Robin Waugaman got an early introduction to riding on a Tohono O'ono Indian reservation in Arizona at the tender age of two. Her childhood days were unstructured, filled with galloping bareback over tires and logs, and other homemade obstacles. At the age of five she began competing in 3' divisions under the tutelage of her mother Linda Brown and Bitsy Shields. When Bitsy moved to California, Robin traveled to spend the summers riding with her. She helped her mother run a small training facility in Wyoming and then in Texas. Robin would watch intently as her mother broke mustangs, and restarted off the track thoroughbreds, with the hope that one day she might do the same. With the help of her mother, she saddled and rode her first mustang at the age of 10. She learned the value of hard work and creativity, to help cover the cost of riding and showing she was a part time assistant to a local equine veterinarian, and at shows she braided and cleaned stalls for other trainers. Her insatiable hunger to learn from everyone she encountered gifted her many opportunities. At the age of 11 her family moved to Pennsylvania where she enjoyed many wins in the small Jr hunters and by the age of 12 was successful showing her mother's ex race horse in the Jr jumpers. She rode to many championships and was fortunate to clinic with and be coached by great horseman to name a few: Peter Pletcher, George Morris, Danny Robertshaw, Conrad Homefield, Bernie Traurig, Buck Brannaman, Rudy Leone, Kelly Van Vleck, Elizabeth Kilham, and now Hope Glynn and Ned Glynn.
Robin left riding completely after high school and went on to pursue a PhD in Entomology and Population Biology at UC Davis where she honed her skills as a critical thinker and a teacher. She has Rudy Leone to thank for bringing her back to her love of riding who hired her just as she was finishing her dissertation. She worked as an assistant for Rudy for several years but she was drawn to learning more about the development of young horses so she took a job at Silverhorne Sport horses, a Hanoverian breeding facility, where she helped start and bring along young horses. She then immersed herself in the rigorous schedules of the equitation world as an assistant to Kelly Van Vleck for several years.
Now Robin works as a full time assistant for Sonoma Valley Stables and coaches clients at several different ranches. Her philosophy of teaching is strongly influenced by her eclectic upbringing. Her positive teaching style emphasizes: connection, relaxation, and balance; integrating good horsemanship from a variety of disciplines. Her goal is to help riders develop compassion, an ability to work confidently with young, difficult, or fresh horses, and improve their self-sufficiency, self-confidence, and self-reflection. She believes that we have come a long way in the advancement of this amazing sport but that we also have a lot of work to do to help support the development of our young horses and riders. In order to do this she believes in embracing our mistakes. Robin believes that making sure our riders and horses are fit but not overtaxed mentally and physically will keep them performing better. Robin also believes in looking for ways to help horses and riders find the answers on their own.