The Marian Nelson Equestrian Team

Breadth of Knowledge, Wisdom & Commitment

Marian Nelson

Marian brings a lifetime of dedication and experience to the clients and the staff. She has seen horses, riders – even the industry – grow and evolve, always involved in shaping the hunter/jumper world in Northern California.  For more than 40 years, Marian has worked with young children, juniors, and adult amateurs, focusing on safety, as well as their horsemanship skills. 

Her teaching philosophy: function follows form. Marian believes in the development of a strong equitation foundation for all of her riders – no matter what ring they will ultimately compete in.  She prioritizes the attainment of the fundamental skills that serve riders for success in all riding disciplines for the rest of their riding career.  She believes in safety first and a positive attitude when having fun.

Marian has enjoyed great success in discovering and fostering talent in young horses with her European importing business.  Through a network of trainers she works with in Belgium, Holland and Germany, she finds prospects to develop under her watchful eye.  Her horses are often top 10 in the international Young Jumper Championships and many are competing right now in Grand Prix and Hunter Derbies throughout the United States, including Landillo, who is competing with MNE rider, Mika Gretton, in Hunter Derbies.

She has participated in all aspects of the equestrian sport, including being named the Chef D’Equipe of the NorCal Spruce Meadows team in 2010.  Under her tutelage, her clients have achieved numerous West Coast wins and championships, including some of the most competitive year-end wins in NorCal, Pacific Coast, Spruce Meadows and Thermal Championships.

Marian’s passions included an orphanage in Kenya where she helps with 350 AIDS orphans.  She is a Board Member of Bright Future Foundation, a non-profit which supports the By Grace Disabled and Orphans Center.  She loves to fish and travel.


Mika Gretton

Mika is an integral member of the MNE team and is involved with the riding, training and showing of all clients’ hunter and jumper horses in the barn. Mika’s commitment is long-standing -- riding and teaching as a professional for Marian for more than 10 years.  She possesses a very diverse background on which she has built a very successful riding and teaching career. As a successful junior, Mika competed in the hunters, medals and jumpers across the country.  As a credentialed teacher, Mika taught elementary school children,
including those with special needs, bringing a unique approach and style to riders of all ages and experience levels.  She believes that understanding each student’s individual learning style is crucial to

being a successful instructor.

Mika has been competitive in both the hunter and jumper rings, capturing champion ribbons at various levels and finishing in the top 10 of the Hunter Derbies

at Sonoma Horse Park consistently. Mika’s passion for starting young horses, couples nicely with her steady, patient style, making her a standout with green prospects.  From their first training under saddle to moving them successfully through the ranks, Mika has turned inexperienced, green horses into Champion competitors.

As her second full-time job, Mika is a mother.  She and her husband, Caleb, have a young daughter, Daphne and a giant black schnauzer, Elvis.


Erin Garnett

Erin personifies all that is good with riding: passion and discipline.  Since her first riding lesson at the age of eight, Erin has been committed to working with horses.  Competing on the junior circuit, she earned either a Champion or Reserve in every show she entered and grabbed numerous year-end awards and top Medal Final finishes. Erin started early on her path to being a professional and at the age of 18, she became an Assistant Trainer.  She further expanded her equine knowledge "from the ground" by working as a groom, braider, and ranch hand, and by assisting countless farriers, veterinarians, and barn managers, making her a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Erin is drawn to the endless education of the Hunter/Jumper show ring and imparts that to the MNE clients. She is known for attentive and patient work with horses and riders of all ages and riding levels. Erin believes that every ride – whether challenging or successful – is an opportunity to learn and grow as a rider and an instructor.  She believes there is nothing more fulfilling than witnessing and aiding in the small and large breakthroughs of each team.

She proudly joined the Marian Nelson Equestrian team in February of 2012 – and made the year complete with getting married.


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