A Lifetime of Achievement
Born in Massachusetts and raised in New England, Sandy Collier’s love of horses began at an early age. She competed in her first horse show at the age of 6, then continued to show three-day event horses throughout her school years. After deciding that college was not for her, she traveled across Canada, and in 1972 ended up in Santa Barbara, California. At the age of 19, she found work that suited her at the Tajiguas Ranch where her main responsibilities were feeding, grooming, training, shoeing and all manner of veterinary work on the ranch’s horses. Saddlemaking, braiding rawhide and breaking horses were duties that were added to her ever widening range of tasks.
With the help of Doug Ingersoll, Sandy began to compete in Reined Cow Horse events. In 1979, she moved to Santa Ynez where she worked for trainer Tom Shelly for one year before going out on her own. She managed a full barn while working part-time as an emergency technician for a mobile life support company, and then in a hospital emergency room. In the early 1980’s, she began to make a name for herself in CRCHA (now NRCHA) with wins that included an open bridle championship, a year-end open hackamore championship, a Snaffle Bit Futurity open finals placing and ladies division reserve championship.
In 1993, she won the NRCHA World Championship Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Championship on Miss Rey Dry! To date, she is the first and only female rider to win the world’s toughest cow horse event. In 2001, she was reserve champion there. In 2002, she became an AQHA World Champion on Sheeza Shinette. Sandy is also a AAA Judge, international clinician and recent inductee to The Cowgirl Hall of Fame, and the NRCHA Hall of Fame.
Collier’s analytical approach to training and her consistency in the show pen are esteemed by everyone who knows her. She credits her aptitude for reining from her English-riding background, where Dressage is focused on basics. One of her biggest assets is her constant striving for improvement. She seeks to find what works and can define every aspect of what she does with a horse. While Sandy is totally committed to horse training, she has interests that span beyond horses. She has a zest for learning, considering herself an “overachiever.” She is the kind of person who got a real estate license when wanting to buy a house and learned to fly an airplane when making longer trips spurred her interest in aviation.
Affiliations & Positions Held (current & past)
NRCHA Board of Directors
NRCHA Foundation Board
NRCHA Sale Committee Chairperson
NRCHA Executive Committee
NRCHA ‘AAA’ Judge
AQHA Judge and Professional Horseman’s Association Member
- SYV Therapeutic Riding Program Board
- SYV Therapeutic Riding Program Foundation Board
- SYV Therapeutic Riding Program Executive Committee member
2020 Along For the Ride podcast with Andrea Fapanni and Sandy