Equestrian Aid Foundation Grant Helps California Trainer Through Recovery Period
Lisa Avila schooling a young eventing prospect on the cross-country course. Photo by Carolyn Orndoff.
As the daughter of a cattle foreman, California native Lisa Avila grew up in the saddle. Horsemanship was second nature. While her passion for high performance horse sports eventually led her to experiences far beyond ranch life, a generations-old ability to train horses was coded into her DNA.
In 2008 she established Burgeon Training in California's East Bay, where she has built her reputation within the equestrian community by starting young horses and retraining difficult ones. Her interests lie in dressage and eventing, but she is readily available to help horsemen of any discipline work more productively with their animals.
Last November, Lisa tore her ACL upon falling off a young horse, effectively bringing her business to a halt. It wasn’t a particularly bad fall, she remembers, just an unlucky landing. She underwent surgery to repair the tear, and doctors gave her a strict timeline for recovery and rehabilitation. “As horse people we’re always getting hurt, but this was the first time I really had to put on the brakes and so I could heal,” said Lisa. “It scared me.”
With her business in limbo, Lisa and her husband faced the mounting pressure of their financial responsibilities. Their lifestyle was modest, yet with two young children, the family was dependent upon two incomes. Lisa reached out to the Equestrian Aid Foundation for assistance, and the grant she received helped pay the rent for the family’s home during her recovery period.
Lisa balances the demands of her training business with raising two young children, ages three and four. Photo submitted by Lisa Avila.
With the financial burden alleviated, Lisa spent the winter months in physical therapy and is now beginning to focus on her business again. While she isn’t strong enough to train or jump yet, she has been cleared to start legging herself back up on her quietest horses. “The answer’s not always 'no' from the doctors anymore,” she says optimistically.
Lisa first learned of the Equestrian Aid Foundation in a magazine ad several years ago, but it wasn’t until the unthinkable happened that she realized the depth of the foundation’s commitment to getting equestrians back on their feet. “EAF’s grant was a huge deal for me,” she said. “It was a real blessing.”