentally sustainable Management-intensive Grazing Project
2015 Dec: Completed undergraduate studies at Brevard College with a B.A. in Integrated Studies – Business and Environmental Science emphasis
2016 May: Received diploma at Brevard College Spring Graduation ceremony. Awarded the Presidential Award for highest academic rank in 2016 graduating class
2016: USDF Bronze Medal earned for achievement at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd levels of dressage
2017: Awarded partnership grant with NRCS for pasture conservation plan
2018: USDF Gold Medal earned for achievement at the highest levels of dressage, Intermediate and Grand Prix
2019: USDF Silver Medal earned for achievement at 4th and Prix St George levels of dressage