Ellie Rawle – No Sweat Dressage

Ellie Rawle and Waldaire

Ellie Rawle and Waldaire.  Photo: © Mary Phelps

“Life is a journey for both horse and rider.” Ellie Rawle has been on that journey for her life, born into a “horsey” family in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania where on their Watermark Farm, breeding, showing, judging, training and selling horses is all in a day’s work. Rawle has developed eight of her own horses, several from delivering them at birth to Grand Prix. After 15 years of being devoted to her training and sales operation Rawle looks forward hitting the show ring in 2016 with two of her 4th generation offspring, Wakanda and Wyatt, both with a long family heritage.

A seasoned competitor in both Dressage and Eventing, Rawle’s lifetime with horses began with Pony Club, evolved into a solid Young Rider career, and continues to be fine-tuned as a solid FEI competitor and trainer earning USDF Gold and Silver medals in 2003. On her family’s farm she developed into a well-rounded breeder, trainer, FEI competitor, clinician, and teacher.

Her Mother Anne Rawle, a respected FEI judge, trainer and breeder was pregnant with Ellie in 1975 when she competed and won in the FEI Division at Dressage at Devon, so actually Ellie has been at this since before her birth.

Ellie Rawle and Double Bounce

Ellie Rawle and Double Bounce at the Pony Club National Finals in 1994

Rawle works with all levels of riders in Dressage, Eventing and Showjumping. In her “No Sweat Dressage” approach she has a talent for helping with the big leap from learning the fundamentals in 1st and 2nd level to the higher levels and FEI. She has been hands’ on in training so many horses to Grand Prix from youngsters. “I love teaching the changes.”

Helping students find the right match when it comes to finding the right horse is also a service she provides whether it is one of her own or not. Able and willing to travel, assist with shipping, her experience at training all levels, and the large network of contacts her family works with are all part of the package.

“I take great pride in being honest and forthright about the horse and fairly evaluate an equine and its suitability for the purchaser. “

Available for Clinics Rawle prefers one to two day clinics as there can a lot of information for horse and rider to process over a greater time period for off site clinics.

During the winter on their farm in Pennsylvania, they have on-site one-day clinic series over a 4-5 week period. Participants can trailer in or have on site day stabling. The clinics include an introduction to lateral work, test execution with a wrap up of teaching flying changes, pirouettes. Also offered are long-lining and cavaletti clinics by request.

“Laughter and giggling might weaken the core but a sense of perspective and humor really does break up the monotony of another volte, another shoulder in, another transition, rinse and repeat day after day,” said Rawle of her teaching philosophy.

“I like to build a good understanding with my horses and students so that we are "speaking" the same language with our horses through touch, body language and clear aids. Horse and people both have individual quirks and levels of perception, so for me, the key is to fine tune the requests from the rider enough that the horse has the opportunity to answer each request correctly - they need to be on the same page with good focus and relaxation in order to perform at their best.”

Ellie Rawle and Able Spirit

Ellie Rawle and Able Spirit in 1995. Photo: Terri Miller

Her family’s historic Watermark Farm is named for the old paper mill that was the property in the 1700’s. Generations of their American Warmblood Registry registered/inspected horses have made their mark as well on the American Sport Horse scene winning multiple Horse of the Year Awards since 1995.

A strong hold in the American warmblood-breeding world, Watermark Farm has produced both Dressage and Jumpers, where generations were a part of the family’s show record. Able Spirit, the grand dam of her current Grand Prix mount, Wyatt was Ellie Rawle’s horse in 1995. Ellie’s sister, Emily Rawle did the 1994 NAYRC on the full brother of the dam of Wakanda, and Ellie showed him in the small tour at Dressage at Devon in 2003.

Ellie Rawle and Wyatt WF

Ellie Rawle and Wyatt WF at White Fences Dressage 2014

Ellie showed Wakanda’s dam Abracadabra through 4th level and her sire Again and Again was a Grand Prix horse for Ellie’s mother. Ellie’s other current Grand Prix mount, Wakanda’s sire Waldaire was retired in 2006, one horse the Rawle family did not raise, was bought on HorsesDaily Horsemarket.

“Raising and training our horses for all those generations is almost like having a cheat sheet,” says Rawle. “I am blessed (and darned lucky) with a healthy balance and interaction with my mother (trainer, owner of horses) while establishing myself as an individual trainer."

"Training success is just as thrilling as competitive accolades for me. I have recently come to the realization that I have been competitive, almost to a fault, and have been waiting for things to be too perfect for too long. Time to get out and get to it!”

Follow Ellie's Blog for updates, happenings and fun facts. ellie-watermarkfarmhappenings.blogspot.com,

Ellie’s Favorites

  • Saddle:
    Stubben Genesis Special D, 18"seat in dark brown - ideal balance point (for me)
  • Supplements:
    Smartpak Smarthkof Ultra, Adequan - good feet and adequate mobility in the joints!
  • Riding Clothes:
    OneK Helmets, Petrie Boots, 2KGrey breeches (show), Schumacher shadbelly, Piper breeches from Smartpak for schooling
  • Shopping Spot:
    Depends! I try to be frugal, so I'm always on the hunt for a sale! Typically I'm an online shopper but I can do an impulse buy
  • Meal:
    Grilled chicken (or local fresh fish) Cobb Salad with a vinaigrette
  • Restaurant and Its Location:
    Portabellos of Kennett Square PA 
  • Drink:
    Water! Or at the end of a very long day - Yuengling Lager
  • Recreation Actitvity- other than horses:
    Cooking, chip and put style golf, gardening
  • Quote:
    "Be humble on your feet and proud on your horse. " - LeGoff
  • Book:
    I used to be an avid reader - but lately am too tired to focus enough - I fall asleep with the light on.
  • Movie:
    How To Train Your Dragon - I adore Toothless/I am a firm believer that quality animation surpasses the label "children's movie"
Address Info
Contact Name: 
Ellie (Eleanor) Rawle
Company / Farm: 
Watermark Farm