Thank you Mary Berlauk for doing such a great job riding Cyvannah... Thank you for the wonderful job and for making Cyvannah into my dressage princess. Also thank you for helping me over come my fears! Cyvannah is such a happy girl! Truly a dream come true.
-- Patricia Horne, Fuquay-Varina, NC
I have known Mary for about 5 years now; we met when I first started taking lessons in Tallahassee. She taught me quite a bit on her lovely mare Faith, the few times that I had lessons with her. A few years later, after she established Made to Order Equestrian, I began taking lessons with her again. By this time I had ridden for the Florida State Equestrian Club Dressage Team for two years and was looking for more dressage training. I asked Mary if she would consider me as a student even though she taught primarily jumping; she accepted me graciously and told me that she would learn so that she could in turn, teach me. Upon coming to MTOE, I had a slight fear of cantering; I had been taken for granted by so many “school horses” that I was afraid to just relax and ride. The first time I rode with Mary at MTOE, she put me on her 16.3h Thoroughbred, Zeke….I’m 5’2” on a good day, so you can imagine my thoughts. Zeke was so sweet and forgiving of my uneasiness that we just walked and trotted for next few lessons. When she finally got me to canter, Zeke was the perfect candidate for my fear because he was so big and powerful that I just had to relax and trust him. After a few months of riding with Mary and going to local dressage and jumping shows, I learned to trust whatever horse I got on, but most of all she helped me learn to trust myself. Mary was the first trainer that I had that would get out in the ring and do the movements on the ground that she wanted me to do on horseback, just so I could visualize what she asked. If I didn’t understand something or was unable to communicate with the horse, she would get on it, do the movement, then tell me what she did so that I could continue in that manner. She helped me to develop a better, more relaxed seat so that the desired results between me and the horse could be reached. Whenever I had an off day, she would understand and not be harsh or rude. Every time I would do something incorrectly, she would give constructive criticism, but in an upbeat way so that we would end up laughing about it instead of getting myself and the horse upset. She always has the utmost respect for the horses and her clients, always putting them before herself. Mary is a true talent and a wonderful person to get to know. Her knowledge of equines is very extensive and her passion is what makes her a fabulous horse person. Without her help, kindness and knowledge, I would not have acquired my wonderful horse. Now, after just the short time that I was able to ride with Mary, I have been able to successfully ride horses of all attitudes and have been miraculously calm and collected. Mary’s guidance has made me be a stronger rider, something I strive to make better every day. Her knowledge of horsemanship has aided me in my quest to train my young horse. You won’t regret riding at MTOE with Mary and her wonderful horses…it just might change your life!
-Sarah Napier, Tallahassee, FL
After hearing of Mary's experience with training wild Mustangs I selected her to train a young Mustang mare I recently adopted. We didn't know much about my horse's history, so we began with the basics to make sure there were no gaps in her training. I found Mary to be a kind, compassionate, and patient trainer. She is attentive to the needs of both the horse and rider. It was Mary's keen eye that first alerted me that my horse might have a health problem. At her suggestion we had the vet examine her. She was diagnosed with EPM soon thereafter. Mary stood by us through my mare's long treatment. We had to stop riding for a while, but we continued our ground work. I was quite frightened of my horse in the beginning, but Mary helped me overcome my fears and develop a strong bond with my horse. I learned to better understand my horses body language and how my own body language is interpreted by my horse. Trailer loading is no longer something to be dreaded, by me or my horse.
I highly recommend Mary to anyone learning to ride for the first time, or like me, getting back in the saddle after many years. Mary is also an excellent choice if you are looking for someone to start a young horse. She truly cares about the horse's well being and spirit.
-- Christa Bingel, Crawfordville, FL
In the spring of 2011 I decided that I wanted to get back into horseback riding. My previous experience was very little, just some trail riding. I wasn’t considering this endeavor anything serious, just a few lessons and maybe a trail ride. A Google search led me to Mary Berlauk and Made to Order Equestrian. A quick read through the website and her credentials let me know that I had found the right person to get me back in the saddle. After my first lesson, my original plan was completely changed, I was hooked on Mary and my couple of lessons quickly turned into months of riding.
When I first started taking lessons from Mary I wanted to begin with Western discipline since that is what I was most comfortable with. That was no problem for her even though most of her background is in English riding. Mary showed great patients with me, considering that we started at the very basics working on my horsemanship and other simple tasks. These little things helped to build my confidence when it came to the horse world. When it came time to get to the more challenging aspects of riding, Mary’s lessons were always fun, challenging, and they never failed to be a great workout. I gained self confidence that I had never found in my many other activities. My lessons quickly became the highlight of my week. Mary’s lessons not only included direction and guidance, but a wealth of knowledge and understanding that I do not think I would have received from any other instructor. She was also able to help me to make a seamless transition from Western riding to English, where my riding abilities were able to grow even further than my expectations.
In the months that I was able to work with Mary I had experiences that I never anticipated. My lessons gradually increased in difficultly, although I never felt pressured to perform tasks that I was not prepared for. With Mary’s guidance I felt prepared for each new task that she presented me with. My experiences with Mary at Made to Order Equestrian thoroughly exceeded my expectations. No matter what your experience level, I would recommend Mary for her versatility and creativity. She makes for lessons that are a unique and exciting experience.
-- Rhyan Banas, Tampa, FL
My experience with Mary started when I was about 11 years old. Mary was training a mustang mare that was to compete in the Gatorland Extreme Mustang Makeover. I started taking lessons on this mare and became a regular student of Mary’s. After the Mustang Makeover, Mary moved to a new location and I started taking lessons on her horses. This gave me a chance to ride horses that are very diverse and Mary taught me how to handle riding horses with different traits.
I then began looking for a horse of my own. Mary helped a great deal with searching for the right horse for me. She accompanied me whenever I went to try out a new horse and gave her unbiased opinion on whether or not the horse should be considered for purchase. After a couple months of searching, we finally found a good horse located in St. Augustine named Max, a 10 year old Hanoverian/TB cross. We decided to do a 30-day trial with him. In this period of time, Mary taught me how to ride him and also rode him herself to continue his training. After a bit of consideration, my family decided to buy him for me.
A few months after he was purchased, Max contracted strangles. Strangles is similar to the human cold. Max’s symptoms were a runny nose, abscesses and a high fever. Just as soon as this infection started to get better, Max had a dangerous immune response known as Purpura Hemorrhagica. On December 26th, 2010, Mary called my mother and informed us of this. We came home from Alabama to find a horse that could barely stand with immensely swollen legs. Due to the swelling, Max lost blood flow to his legs and eventually a large amount of the skin on his lower legs died and fell off. Every day, Mary and I would go out to the farm and take care of Max. This was no walk in the park; every day was spent with 2-4 hours of cold hosing his legs, treating his wounds, hand walking and wrapping his legs. Mary was extremely devoted to taking care of Max and dedicated a large amount of her time to helping him heal even when I was in school and couldn’t help. When Max was finally better, Mary continued giving me lessons and helped Max and I mold into an effective team.
Being a student of Mary’s at Made to Order Equestrian has been a great experience, and I believe it has made a great impact on how my horse and I work as a team. The four years I have spent with Mary has been a time of learning and forming a great friendship. I owe a lot to Mary including my horse’s life, my riding skills, and a great amount of knowledge. I highly recommend Mary to anyone wishing to go further in their journey with horses. No matter what your goals are, Mary can help you achieve them.
-- Lauren Thompson (age 15) Tallahassee, FL
Mary loves her work and her horses show it. All of her horses that I've seen her work with are always happy horses. She is a true horse lady and professional. She runs a very tight ship, manages her business with precision and will never cancel or show up late for an appointment. She is a person you can count on, and she will never let you down or leave you disappointed. Whether its jumping fences, dressage, or training, she will impress. Not only is she a professional rider and trainer but she can do it all. She loves to immerse herself in horse health and is experienced and adept at rehabbing the injured horse. If you take a lesson from Mary you will not be disappointed. She knows how to push you just enough past your comfort zone so that you make progress but still keeps it fun and low stress. Taking lessons from Mary was very helpful because she explained things in a way other trainers never had. Lessons with Mary are always fun and exciting. She is not like some other instructors I have had who will scream at you or at the horses. She loves her horses and the horses know that. They perform better I believe because of it, and that makes it more fun! She will have your unruly horse happy and obedient in minutes. Some people can do it, and she is just one of those people. Regardless of what your horse related needs are, I would highly recommend Mary Berlauk and Made To Order Equestrian.
-- Evan Pelham, Tallahassee, FL
I have known Mary all of her life; I am her older sister. She has always had an affinity for animals and a true love of riding and caring for horses. She is a consummate professional on all levels of her work and her interaction with clients. Mary was aware of her calling at a young age and has sought to increase her knowledge of horses in all areas including training, medical issues, feed and tack. When my daughter was only six Mary was able to calm her and put her on a horse and lead her around the ring. She can put children at ease and assess the level of comfort and trust for both horse and rider. When a person loves their job it shows and that is certainly true of Mary.
--Krista Merchant, Pearland, TX