Erica Gowen - Facility Owner/ Director/ Instructor/ Trainer
Hunt Seat, Dressage, Jumper, and Cross Country Instructor/Trainer (CHA Certified)

I have been teaching/training both horse and rider for over 20 years and my primary goal as the owner
of Serenity Cove Stables is to provide top-quality instruction and training to St. Mary's County.  I couldn't
accomplish that goal without the help of our skilled and well educated staff, as well as our happy,
healthy lesson horses. Allow me to tell you a little more about myself and my equestrian experience.

At the age of 9 I started my riding career with a focus in hunt seat equitation in upstate New York, in the
city of Rochester. I first started riding at
Heberle Stables but soon moved to Jensen's Stables, and
there I remained through High School. Through this time I enjoyed spending long days at the barn
assisting the instructors in any way possible in order to work off extra rides, or an opportunity to
exercise a green off-the-track Thoroughbred.  At the age of 15 I was competing one of those
Thoroughbreds in the
Empire State Riding Acadamy Summer Show Series at the Advanced level.  A
few years later I had to pull myself away from the barn I loved and made the difficult move to college to
study Engineering.  My first year there, I joined the
Syracuse University Intercollegiate Equestrian
Team.  In my Sophomore year at Syracuse I qualified for the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association's
Regional, Zone, and then National finals, which was held in Boulder, Colorado. At Nationals I placed
3rd overall in Advanced Hunt Seat Equitation on the Flat.

For my junior year I shook things up again by deciding to participate in the study-abroad program in
London, England and joined the Collegiate Team at City University while I was there. Here I began my
studies in Dressage at
Trent Park Equestrian Center in North East London, and this was my
equestrian focus for the following year. Upon returning to the United States I again qualified for IHSA
Regional finals in hunt seat over fences as a member of the Syracuse team, but sadly was unable to
compete due to illness (despite my protests!).

In 1997 I moved to Southern Maryland to take an engineering job with the US Navy, and started
instructing and training on the side.  After teaching and training out of local barns I bought a farm in
Mechanicsville in 2001 and named it Crimson Clover Farm. In 2002 I received my CHA Level 4
certification in English riding instruction. After 5 successful years at Crimson Clover Farm, I sold it in
order to expand our instruction/training/boarding operations. In 2006 my husband and I purchased our
current facility in Leonardtown and named it Serenity Cove Stables.

I compete primarily in rated show circuits, including the open Maryland Saddle Association Jumper
circuit, open dressage competitions, as well as Open eventing. I also compete in
A-rated Arabian
shows where Scarlet (Show name Marysha BCA) and I qualified for the AHA Sport Horse National
Finals in the Arabian PureBred Hunter Over Fences division in 2008.

Now that you know all about me, allow me to introduce the other fantastic instructors here at Serenity
Cove Stables.


Karen Smith
Dressage and Trail Instructor (CHA Certified)

I began riding at 5 years old, on family owned horses. Arabians are my favorite!! My grandfather was a
Pennsylvania farmer who had teams of work horses as well as race horses. My mother also rode
extensively as a teenager. I live with my 2 children and husband on our 15 acre farm, Lavender
Plantation, with my Arabian mare, with whom I do dressage and comp. trail, with the occasional
foxhunt here and there. My sons also have their pony and are progressing nicely. I am a certified small
animal lab technician for the United States Dept. of Agriculture in Beltsville, MD, and worked 17 years
as a small animal veterinary technician for various hospitals in Southern Maryland and in the District of
Columbia. I am currently developing my farm into a private lesson facility.

Pony Club under BHSI instructor in Landover, MD. Youth equestrian camp counselor for 4

1987-1989- began teaching lessons and riding/showing boarder's horses at Marlboro Horse Farm,
Upper Marlboro, MD. Champions and Reserve Champions in Green/Open Hunter and Equitation.

1989-1991- Barn manager for El Naja Arabians, a breeding and boarding facility in LaPlata, MD.
Began a successful comp. and judged pleasure trail riding career, achieving a score of 98/100 on my
first 15 mile ride. In 93' I took my novice 4 year old Arabian to Grand Champion in her first year of

1992- 2006- cont. training and riding with upper level dressage judges/coaches, as well as a steady
schedule of comp. trail/ judged pleasure trail events. I participated in 3 John Lyon's clinics and rec'd
awards of achievement for each. That year I also began working with therapeutic children and adults at
Greenwell State Park's riding program.

October 2006- attended CHA certification clinic and received a score of 97/100 overall. Rec'd Level 3
certification. You may find my name and information at

2006 to present- currently competing with my new green Arabian mare in dressage and trail ( Reserve
High Point/Series Intro Level 07, Champion/ Series Intro Level 07, and Champion Novice Horse
Division MAHA judged ride. All in this horse's first year of showing ).

June 07- Dressage Instructor for MD Horse Science school camp. I have completed the USDF 'L'
judges 3 part series program as a participating auditor, and I am in the process of completeing the
USDF Instructor Certification program (3 part series) as a participating auditor. I am currently working
toward my USDF University Continuing Education Certificate. In addition to private students, I also
teach one day a week at Serenity Cove stables, owned by certified instructor/trainer Erica Gowen.

I now train periodically under a USDF 'R' judge Nicky Vogel, and also under classical dressage
instructor Diana Beuchert at Spring Fever Farm, in Northern MD. I am also a staff rider in her classical
equestrian theater, which travels throughout MD and VA.

Member of NARHA, CHA, USDF, PVDA and MAHA.

I especially enjoy working with green horses, and OTTB and Arabians. I have students of all levels, in 5
counties in Maryland. My goal is to develop a sensitive, secure rider with focus on a effective, balanced
seat. I believe that we cannot be successful as riders with ribbons alone, we should constantly strive
to achieve clear, correct, and compassionate communication every time we ride.


Serenity Cove Stables