Happy Customers

Wonderful farm close to Nashville, great for adult amateurs of all levels!
Chelsey is a gifted trainer. 

-Ashley Shoemaker

Absolutely excellent trainer. Have had my horse at her facility for 5 years. Wonderful care. Have learned more in 5 years with Chelsey than I have in a lifetime. Super fun, supportive, barn of lovely ladies! Highly recommend
-Katherine Etheridge

Are you looking to become a better rider, or to further educate your horse?  I HIGHLY recommend contacting Chelsey Sawtell!  Chelsey is an awesome trainer to work with for any level rider and horse. Nice facility and an awesome group of gals at the barn. I highly recommend checking out BlackFriar Farm if you want to excel as a rider and see your horse work at his or her full potential as an eventer.  

-Taylor Nichols

Excellent trainer and fantastic group of supportive equestrians!

-Erica Stokes

I have always wanted to ride horses. After my 40th birthday the opportunity became available and I researched instructors near Nashville that had familiarity with adult learners. I was impressed by Chelsey's website and our email communication. I was BLOWN AWAY by her in person. She can teach at a any level--from a true beginner such as myself, to the expert horsewoman (I listen to her give lessons to a much more advanced rider than myself and I didn't understand 85% of what she was talking about). She is attentive to detail of rider and horse and pushes both to the next level EACH LESSON. She is able to encourage, excite, motivate and keep lessons novel. I have had lessons for a couple months and feel more confident each time I ride and gain more skill. The camaraderie with Chelsey and the other riders at BlackFriar Farms is warm, welcoming and supportive. I HIGHLY recommend Chelsey to anyone who is looking to be a learner at any level of horsemanship.

Sydney Hester 

Our whole family started riding here!  I never rode as a child and yet learned as an adult from Chelsey about horsemanship and competition.  Now I have my own farm and two wonderful horses she identified for me.  She made my dreams come true!

-Clauda Andl

I grew up riding hunters in the Midwest by stopped in college to focus on family and career.  I always knew I'd get back into horses, but hadn't planned on taking as long a break as I did.  I give myself credit for being smart enough to know not to go it alone.  After that I give Chelsey Sawtell all the credit for what has turned out to be an incredibly positive and fulfilling set of life experiences.  In the four years I've been riding with Chelsey, she has patiently worked to improve my riding skills, introduced me to the wonderful (and challenging) sport of Eventing and helped me find and bring up a young horse that is everything I could have imagined and more.  I can think of many scenarios where things could have gone wrong for someone like me, yet I have had the most incredible ride - literally and figuratively.  No doubt about it, Chelsey is an extremely talented professional with great instincts and a real gift for developing young horses and adult riders.  I feel so fortunate to have found her and look forward to riding for many more years under her guidance.
-- Jeanne Wallace

I have a similar story to Jeanne Wallace.  I was raised hunter/jumper and was the owner/trainer to an OTTB 5-year old when I was a teenager.  Sadly, a family move meant I had to sell my much loved boy.  I walked away from the horses and didn't return until I found Chelsey over 25 years later.  My only intention was to ride again.  But I fell in love with one of Chelsey's babies - a 3 year old filly named Andee who Chelsey raised from a yearling.  Andee was unbroke when I purchased her and I immediately put her into training with Chelsey.  One of the things I love about my mare is her sound mind and gentle disposition.  Chelsey is training Andee as a competition horse developing her natural athleticism while creating a balanced, safe and fun ride for me.   I have been riding Andee in local dressage shows since she was 4.  Chelsey has a gift for working with young horses.  She is skilled in many areas, but the way she develops babies is truly special.  My mare will turn 6 this winter and we are still training with Sawtell Eventing and boarding at BlackFriar Farm.  That says it all.
--Brenda Sparks

I came to Chelsey with just enough knowledge about horseback riding to be dangerous and without the insight to know it.  She helped me take what I did know and develop it into tangible skills while helping me to build the confidence necessary to more forward,  Over the last year and a half she has taken me from vacation trail rider to an amateur competitor with goals of completing a three-day event in the near future.  Chelsey teaches much more than just horseback riding; she teaches you how to effectively communicate with your horse to recognize boundaries that need to be challenged, and the short and long term care necessary to be a responsible and successful horse owner.  At BlackFriar Farm, Sawtell Eventing,  I found a new hobby and a new group of friends that has become like family.
--Jessica Greenfield

Chelsey's instruction gave Christina the classic foundation she needed to become a highly competitive A++ Equitation and Hunter rider.  Christina is now Intermediate Rider on the UNR Equestrian team her Freshman Year.

-Lisa Read,  Reno Nevada

"Chelsey is an excellent trainer. Her combination of patience, kindness and firmness encourages each child to reach their potential while having fun at the same time. Our daughter continues to grow under Chelsey's guidance in both her equestrian ability and her self-confidence."-Jennifer Bisio 

" Our daughter is a first time student to riding lessons. We could not have wished for a better instructor than Chelsey. She has been patient, instructive, but most importantly she has made learning and riding a very fun experience. Our daughter looks forward to this time every week. She has truly fallen in love with Chelsey and her horses."

-Rebecca Stoll

Laura and I want to thank you for a great experience during Laura's first ever horse-back riding lesson!! You have a great technique, venue and beginner horse, Lollie, that made Laura's experience very positive and rewarding. The pink tact was an added benefit for Laura. Laura now wants to visit Nashville more often and we look forward to increasing her skills and love of animals with you during many more lessons to come!!


-Tom & Laura Levensailor

Katie loves coming to BlackFriar and working with Chelsey.  Her first visit was nerve-wracking for her, but under Chelsey's wonderful teaching, Katie has blossomed.  She's more confident around the horses, and listens to the instructions of her teacher.  What a wonderful atmosphere to learn riding!"

"Seeing Katie having fun and learning about horses was a treat." 

"It was a wonderful experience for both of us." Thank you again,

-Stacey Klinger   

Chelsey has restored my confidence as a rider, which I thought was impossible.  She has taught me to believe in myself and that anything is possible.  Chelsey Sawtell is the Real Deal.  Great trainer, nice facility.

-Karen Golski

As a middle-aged mother of ten grown kids, I decided to take riding lessons because it was something I had always wanted to do, and finally had time for.  And, I must confess, I was pretty nervous.  I had ridden many years before, but had never had lesson #1.  I had no idea what I was doing, and was very self conscious about it.Enter Chelsey Sawtell.  She made me feel comfortable from the moment we met.  She's never treated any of my millions of questions with anything less than respect.  She has patiently shown me what to do without making me feel stupid because I didn't know it beforehand.  And she has persistently encouraged me to ride better without making me feel bad about the efforts I was already making.I know that Chelsey's website focuses on kids and the young competitive rider, but I would unreservedly recommend her as an instructor for the older, inexperienced rider as well.  If you've ever wanted to learn to ride and thought you never could, think again!  Chelsey Sawtell and Black Friar Farm provide just the right combination of instructor, lesson horse or pony, and ring or trail ride to make the experience not only educational, but also a pleasure.  Thanks, Chelsey!  It's been fun!

After taking lessons at several different locations, none of which I enjoyed, I decided to give BlackFriar Farm a try and am so glad that I did.  Chelsey’s extensive knowledge about horses combined with her positive teaching method is an excellent mix that has really built my confidence as a rider.  She puts both her horses and riders first and is very safety conscious.  I feel like there is no end to what I can learn from Chelsey and know that she will help me go as far as I want to go as a rider.  Black Friar Farm provides a relaxed environment with plenty of room to learn for both the beginner and advanced rider alike.  I’m so happy that I finally found a place to ride where I can learn and have fun at the same time.  Thanks Chelsey!
- Rachel Simpkins

Hey Chelsey-
First off I wanted to say thanks for letting me come out and see what your barn was like. I LOVED IT. Being out there made me miss riding so much, it was crazy. My reason that I stopped riding at ******** was because I couldn't stand the situation anymore. The condition of the horses, the lack of improvement and actually learning, so on and so on. My other issue was that I wasn't exactly fond of Eventing. While I love the dressage and jumping aspects of it, x-country just isn't my thing. I am beginning to think that I was making myself believe that because I wanted an out from ********. Then, being out at your barn made me miss riding more than anything. More than that, seeing the HUGE improvements C. has made from where she was the last time I saw her ride, showed me that you are an AWESOME trainer and I love the way you teach. I rode my mare today, and realized that I have fallen waaaaaaaaaaaay down and have a equitation train wreck on my hands. I was hoping maybe I could come out and take some lessons? I would love to start riding again.
Just let me know!
K. F.

Chelsey has worked with 2 of my horses - an older horse in need of conditioning and a young horse in need of training.  I could not have been more pleased with her quality of training, her dedication, insight and her focus on the positive with these horses. 
Chelsey has also given my 17 year old daughter lessons.  She has learned so much from Chelsey and is so excited to use her new knowledge.  My daughter is an experienced horse person, but has never had much instruction in the basics of riding.  Chelsey keyed in on that after the first lesson and went back to square one at the second lesson.  My daughter was so thrilled after that ride.  She "found her seat" and it was one of the first times her knees did not hurt after riding because she was sitting correctly. 
I have seen Chelsey work with children and adults and she does a wonderful job of adapting her lessons to the needs of the rider.

- Trish Thomas

Young horses in training

Young horses schooling