Profiles: Courtney Spicer

Resident Trainer-Manager

Courtney and DulceIt was the Walter Farley books that gave Courtney Spicer her ideal of a perfect horse, but her Mom showed Saddlebreds, her aunt was a three day eventer, and she found herself at a job warming up horses and getting them broke for a team roping company. It wasn’t until this Virginia native moved to Arizona in 1999 to attend the Al Marah apprenticeship program in Tucson that she began her first hands-on experience with Arabians.

“I worked hard, and they gave me lots of opportunities,” she says. “This was my ‘golden time’ because so many things were happening there.” Here she learned to start horses, mainly for reining. “There’s so much they needed to do before you could step into the ring,” she says. She credits her mentor and teacher Gary Ferguson for teaching her to be ‘soft and quiet.’ Mrs. Tankersley noticed the dedicated young apprentice. “Mrs.T sent me for hunt seat clothing after I began showing hunter pleasure for her.” She even spent a stint at Bazy’s son Mark Miller’s Arabian Nights in Florida. “I rode the Black Stallion in the bareback liberty act, rode a donkey in the Gypsy Caravan and performed in a circus comedy act, trick riding draft horses.” After her apprenticeship, she worked at Fable Arabians in Tucson, “mainly starting young horses, I mostly started horses for a long time.”

Three years ago she began work as head trainer for Rancho Sonado LLC, where her gift for starting horses has paid off in her win with Reserve Champion Arabian Trail Futurity and Junior Horse Chicago Chaps RS (Jullyen El Jamaal x SC Chipawa Chinks), the first baby bred by owners Nan and Dick Walden. “If you start one yourself, you know everything that horse has gone through from the beginning, and when I introduce it to something, it tells me what it wants to do.” Now she also gets to finish horses which she calls “the yummy stuff.” Her favorite student is “someone who wants to learn, who is hungry for knowledge and much more interested in the ride than the ribbons. With me there are no shortcuts, no gadgets. All the horses I train are ranch horses. They are kind, have great minds, are athletic, pretty and show, but anyone can get one and take off down the wash or climb a sandhill.”

Family is everything. Courtney says her husband Scott is “an amazing individual who is very supportive". A devoted wife and mother of two beautiful children, Courtney says "If you want to be successful, you need to have balance and success in your personal life too.”






"You can never rely on a horse that is educated by fear. There will always be something that he fears more than you. But, when he trusts you, he will ask you, what to do when he is afraid."

~ Antoine de Pluvinel
16th century equerry to King of France

Quality Horses and Boarding Facilities

Rancho Soñado offers performance Arabians, Half-Arabians for sale and quality boarding facilities for all breeds at both locations – Amado, Arizona and Santa Ynez, California.

Whether you are new to horses or a seasoned showman, we have special horses that will be your most trusted partners!