Leigh Tsottles (maiden name Sheldon) is the manager of On Course Equestrian Services. With over 13 years of teaching experience, Leigh is an American Association for Horsemanship Safety certified riding instructor, United States Pony Club ‘B’ rated, and specializes in dressage and eventing training.
Leigh has always shown a love for horses. Since she was three years old, she has had the privilege of growing up with horses at her family’s farm. She was greatly blessed to have a mother who homeschooled her and her three siblings, and was encouraged by her parents to pursue her education in equine and animal sciences. With homeschooling also came the freedom to study and train with many talented instructors and trainers. She started taking riding lessons at age 5 and by age 7 began at Dawn’s Jubilee Farm with Kathy Plummer. She rode for several years with Kathy where she gained a solid base for overall horsemanship and intermediate riding skills. She bought her first horse ‘Dakota’, a 15.2h, palomino Standardbred. Two years later she bought her second horse ‘Junior’, a 15.2h Appendix Quarter horse with three white stockings and big blaze. Two weeks after buying Junior, Leigh became a member of Churchville Pony Club.
At age 13, Kathy introduced her to Audrey Hagan, a Grand Prix dressage trainer and competitor who trained in England and Germany. Audrey helped Junior and Leigh qualify for the United States Pony Club championships in 1998 in which they competed in two first level tests and a musical freestyle test. They also competed in the United States Dressage Federation Young Rider championships two years in a row. Leigh became a working student for Audrey for a year and was privileged to ride and train with some of her Intermediate level horses.
Around the same time, Leigh started working at Bonita Farm, a local Thoroughbred training farm with the Boniface family. She was able to groom and gallop many race horses and accompanied them as a groom for several races. She helped break and start 2yr olds for the auction, and breezed a few 3yr olds.
While a member of Churchville Pony Club, Leigh was privileged to compete in the United States Pony Club championships in games (2 yrs), polocrosse (2yrs) and dressage. She also qualified to be on the eventing team. She worked her way up the levels in Pony Club while taking jumping lessons with Judy Thayer, an organizer with Fair Hill International and a successful trainer and instructor. During the summer of 2003, while testing for her ‘B’ rating, she took jumping lessons with Sarah ‘Sally’ Cousins, a top professional eventer. She began competing Training level eventing while schooling Prelim and Intermediate levels.
Leigh traveled to North Carolina to participate in an equine chiropractic clinic and became a certified equine skeletal adjuster. She also purchased a Centurion laser therapy system and has become educated in the use and positive aspects of the low level light therapy.
She has also become a certified instructor with Horsemanship Safety Association Inc. and has been teaching beginning and intermediate riding lessons for over 13 years.
In 2001 she became business manager for On Course Equestrian Services LLC. She now lives in Darlington on their family farm Grid Iron Hill Farm with her husband Chris, and their four daughters Jordan, Desa, Gemma, and Selah.
Leigh thanks God every day for having blessed her with this passion for horses and the ability to bless others through horses.