Our Team

Trainers are in alphabetical order




USDF Gold Medalist

Trainer, Peridot Equestrian

Verena Sonstenes-Mahin of VS Dressage is an FEI Grand Prix level trainer and competitor, who also has a robust sales program out of Peridot, and is known for having the ability to match riders with just the right horses for their goals. 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: http://www.vsdressage.com/ For information on Verena's training or sales program, contact Verena at verena@vsdressage.com




Olympic Bronze Medalist, Team USA

USEF US Dressage Young Horse Coach

Trainer, Peridot Equestrian

Christine Traurig is one of the most successful riders and trainers throughout the US, and that over almost three decades.


In 1988 Nemesis, the horse she trained and showed became USDF Horse of the Year. In 1998 she won the Intermediare I Championships in Gladstone, NJ on Etienne. Christine on Etienne was selected for the U.S. team at the Sydney Games, earning a personal best score, and helping America win a third consecutive bronze medal. She was named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Female Equestrian Athlete of the Year in 2000.


From 2002 to 2004 she trained and showed Limited Edition whom she placed in the Finals of the German National Young Horse Championships each year, just to name some of her success stories.


Besides her incredible success as a rider, Christine is just equally as successful as a trainer. In 2015 she served as Chef d’Equipe for the USEF at CDIO Rotterdam and CDIO Hagen. In that same year she was nominated as USEF National Young Horse Coach, and in that role accompanied Endel Ots with his two horses to the World Championship of Young Dressage Horses in Verden, Germany. Her coaching skills have contributed to the success of international riders like Kathleen Raine with Breanna, David Wightman with Partous, Sabine Shut-Kery with Sanceo (2015 Pan American Games team gold medal), and Jan Ebeling with Rafalca (2012 London Olympic Games) and Rassolini. - A list of achievements that make her the idol of many aspiring Dressage riders.

Christine is truly passionate about the training and development of horses to the best of their ability, training riders the skills and the Horsemanship needed to succeed, producing horses to contribute to the international success of the US, her home of choice, and finally also furthering young talents to become established riders like she is: Riders that make horses better, that train horses for a lifetime, and that do not only talk about but truly live Horsemanship.


Photo credit: Taylor Pence/US Equestrian



2021 USEF Intermediare I National Champion

2018 USDF National Developing Grand Prix Champion

Trainer, Peridot Equestrian

Dawn, originally from a small town in Colorado, worked for Steffen and Shannon Peters for over a decade. She began as a working student and groom, but earned her way to great success in the competition arena.

In 2014, White-O’Connor placed 8th at the Festival of Champions in the Small Tour with Carla Hayes’ KWPN gelding Aristo.

At the age of 27, Dawn was given the opportunity to compete on Steffen's 2016 Olympic mount Legolas, owned by Four Winds Farms Akiko Yamazaki. In 2017, she competed Legolas in CDIs in both California and Wellington, Florida with great success. They won second place during the 2017 World Cup of Las Vegas, right behind Steffen Peters. A few months later they won the Grand Prix and the Special in San Juan Capistrano. They were then selected to represent the The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team in Grand Prix in Europe that summer.

It was with Legolas that Dawn was first invited onto the USEF Developing Rider list in 2017. Dawn competed Legolas until he was retired in April of 2018.

In 2018, Dawn competed on Four Winds Farms’ 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Bailarino (Breitling W—Schila, De Niro). The pair won the 2018 USDF National Developing Grand Prix Championship at Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois.  That same year, they were also selected as the demo Grand Prix pair for the Isabell Werth Clinic in Encinitas, CA. In 2019, White-O’Connor and Bailarino were selected for the USEF Developing Rider list.


In 2021, Dawn competed on Four Winds Farms' 2021 KWPN gelding, Hudson M, and the pair swept the competition, winning decisively all three days and clinching the 2021 USEF Intermediare I National Championship at Lamplight Equestrian Center.

Dawn has a large string of up-and-coming horses that she trains and competes on, and she is often at the top of the leader board at any CDI or national show.

To learn more about Dawn, check out her website here: https://www.dawnwhiteoconnor.com/

For information on Dawn's training or sales program, contact Dawn at dawnzemail@me.com




FEI Young Rider

USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist

2021 Team Gold Medal, North American Youth Championships, Traverse City, Michigan

2021 Bronze Medal, Team USA - Future Champions CDIO-Y Hagen, Germany

2021 Bronze Medal, Young Rider Freestyle - Future Champions CDIO-Y Small Final, Hagen, Germany

2021 US Dressage Young Rider European Tour

2020-22 US Dressage/Discovery Dressage Emerging Athlete

2020 US Dressage Young Rider Reserve National Champion

2015 AHA Youth National Champion, Sport Horse Show Hack 18 & U

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.

Kate and Teddy competed in 2019 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 and her approved Hanovarian black stallion, Soliere (Sandro Hit x Donnerhall), compete in Young Riders, and won the 2020 Young Rider Reserve National Championship at Lamplight, Chicago. They are currently ranked 5th in the US and 48th in the World on the FEI Dressage World Youth Ranking-Y. 


In 2019, Soliere and Kate earned a 76% on her Young Rider Freestyle test. They competed at the 2019 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 competed at the 2019 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 was invited onto the prestigious pre-Olympic Discover Dressage USEF/USDF Emerging Athlete Program in 2020. The aim of the Dressage Emerging Athlete Program is to provide strategic guidance and educational opportunities to selected U.S. athletes under the age of 25 with the perceived ability to eventually contribute to the US Elite/Olympic Program and achieve Podium scores within three (3) quadrennials.

Kate and Soliere were selected for the 2021 US Dressage Young Rider European Tour and to Team USA for Future Champions Hagen CDIO-Y. The team won the Bronze medal, which was the first time a US team had reached the podium at a Nations Cup, and Kate and Soliere won a second Bronze in the Young Rider Freestyle in the CDIO-Y Small Final.

Kate trains with Olympian Guenter Seidel in Rancho Santa Fe.





Vice President & Farm Manager

2015 Region 7 AHA Champion, Dressage, Training Level,   Sport Horse Under Saddle, Sport Horse Show Hack

2016 Region 8 AHA Champion, Sport Horse Under Saddle, Sport Horse In Hand

Jessica wears a lot of hats at Peridot: barn mom, farm manager, lawyer, HR director, cheerleader, decorator, event planner, graphic designer and branding fanatic, construction foreman and poop scooper. Some days, she just calls herself a Gladiator who champions this amazing barn family, the horses and our beautiful facility.

Jessica has been passionate about horses since she was 2 years old, and has been riding since her aunt bought her a horse when she was 8 years old and her parents were away on vacation.

She fell in love with Dressage in her 20s, but didn't really get the time to pursue it until her daughter, Kate, decided she loved it too. There are many days that Jessica thanks her lucky stars her daughter didn't prefer a different sport like soccer. It has given Jessica the chance to fully immerse herself into not only her own passion, but her daughter's.

Jessica is also an amateur rider, who dreams of showing at the FEI level and winning a national championship. For now, she is learning to ride her beloved mare, Gianna (nicknamed Shakira for the sway in her hips) and is loving every minute of being on a horse farm every day. It is a childhood dream come true.