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San Marcos, California

© 2018-19 Peridot Equestrian LLC. All rights reserved.

Our Team



Trainer, Peridot Equestrian

Niki Clarke originally began her riding career as a Three-day Eventer. Early on, Niki trained with Three-Day Eventing greats Amy Barrington and David and Karen O’Connor. Her passion for horses and hard work ethic lead Niki to numerous Eventing accolades at a young age, including being long listed for the Sydney Olympics.

In 2004 Niki decided to make a career change and began her path up the ranks of the Dressage world. She moved to Holland to concentrate on her main love of Dressage, under the instruction of Bert Rutten. In 2005, Niki moved back across the pond to continue her dressage training in the U.S.

In 2006, Niki started Dressage Unlimited a full training barn with an emphasis on developing talented young horses for competition and sales.

Today, Niki is not only a highly respected FEI rider, her career accolades to date include USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals, and a Centerline Scores 5* rated rider. She was Reserve Champion at the Brentina Cup in 2007, third place at the 2010 Brentina Cup, and multiple wins at multiple levels with a variety of horses throughout the FEI levels. In 2018, Niki was named to the USEF Dressage Development Program with Coral Reef Ranch’s Coral Reef Scoobidooh.

See a list of Niki’s accomplishments at USDF Scores.


In addition to her accomplishments as an FEI rider, Niki is equally passionate about her client’s success. Students enjoy her positive approach and love of the equestrian sport, complimenting Niki’s teaching and training abilities in producing success for numerous horses and riders.


Niki trains with Olympian Guenter Seidel in Rancho Santa Fe.

For more information on Niki, check out her website at  For  information on Niki's training program, contact Niki at



Trainer, Peridot Equestrian

We are thrilled to announce that the amazing and talented Verena Sonstenes-Mahin of VS Dressage has joined us at Peridot Equestrian as trainer! Verena's riding and training style/philosophy is the perfect fit for our new facility and program, and we are so excited to have her here now riding and training client and sale horses daily.

She has achieved her Bronze, Silver and Gold medals, and continues to compete at all levels.


In 2011 she coached two riders who qualified for the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Representing Puerto Rico, her students achieved one of the highest levels of competition in the Americas. And in 2018, Verena proudly coached Canadian Junior rider Chase Robertson to a Bronze and Gold medal at the NAJYC.

Verena trains with three time Olympian Juan Matute when he clinics in California and has since the early 2000’s. She began working with him after she met him in  Madrid, Spain while she was still based in Europe. Verena also trains with Olympian  Guenter Seidel on a regular basis in Rancho Santa Fe.

Verena has had the great privilege to train with Charlotte Dujardin both partaking in SH Productions Symposium in October 2016 and training with her privately whenever she is in California.

Verena loves teaching and regularly clinics all over the US, Puerto Rico and Canada. VS Dressage is a full service top-sport company that provides training through Grand Prix, clinics, purchase consultation and complete sales services. 

To learn more about Verena, check out her website here: For information on Verena's training or sales program, contact Verena at



FEI Junior and Young Rider

Katherine  (Kate) is the daughter and granddaughter  of the owners of Peridot Equestrian,  and is an up-and-coming youth rider in the US.

Kate is an experienced rider and competitor, riding for the first time at age 4. Her first lead line show was that same year, and her first walk/trot class was in 2011 at the age of 7.


She won the US National Championship in Sport Horse Show Hack at the Arabian/Half-Arabian Youth Nationals in 2015 at age 11, and she won many national top tens and many regional championships in Dressage, Training Level, Sport Horse Under Saddle, Sport Horse Show Hack, Hunter Pleasure and Hunt Seat Equitation in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. 


At the end of 2017, Kate was awarded with CDS Fourth Level Champion for the year on Roosevelt (Teddy), her 17.3h Bay Oldenburg gelding.  She and Teddy were ranked as high as 5th on the on the FEI Dressage World Youth Ranking-J in the US that year.

She and her new approved Hanovarian black stallion, Soliere (Sandro Hit x Donnerhall), are competing this year in Young Riders, and are currently ranked 3rd in Region 7 and 10th in the US on the FEI Dressage World Youth Ranking-Y.  With Soliere, Kate recently earned a 76% on her Young Rider Freestyle test. They recently competed at the North American Youth Championships in Old Salem Farm in New York and ended up 6th in North America for the Young Rider Individual test. They also just competed at the US Dressage Festival of Champions national championships in Lamplight, Illinois, and ended up 3rd in the Young Rider Freestyle and 4th overall in the US for Young Riders.

Kate and her gelding, Roosevelt (Teddy), competed this year in Juniors, and finished the season 2nd in Region 7 and 5th in the US on the FEI Dressage World Youth Ranking-J. They were on the nominated list for the Region 7 Juniors Team for the North American Youth Championships.

Kate trains with Olympian Guenter Seidel in Rancho Santa Fe.



Head Groom, Peridot Equestrian

We are so lucky to have Jorge as our groom for Peridot's horses. He has many years of top level international FEI grooming experience, having served as head groom for International Jumper, Karl Cook at Pomponio Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe, California.


Jorge has extensive travel and FEI grooming experience, having served as groom for Cook's horses as a park of Team USA at International competitions all over the world, including:

  • 2017 World Cup

  • Kentucky CSI3* Invitational Grand Prix 2018

  • Longines Masters Grand Slam Indoor of Show Jumping CSI5* 2016

  • 2016 World Cup

Jorge is a critical part of the success of Peridot, and he is incredible at keeping our horses healthy, happy and show ready!