Extraordinarily Talented Trainers
We offer a highly talented group of WARMBLOOD TRAINERS, preparing horses for sales and shows in our well rounded program, including dressage, natural horsemanship, hacking, jumping and holistic work.
Erin Brinkman heads our staff of trainers having studied bio-mechanics and holistic approaches to both training, teaching and horse health. Ben Merritt is our Jumping Trainer/Instructor, while his wife Anna Merritt specializes in dressage.
Our program is great for winter training of horse and rider for the Florida dressage circuit and all of our trainers are available for lessons, clinics or training.
USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold Medalist
Erin is available for clinics, lessons at Valhalla, judging schooling shows, coaching at shows, and training horses.
Erin loves to teach and has been teaching daily for the last 25 years. She travels throughout the United States giving clinics. Erin has helped many riders achieve their USDF medals and find their dream horse! She has brought many horses to Grand Prix, using kindness and expertise to form a team where both horse and rider enjoy the work.
Ben Merritt, our resident jumper trainer, started his career as a teenager in England, riding for Kim Barzilay. He had many wins at the big pony shows around the country. He then progressed to horses, moving to Olympic rider, Tim Stockdale's farm. There he had many wins at Horse of the Year show, including the 6 year old National Championship with the horse, The Toymaker. Ben then moved to Germany to ride and train with Paul Schockemohle, competing around the mainland of Europe. There, he progressed to Grand Prix competition, making his debut at the Munster International. After his time in Germany, Ben moved back to England, setting up his own farm, breaking, training and showing jumpers. With Wonderboy, Ben had many national Grand Prix wins while also getting on the Young Rider team. In 2014, Ben moved to the US, marrying Anna Logan where both reside at Valhalla. Anna is Erin's main riding student. Ben takes horses in training or for sale in the hunter/jumper field.
USDF Gold Medalist offering clinics, lessons, bodywork for horse and rider, and horses for sale
Iris Eppinger comes from Germany with a long family background of horsemanship, including a brother and sister currently involved at the highest levels of dressage and jumping. Iris trains young horses as well as training and showing horses through FEI levels. She teaches clinics off farm as well as individual lessons here at Valhalla. She is well versed in bringing together harmony of horse and rider. Iris brings a calm, well educated approach to all riders and horses.
USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist working towards Gold Medal
Anna began her career riding and showing for a local breeder in West Michigan until 2014 when she made the leap to join the Valhalla Farm team as assistant trainer for Erin Brinkman. In the fall of 2017 she spent nearly three months in Germany working with master trainer Barbel Eppinger. November 2018, Anna has returned to jump start her training and sales business out of Valhalla Farm beside her husband Ben Merritt who is specializing in the jumpers.
Valhalla Farm has been training both horses and riders since 1972, assisting many riders along their path to professional trainer/riders in a variety of sports. This list includes the very successful trainers, Dori Addy, Derek Petersen, Brian McMahon, Eugene Abello and Andrew Palmer along with many others. Our program offers both working student positions and/or the opportunity to bring your own horse for a short or long course. We accept a few outside pre-approved warmbloods for horse sales. Our facility includes a dressage size covered arena, outside dressage rings, acres of fields to practice dressage in peaceful settings, a stadium jumping field and the friendly atmosphere to make it all fun. While we are not a boarding facility, we can handle winter boarders who want to work with our trainers.
We are pleased that Erin Brinkman and Iris Eppinger have made Valhalla Farm their home for many years. They not only train our horses, but work with a large number of outside horses and students to prepare them for the show ring. Along with Erin and Iris, we are very pleased to introduce Michaela Love and Ben Merritt with information above.
Our program is also open for winter training of horse and rider for the Florida dressage circuit.