Frank Vela started his relationship with horses in California at a very young age. Lucky to be born into a horse loving family – his father is a natural horsemanship trainer and his mother, a writer both for Hollywood and natural horsemanship publications with a love of riding jumpers. Frank started in the hunter-jumper world and by his early teens showed an ability to work with abused and misunderstood horses, earning trust and finding success with them in the jumping arena. The showing aspect of the horse world soon was eclipsed by his interest in developing his horsemanship and finding ways to connect with damaged horses as well as advance his creative skills with some very talented animals.
This journey led him through Parelli Natural Horsemanship to a focus on Classical Dressage, Colt Starting, Breeding and finally the resonant note that is essential to working with any equine: health.
Frank expanded his knowledge of biomechanics, which started in dressage, to include hoof balancing and trimming, working with a nutritionist and expanding into treatment of horses with endocrine disorders. While residing in Pennsylvania and working with 15 horses he was very disappointed by damage done to several horses by the most highly recommended equine dentist in the area. The damage was severe: weight loss and partial liver failure ensued within days. Having witnessed and attended lectures in Colorado at the Parelli Study Center, Frank enrolled in dentistry classes and began to add this piece to the whole horse health equation. In the last 5 years, Frank has developed a clientele that ranges up the east coast from Pennsylvania to his new home in Maine. His reputation is that of being patient, accurate, thorough and gentle, while developing a relationship with the horse and creating a positive dental experience that leaves the horse relaxed and easier to work with year after year.
Frank lives in Steuben, Maine, on a 180-year-old farm near the ocean with his life partner Maddrey Coover, her son Maxim and their newest addition to the family, Oran Russell. They are building a sustainable farm, raising chicken, pork, goats and sheep as well as fruits, vegetables and mushrooms in a traditional organic manner. Their farm, Dovetail Family Farm is home to their 12 horses ranging from beloved pony Ringo to their yearlings, a pair of Haflingers for driving and many treasured partners in between.
Frank’s mother, Norma Vela has recently joined the farm from Southern California. Norma and Maddrey will be blogging about the farm and day-to-day Maine living, if you are interested please visit here. Frank is available for dentistry year round in Maine and makes several trips through New England to Pennsylvania every year. Contact him here.