Suzan Davis Atkinson

APA is pleased to include Suzan Davis Atkinson in our group of highly trained on-set consultants. Suzan grew up on the back of a horse. Her experiences in horse training, competing, and teaching, both as a teenager and young adult, fueled her interest to become a certified professional instructor and trainer. Suzan made the decision to move to Europe to further her education and attended Curland Equestrian Enterprises where she trained and passed two separate certifications through the British Horse Society — the HorseMasters and Instructors degrees. After completing her training and passing all exams, Suzan moved back home to California, where she had the wonderful opportunity to continue her education through the years with various national and international top trainers and Olympians such as Juan Matute, Charlotte Bredahl-Baker and Victor Silva among many others.  Suzan was the Winner of the 2016 Oregon Dressage Society Instructor of the Year Award.

Certified by the British Horse Society and an FEI rider — the highest level of the sport of dressage, Suzan is a master trainer of equine and equestrian development, including the invaluable skills of ground work, long-lining, and in-hand work. Based on over 40 years of professional experience in the teaching and training of horses and riders — beginning with that moment of starting a young horse and continuing all the way up to the Suzan is also a true master in all levels of horsemanship, from starting young horses to teaching piaffe and passage.  Her integrative approach offers enormous benefits to every rider and every horse, regardless of breed, history, equestrian discipline, or level of expertise. 

In every aspect of her work, the most important component in Suzan’s philosophy is the relationship and communication between the horse and rider, with strong emphasis on biomechanics. Suzan focuses on allowing, rather than forcing. This philosophy translates well to humane oversight in film where the first rule of working with animals is never to force a behavior in any way and where horses still pose the most challenges of any animal while working on set.

Suzan’s 40 years of experience have given her the opportunity to train horses and educate students to the path of winning numerous Regional, National, All Breed and World Championships in the disciplines of Dressage, Hunter/Jumpers, and Eventing.

Suzan has also taught dog agility and obedience, raised rats, cats and birds, and performs wildlife rehab in her area when possible.  

She has closely worked with equine vets for over 40 years, helping to diagnose lameness and other veterinary issue. She has ridden and competed in western pleasure, driving, hunters, jumpers, cross country and dressage. Suzan currently resides in Portland Oregon with her husband and likes to garden and watch the birds in her spare time.