Sawatzky Equine Services
Sawatzky Equine Services is operated by Roland and Cindy Sawatzky since 2008. Roland and his dad Ed started building their facility in 2014 and they moved the business home in April of 2015.
We are known primarily for our multi-discipline colt starting program, and our team approach to training and coaching.
Our colt starting background comes from Roland's 25+ years starting young horses and 5 years of showing as a professional Reiner. He chose to build the business on his expertise in starting young horses in order to be home for his family.
We have grown into a team of trainers that love to collaborate for the good of both horses and humans. We are evolving our Partnership-Based approach to business and training horses to empower our team and customers to achieve their horsemanship goals.
Sawatzky Equine is also becoming a go-to place for many folks to explore and diversify in obstacle-based horsemanship and sport, spearheaded by our Associate Trainer, Melissa Glowinski, who is competitive at the Professional level in Extreme Cowboy Racing. Melissa also brings her expertise and enthusiasm to co-teach our six-week Colt Starting School program, alongside Roland.
Brenda Glowinski offers EC Certified coaching in English/Jumping, as well as in Extreme Cowboy Racing, and is a key partner in our ability to offer obstacle clinics and camps, like “So You Wanna Race!?!”.
Our team prides itself on developing new and innovative programs designed to advance the horsemanship of open-minded horse people. We are passionate about our goal of developing and supporting independent thinking students who are confident, safe and knowledgeable - regardless of their discipline.
Cindy also offers unique programs that center around partnership and increasing understanding between men and women (PAX Programs Inc. Certified), as well as co-leading the CORE Partnership personal development workshop created by Alison Armstrong. Additionally, Cindy is a Belief Specialist and provides coaching in mindset development.
Please take a moment to meet the Team of Coaches/Trainers and Staff Partners here at Sawatzky Equine. Together, we are dedicated to creating and providing a supportive, encouraging and interactive environment, welcoming those that have a sense of curiosity and desire for exploring horsemanship.
CEO, Trainer, Facility Manager
Roland is originally from the Didsbury, AB area and grew up in a dairy farming family where animal husbandry was a part of everyday life. As a member of the local 4H Club, he realized that he had an affinity and natural ability with horses, and by the age of 16, he was successfully buying and starting colts to sell.
This interest and commitment eventually led him to the Equine Sciences program at Olds College. After graduating from this two-year program, he became a successful equine professional, training and showing reining horses for clients for 5 years.
For fun, Roland has also spent time dabbling in the sport of 3-Day Eventing/Horse Trials. This Olympic English discipline combines the elements of dressage, stadium jumping and cross country jumping over solid fences into one exciting sport!
Roland enhanced his education and knowledge of horsemanship by spending 3 months at Natural Horsemanship trainer, Glen Stewart's ranch, in 2009. There he was immersed in refining his groundwork skills and playing with a higher level of liberty finesse. He finished the summer by winning the Canadian Colt Starting Championship and went on to several more successful placings in similar competitions.
Roland felt the call to have his own facility early on in his life, and he gained valuable construction experience from his dad Ed, on the farm. It’s safe to say that Roland loves building things, at least as much as he enjoys horse training. With the skill he gained over the years on the farm and the support of his dad, they made the Sawatzky Equine Facility dream come true.
Currently Roland splits his time between facility enhancement & management, starting young horses, fine tuning mature horses that are already started, and advancing competitive prospects. Additionally, he teaches a small number of private lessons and provides Coaching and Mentorship classes at the barn. He is most inspired about teaching the 6-Week Colt Starting School that he and Cindy created in 2017.
His clients range from people looking to have high level performance horses started and able to compete in their respective disciplines, to average folks looking for confidence with calmer, braver and more dependable riding partners to enjoy on the trail and at home.
Pilates Matwork Instructor,
Belief Specialist Coach
Cindy has many roles here at Sawatzky Equine, which include booking training horses, maintaining social media and advertising, coordinating and scheduling the Obstacle Clinic/Camp programs, as well as new program development. One of the most important things she brings to all aspects of Sawatzky Equine Services is her knowledge and passion for partnership. She fosters an environment that includes supporting all members of the team, our training clients, and boarders in experiencing the unique atmosphere of heart-based partnership.
Cindy began her horsemanship journey at the local gymkhana and light horse clubs (Westsyde Trail Riders) in Kamloops BC. She converted to English riding in her early teens when she discovered the joy of jumping. She caught the 3-Day Eventing/Horse Trials bug after attending a summer riding camp. Her passion for horses also led her to the Olds College Equine Sciences program, where she focused on dressage. However, she soon returned to the exciting world of 3-Day Eventing/Horse Trials where her new skills in dressage served her well. Cindy has enjoyed starting and bringing along young horses of her own and was very successful eventing at the lower levels.
In later years she became inspired by the finesse of liberty and groundwork, and its connection to strengthening communication and partnership with her horses. In between competing, she slowly built the foundation she needed to be able to enjoy the thrill of riding at liberty with her longtime partner, Rupert.
Cindy is also a passionate leader of transformational workshops that promote harmony and partnership between men and women. She is Certified by PAX Programs Inc. to teach “Making Sense of Men”, "The Queen's Code Workshop”, and “A Hero's Challenge: Being an Extraordinary Man”. Additionally, Cindy co-leads the “Core Partnership” workshop with Alison Armstrong (PAX Programs Inc. founder) which moved to the Sawatzky Equine facility in 2018.
She is passionate about generating unique and diverse opportunities for learning and development, both personally and in horsemanship. It has led her to host several clinics with international clinicians and develop the Coaching & Mentorship programs at Sawatzky Equine. Recently, Cindy has also trained to become a Belief Specialist and now offers mindset coaching for all areas of life.
As a visionary, Cindy is well known for being an endless “Ideas Generator” and source of ways to build stronger partnerships for humans and horses.
Assistant Pony Trainer (in the making!)
Noah made Cindy and Roland first time parents in August of 2012. At the age of one, he was introduced to the equine world in the form of miniature donkeys.
His first special friend was a grey and white pinto named Bramble who was the same age as Noah. Bramble helped teach Noah how to be a clear, consistent and confident partner on the ground, in the saddle and bareback. He gained great balance from learning how to ride on a donkey!
Together these two loved obstacle type competitions in hand or ridden in lead line, and they were arguably the stars of the show wherever they went. Additionally, they explored some mounted archery which inspired Noah to want to start learning to steer and ride on his own.
In the summer of 2019, it was time for Noah to get his first pony. Lucky Charm joined the family and was the perfect partner at just 38” tall for Noah to grow in confidence and skill in all things horsemanship. Lucky provided Noah a long list of “firsts” in his riding journey, and even took him all the way to being competitive at Extreme Cowboy Racing.
In 2021, Noah took on the challenge of partnering with his next pony, Cleta, and has achieved his goal to be in the ring to show in Extreme Cowboy Racing.
Home schooling has allowed him to become a valuable team player in helping to train miniature ponies to become kid friendly, both on the ground and in the saddle. Everyone agrees - Noah has a gift for training already and he can produce better ponies than most adults ever could!
Equine Sports Therapist, Coach
Melissa joined the Sawatzky Equine team in the spring of 2017 and is a full time Associate Horse Trainer for us. She is passionate about young horse development and is an accomplished horsewoman.
Melissa has a background of competing in several disciplines including dressage, Eventing/Horse Trials, Western Pleasure and Extreme Cowboy Racing. She is currently actively competing at the Pro level and has qualified and competed three consecutive years (2017-2019) at the Extreme Cowboy Racing Association World Championships in Texas.
In 2019, she started becoming well known for her success in training her first mule, Jessica Rabbit, to be a competitive obstacle partner. Since their debut at the Worlds in Texas in November 2019, we are now regularly booking mules for training with Melissa.
Additionally, Melissa took on co-teaching our signature Colt Starting School program with Roland in 2020. She brings her passion and enthusiasm to this program and is a key partner in helping our students gain skills to increase their safety and confidence when starting colts.
Due to her love of diversity and personal experience in a variety of disciplines, it is not uncommon to see horses from many other disciplines in her Obstacle Clinics. She is passionate about using obstacle work to accelerate the development of horses and riders in learning to be brave, confident and calm - regardless of their goals.
Because she is small in stature, she also brings a very specialized talent to Sawatzky Equine Services, and is known as an accomplished pony trainer too.
As a top graduate of the BC Equine Sports Therapy program, Melissa brings a strong commitment to the comfort and wellbeing of all the horses at Sawatzky Equine, and is instrumental in keeping the horses healthy, happy and feeling their best. She is also a certified saddle fitter and offers this service to both individuals and groups in saddle fitting clinics and individual assessments.
In addition, Melissa discovered the huge value to herself, and her students, from the tool of Belief Repatterning. She is now certified as a Belief Specialist and offers mindset coaching to her students as well.
Assistant Project Manager,
Joanne has been part of Sawatzky Equine almost since we opened our doors in 2015. She was our very first boarder when it was functional but far from finished. From the very beginning, Joanne felt like part of our team and started by helping with a variety of projects and events early on.
We were pleased to have Joanne officially join our team as a staff partner in the summer of 2020. She is the Queen of Creativity, Beautification and Decor at Sawatzky Equine. She also helps with everything from Facebook/web page management, general administration, branding/content creation and marketing videos. She can always be found having fun decorating the barn for the holidays and special events.
Joanne’s creativity is a gift to the whole team, and in turn we love supporting her on her horsemanship journey with her main man, Mac. Together they started in the English world, but after participating in almost every obstacle clinic we've ever offered, she's now made goals to compete in Extreme Cowboy Racing with Melissa and Brenda!
Sarah joined our team in the spring of 2020 after being a regular student of ours for a couple of years. She brings a passion for horse care and feeding that is very valuable to us.
Sarah comes 5 days per week to prepare the arena and feed the horses at the beginning of the day. She is known for her attention to detail in feeding, fence maintenance and taking care of the general cleanliness of our facility. She also helps Roland and Melissa be efficient with catching and grooming horses in the mornings.
We love that Sarah also has a diverse background in horses and runs a successful farrier business on top of being a team member at Sawatzky Equine. She enjoys 3-Day Eventing, Mounted Archery and has debuted in the sport of Extreme Cowboy Racing with her young horse, Midas.
Additionally, Sarah participated in our Colt Starting School in 2020 and is steadily increasing her skills with young horses, which is supportive given all the young horses she grooms for us.
Trainers & Coaches
Working Out of Our Facility
EC Certified English Competition Coach
Brenda has been an Equine Canada Certified English Riding Coach since 2006. Her competitive career began in 3-Day Eventing/Horse Trials. During this time, she coached and trained under Combined Efforts riding club, where Cindy and Roland were also part of the team of riders.
She specialized in beginner rider programs that focused on development of skills and confidence for children and adults, and was known for her exceptional string of beginner lesson horses. Brenda also spent time starting horses for a variety of disciplines with many horses going on to be competitive for the Combined Efforts team of riders in Eventing/Horse Trials.
Brenda's horse life began in childhood while riding her cousin’s horses at a family farm. Her love and affinity for horses followed her into adulthood where she too discovered that better partnerships with horses could be achieved with a more natural approach to horse training. She became a student of many natural horsemanship practitioners and developed her own style of working successfully with horses and people, helping them to have a better understanding of how horses think.
After injuries forced her out of the saddle and away from training full sized horses, Brenda moved into driving miniature horses, competing in Combined Driving events and local driving shows. She became very involved in the local driving communities under the Alberta Carriage Driving Association as a member of the Northern Lights Chapter, and competed up to Preliminary level in Combined Driving.
Brenda brings her unique coaching skills to Sawatzky Equine, which has included an adult ladies’ riding class, weekly jumping lessons, and driving clinics and lessons for the Northern Lights Chapter of the Alberta Carriage Driving Association. She works closely with Melissa Glowinski (daughter-in-law), and together they hold many Obstacle Training Clinics for all disciplines throughout the year.
After many years away from being in the saddle, Brenda discovered she could ride again on a very trustworthy horse named Ace, owned and trained by Melissa. The gift of this extraordinary horse allowed Brenda to return to competitive riding in the sport of Extreme Cowboy Racing. Brenda, and her current ride, Rosie, have proven to be a force to be reckoned with, and their partnership is an inspiration to many. Together they're looking forward to another successful race season in 2023!