Diane started riding in 1969 . Walking 2 miles a day to the house in Hidden Hills where a school friend had horses she rarely rode. Her parents realized she was serious about horses. For her Birthday she got her First pony and lessons with Cory Walkey. Still keeping her pony in Hidden Hills and walking daily rain or shine.
The Grants moved to Hidden Hills there began a life long love affair with Jumping and Dressage. Vaulting with the Hidden Hills vaulting team, she earned her bronze, silver & gold vaulting medals.
The early 70’s brought a change when Cory moved and Nick and Kosty Karazissis moved to the barn. Hunters were the next step, then Equitation and Medals. It didn’t seem to be enough, Diane wanted more. At 16, she drove an hour each way to Glendora to ride with Mike Nielsen; where things made sense and money was not the answer, knowledge and experience were.
After high school, Diane went to design school and worked, but always found time to keep riding. During this time (1979), Lyla Grant bought Achat, a Hanoverian stallion, from Ron Southern at Spruce Meadows. In 1981 Axios was born. The first of Achat’s many successful offspring. Now doing stunt work, Diane had more free time. Mike sent her to Will Simpson, 2008 Olympic Gold Medal winner, to further her knowledge in Jumpers. She also rode dressage, Earning Bronze and Silver U.S.D.F. medals. For the next 25 years, stunts, riding, and family consumed her life; training with: Trip Harting, Laurie Falvo-Doyle, Dennis Calin, Robert Dover, Calman De Jurnak, and Leslie Webb. She also earned more medals and a Dressage judging card.
Diane competed Achat in Grand Prix Dressage, and Eventing and continued with his sons; Dakota in Hunters, Jumpers, Eventing, F.E.I. dressage and Axios, in Open Jumpers, Intermediate 1 Dressage and Advanced Event Derby’s. Diane is currently competing the third generation, Tennyson by Dakota in Jumpers and Archimedes by Axios, with her daughter Krystall and Kinta.
Diane's unique perspectives on focus and “fear” in training Jumpers from a Classical Dressage point of view enables a rider to become forward, fluid and flexible . Bravery is not the absence of fear it is the ability to overcome it. As Diane teaches fear is your friend, when you learn how to work with it, it keeps you safe.
1984 Olympic Poster, Achat is pictured
See Achat's Pedigree here: http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/achat5
Mike Nielsen, Diane & Will Simpson, July 2009