Leif Aho is the youngest of 11 siblings, with roots from Finland. He has had a passion for horses and animals since he was a young child, however he didn't start riding lessons til the age of 16 when he got his drivers license and started working at the Andalusian breeding farm, Moonstruck Meadows in Washington state.
In 2007, Leif turned 18 and moved to South Carolina where he joined the family business of building houses as a General Contractor. However his passion for horses was still calling him. Leif continued his training in SC with FEI trainer, Manfred Lewis. 2 years later he decided to shift his career from houses to horses and moved to Wellington, Florida, the dressage capitol of the world. It didn't hurt that his longtime friend and romantic interest, Missy lived in Wellington too.
After moving to Florida in 2008 Leif started training with FEI rider, Stacy Gormley. Stacy gave Leif the opportunity to ride and show the Grand Prix Schoolmaster, Flamenco. Leif had a clear natural ability and feel for dressage and quickly climbed up the levels and soon started to assist Stacy in training and teaching young horses and students.
May 2009 Leif and Missy were married and began their adventure together, combining Missy's passion for horses, who already owned and bred Friesian horses and Leif's passion for training and teaching. Together they operated boarding and training horses at Free Spirit Friesians in Wellington, Florida.
In late 2010 Leif began training with USA Team rider, Heather Blitz. During their first year working together, Leif trained his horse, Taeke V, a Friesian gelding that had the stamina and sensitivity of a hot headed Arabian, from 3rd level with an explosive flying change to the Grand Prix in just over a year. In June 2012 they qualified for the Brentina Cup and placed 9th in the nation.
In 2011 Leif began working with world renown, biomechanics expert, Mary Wanless. Apart from working with Mary when ever she is in the area, Leif has participated in several of her 3 day teacher training intensives to gain more understanding, insight and tools that he has been able to pass onto his students.
In 2012 Paradigm Dressage was born (along with Leif and Missy's first daughter, Ezmae). Since then Leif has trained a variety of breeds from training level to Grand Prix along with students of all levels. He earned his USDF Gold, Silver & Bronze medals on self trained horses. Leif has successfully competed in CDI's and has consistently been in top placings in the majority of his competitions.
Leif is continuing his education in dressage with the goal of earning a place on the USA Dressage Team in the future. He is currently working with US Olympian Allison Brock, as well as US Olympian & USEF Developing coach Charlotte Bredahl, along with FEI 4* & 5* judges
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