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Our Team

Natalie Pai

At four years old, Natalie’s passion for horses and the sport of dressage was ignited. Not only did she watch her mother’s ranch receive yearly breeding awards, but at that time, her mom formed an ongoing connection with Germany’s international rider, coach and trainer Carla Symader. The connection has proved beneficial to the trio, the US Dressage Team, and so many others throughout the years. One day, four-year-old Natalie and Carla’s twelve-year-old son went for a swim in the creek next to Carla’s home. Melanie still chuckles at the memory, “They came out fully covered in mud. At four years old, Natalie was so happy; dirt and mud seemed to make her happy. She’s always been a bit of a tomboy.”

Now eighteen years old and dividing her home between Virginia during the summertime to where Canaan Ranch has expanded and Wellington, Florida in the wintertime, Natalie affirmed, “Sometimes this sport makes you so emotional because you love and build a great bond with a horse, and also because there’s so much information and coordination both your brain and body needs to process. It’s important to remind myself, ‘Tomorrow is a new day.’” One day, there’ll be less information to process, but there will always be love for the horse, that bond.”

Natalie Pai and her Young Rider horse, Fritz San Tino prepare during the winter in Wellington at Diamante Farm Photo: Betsy LaBelle

Adrienne Lyle

Born and raised in Whidbey Island, Wash., horses have always been a part of Adrienne Lyle’s life. Beginning in the United States Pony Club, and growing up with only occasional group riding lessons, Lyle first had the opportunity to ride with her future coach and Olympian Debbie McDonald as a working student in 2005.

In 2006, Lyle earned the ride on Wizard, the 1999 Oldenburg gelding, owned by Peggy and Parry Thomas. The combination would move to the Grand Prix level together and win numerous prestigious titles, including the 2008 USEF Young Adult Brentina Cup. In 2012, they represented the U.S. at the Olympics in London, and in 2014 competed at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

Lyle had a successful run at the Adequan Global Dressage Festival in 2021, winning the FEI Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special CDI3* at AGDF 1 and the FEI Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special, and Grand Prix Freestyle CDIO3* at AGDF 10 with Harmony’s Duval. With Salvino, she won the FEI Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special CDI4* at AGDF 12. Lyle and Salvino scored personal best scores of 82.413% in the FEI Grand Prix and 81.830% in the FEI Grand Prix Special at the U.S. Dressage Mandatory Observation Event.

In 2018, Lyle was selected to her second WEG team with Salvino, Betsy Juliano’s Hanoverian stallion. That year, Lyle and Salvino competed on all three U.S. Dressage Nations Cup teams, helping the U.S. earn gold at FEI Dressage Nations Cup USA, bronze at FEI Dressage Nations Cup The Netherlands, and silver at FEI Dressage Nations Cup Germany.

King Santacruz— Trainer, Rider, Coach

King Santacruz is an accomplished trainer, rider, coach, and award-winning handler. He has mastered all aspects of bringing up horses from foals to the FEI levels. People highly respect King for his confidence, knowledge, and work ethic. Esteemed dressage trainers, such as George Williams and Bent Jensen, have enlisted his expertise for assistance in riding, breaking, and in-hand work. He has trained with Conrad Schumacher, Hubertus Schmidt, and works daily with Patrick Burssens and Kevin Kohmann.

King is one of the most sought after handlers in the United States. He travels the country throughout the year to prepare and show horses for inspections, breed shows, and the finals at Dressage at Devon. King has worked extensively with mares, foals, and stallions for Hilltop Farm, Maryanna Hayman’s Marydell Farm, and Melanie Pai’s Canaan Ranch. He has been working with Melanie Pai and her world-class Canaan Ranch horses since 1999. King helped Melanie become Breeder of the Year in 2009 and 2010. He earned the Best Handler’s Award at Dressage at Devon in 2009.

King is currently schooling several of Melanie’s horses he started up to the FEI Small Tour. He is a compassionate man that specializes in the backing and training of young horses. This gives them the solid foundation they need to reach the FEI levels with ease. King is an inspiration in his approach to connecting with any horse, which gives his horses and riders the strong confidence necessary to be successful. He has helped many clients achieve their USDF medals and travels to shows with them throughout the year. King’s long term business partnerships in the equestrian community gives him the edge to successfully find and sell horses for his clients. King’s approach of building a bridge of trust with his horses and clients is proven through their successes.

King Santacruz and Natalie Regel run Santacruz Dressage together based out of the beautiful IDA Farm. They offer training and boarding in their brand new 12-stall barn with 10 paddocks, fly system, 3 wash racks with large overhead fans, 4 cross tie areas, 2 air conditioned tack rooms, feed room, and hay room. They offer full and partial care boarding options to meet each client’s needs. King and Natalie take the time to evaluate each horse’s needs to provide the client with the best possible care. They treat each horse as if they were their own and help them to look and feel their very best with their top-notch, professional care. King is available for individual lessons or training rides, as well as lesson and training packages. You can take lessons at IDA Farm or King will travel to your farm.

King Santacruz’s Awards:
· 2009: Best Handler at Devon Dressage
· 2014: Handler for the Grand Champion Horse in Breeders Competition

JD Furr— Ranch Manager

JD FURR is our ranch manager. He grew up in Upperville, Virginia on Llangollen Farm. Growing up on a farm taught him how to care for all different animals. He grew to love specializing in horses, where he spent ____ years managing and being in charge of taking care of top performance race horses.

JD began working for Canaan Ranch at Bolinvar in 2016. His knowledge and experience is invaluable to every animal on this property from managing foals and broodmares, feeding program, medical care, hauling horses, to the cows, pigs, and goats. We are lucky to have someone who believes every single animal deserves top quality care and love.

jfurr190@gmail.com 540 664 8441

Monica Huckabee— Barn Manager

Monica is our barn manager. She grew up in northern Virginia. She has grown up with horses and has been highly involved with 4H and FFA. She makes sure the barn runs smoothly and efficiently and every single horse is properly cared for.

“Dreams are what life is about,” Melanie Pai says. “I have achieved many of my dreams and am working on achieving many more of them.”

Melanie Pai— Owner, President

Melanie has been involved with horses for her entire life. She comes from a family that raises Quarterhorses and grew up riding and competing on those horses. In her adult life she became fascinated with the art of Dressage and changed her focus to that discipline. She still rides as time allows.

Melanie started with raw land and with the help of her husband has built a state of the art training and breeding farm. Her goal at Canaan Ranch is to import and produce International quality dressage horses. She keeps broodmares in Germany, to take advantage of stallions offered there, as well as having a US based broodmare herd at Canaan Ranch. Melanie has put together a group of people highly qualified trainers and managers to see to the day to day operation of Canaan Ranch but is actively involved in selecting which stallions will be used on which mares and which trainer will ride and show which horses.

Melanie Pai and King Garcia winning at Devon. King is responsible for showing the horses in hand at dressage sport breed shows as well as in hunter breeding and presents them for breed inspections. “King has been with us for many years and is a vital part of our young horses development,” Melanie says