Michelle & Darrel Purdy
The Ultimate Piaffe
Michelle and Darrel Purdy are most recognized for their family owned dressage training facility, The Ultimate Piaffe. Founded with Michelle’s parents Carol and Victor Ives in 1986, The Ultimate Piaffe was a center of activity for dressage in Lake Oswego, Oregon for thirty years. The original plan for the facility didn't include standing the imported stallion Ideal and breeding premium Oldenburg sport horses. However, the addition of Ideal and his offspring created opportunities to meet and build relationships with influential trainers and riders from all over the world which benefited their own training program.
Beginning at age 5 Michelle’s background includes multiple breeds and disciplines. Her introduction to dressage came from an event trainer she worked for, and once bitten she never looked back. She moved to California to live, work and train under USET team rider Alexandra Howard. Howard was one of the country's most influential trainers and has been credited for bringing along some of the west coast legends of dressage. Through Sandy, Michelle enjoyed a long relationship with the trainer of trainers Major Anders Lindgrin. Anders, a Swedish Calvary Major and Swedish Olympic team member worked with European and American riders and is recognized for helping to develop the USDF instructor/ trainer forums. Michelle rode in private and group clinics alongside USET members with Major Lindgrin leading her toward a promising future. Michelle competed to I-1 and trained through the Grand Prix movements.
Darrel began training with Michelle soon after The Ultimate Piaffe was established. They married before the ODS Championships, September 1989, and left for their honeymoon immediately after. Beginning his riding career with Michelle and bi- monthly clinics with Alexandra Howard, Darrel applied his natural athleticism and advanced quickly.
Most recognized for starting and showing countless Oldenburg's both bred at home and sent to him for sales; the equestrian community became familiar with Darrel for bringing young talented horses to recognized dressage shows that were quickly sold after achieving high scores and wins. Then came his mother in-law’s mare Gauguin's Ideal (Boo); the successful team brought home state, regional and USDF championships and high points to third level, but came to a heartbreaking end with the loss of the special mare.
Darrel now has two horses he and Michelle train together, that will stay with him throughout their careers. As well Darrel enjoys riding under some of the best dressage clinicians the world has to offer, including Christina Traurig, Conrad Schumacher, Lillo Fore and Anne Gribbions.
Michelle and Darrel offer a unique approach to teaching and training by combining their individual strengths and teaching styles to give students a more well-rounded experience. The two work with all levels and ages of riders. Many who started in their school horse program as juniors have moved through the levels to FEI championships. Some have not only earned championships and national rankings but gone on to become trainers in their own right.
Though Michelle and Darrel enjoy competition their biggest goal is helping improve the relationship between the horse and rider. They pride themselves on offering a complete experience with comprehensive support that extends from coaching and riding to all aspects of having horses.