Alyssa grew up in Snohomish, Washington. Her parents had “back yard” horses, and Alyssa literally grew up riding. At the age of 3, Alyssa’s mom saw a “pony for sale” sign on the side of the road, and thus entered Cola, Alyssa’s first pony. The first time that she rode him, Alyssa haughtily told her parents, “Mom, Dad, I can ride without your help!” So, they unclipped the lead rope and handed the reins to Alyssa. Off the pony capered, and off Alyssa fell! Typical of Alyssa’s early years with horses, she spent more time flying through the air and on the ground than in the saddle.
At age 6, Alyssa joined Pony Club, and spent her youth enjoying Pony Club and lower level eventing. She inherited the ride on Rebel, the family’s beloved rescue horse, from her sister when Alyssa was 9, and that incredibly special horse was her partner for the rest of Alyssa’s youth. Alyssa took on another rescue horse, High Jumper, while in high school, but it was difficult to ride seriously while competing in three sports: soccer, basketball, and track.
Alyssa left horses behind when she began school at Stanford University, as she ran cross country and track for two years there. Missing horses too much, she began riding polo ponies to help exercise them for the school team. She bought an off the track Thoroughbred, Honey of a Bear, with her savings from working, and began really enjoying her time with horses again. Upon graduating from Stanford, Alyssa took a “year off” to teach riding lessons before planning to attend graduate school. Her passion for horses never let her go to graduate school.
As Alyssa became more interested in dressage, she slowly gave up jumping and eventing and began to develop an education in dressage. She met Randy Leighton after really botching the training with a young horse, and that is when her education evolved to encompass a broader and deeper understanding of timing and feel. As she developed as a rider, she worked with Steffen Peters, and his lessons about correct basics were incredibly important in her developing education. Later on, she was able to work with Anne Gribbons, who was immensely helpful in fine tuning exercises and show strategies. In 2015, Alyssa was introduced to Charlotte Dujardin while riding in a symposium, and Alyssa has been a dedicated student of Charlotte’s ever since.