Arizona’s expert horse healers and trainers

Linda Colica

Owner of Tucson Equestrian Center and designer of the AquaStride Equine Hydrotherapy (horse water therapy), Linda is a 10th-generation Texas rancher. She grew up with horses, learning from her grandfather--a lifelong horseman steeped in the Nez Perce tradition--to understand, assess, train and heal them.

Later, she worked under top horse trainers Buster Welch, Merle Mahoney, Ray Hunt, Siegfried and Roy, Colonel Johnny Russell and Lisa Russell. Her life's work has been dedicated to improving horses' well-being and the human/horse relationship. For the last 21 years, she has assessed, cared for, rehabilitated, conditioned and trained horses at the pristine, 50 acre Tucson Equestrian Center, site of the original AquaStride facility and one of the USA’s most trusted and respected horse ranches.

She has treated, conditioned and help rehabilitate many champion horses, including Johnny Ringo, Annie Oakley, Babyflo, Platinum PI, Stella and Big Brown (Monday's Buddy), plus more than 1500 other rodeo, roping, barrel, dressage and ranch horses.

Laura Sisco

Like Linda, head trainer Laura Sisco has spent her life riding and training horses. A long-time star in the hunter/jumper world, she has won dozens of East Coast awards, including trophies at Hits NY, the Hamptons, Old Salem Sussex County Fair and Madison Square Garden.

Today, Laura also conditions and rehabilitates performance horses using the AquaStride system at Tucson Equestrian Center. An expert in behavior modification, she continues training horses (both broken and unbroken) and teaches adults and children Dressage, Jumping, Hunting and Barrel Racing techniques.

Carlos Rivera

Carlos, Tuscon Equestrian Center and AquaStride facilities manager, (deletion) is a lifelong rancher and one of the West’s most devoted, intuitive and “irreplaceable” horsemen, says owner Linda Colica.

A man who once came straight to work from an ER visit (of his own volition) because “it was time to feed the horses,” Carlos is gifted not only with deep empathy, but also an unusual knack for calming horses who are in pain or otherwise stressed. He is exceptionally aware of horses’ movements, stances, sounds and feeding patterns, and is frequently first to sound an alert when a horse needs special attention.

Carlos has trained race and rodeo horses for decades, and still competes on and cares for a 27-year-old roping horse who once belonged to his father.

Phil Ratliff, C/EQD, C/ADHD

Famed equine dentist Phil Ratliff is a long-time trusted partner in caring for AquaStride and Tucson Equestrian Center horses. Like Linda Colica, he has an impressive track record in equine rehabilitation based on a whole-horse approach to health care. Ratliff understands how subtle, lifelong wear patterns affect not only horses' chewing, digestion and nutrition, but also TMJ (temporomandibular joint) alignment, chronic headaches and whole-body balance, among other things. Rather than aggressively smoothing the molars (a popular but often harmful procedure), he works conservatively, starting by precisely adjusting the incisors to allow proper TMJ and jaw movement. Then he carefully adjusts the premolars and molars to maximize the surface-to-surface contact of all teeth. This careful approach aids digestion, re-aligns the jaw, reduces pain and can actually improve nerve function throughout the horse’s body. Learn more about Ratliff's advanced, whole-horse approach to equine dentistry.

Known for profound, consistent results, Ratliff works with top dressage, hunter/jumper, racing, reining, cutting and cow horses to improve their performance, attitude and wellbeing. A graduate of Idaho's Academy of Equine Dentistry and the Advanced Whole Horse Dentistry Learning Center, Ratliff maintains a busy practice in Arizona and the rest of the Southwest, making barn calls, working major events and teaching integrated dentistry to veterinarians, other horse care professionals, owners and breeders.