Tena began her riding career in high school on a horse that she bought with money earned from milking cows on the family’s dairy farm. After high school, Tena graduated from Michigan State University’s Horse Management program, and from there began a career as a riding instructor and trainer at a local training farm. In 1998, her family opened their facility on a portion of their dairy farm, and Tena began training horses and riders at Centennial Acres Equestrian Center.
In 2002, Tena qualified for 4th Level Championships, but was unable to compete due to the untimely death of her mount, Dr. Doolittle, a month before the competition. After losing Dr. Doolittle she imported a beautiful Hanoverian mare named Weltliebchen from Germany who she showed and qualified to third level before selling her to a student. In 2009, she ventured into young horses, purchasing a 3 year old gelding out of Royal Prince, named Royal Heir. In 2013, she and Royal Heir were USDF Region 2 Reserve Champions at First Level. And in 2014, Tena competed with Royal Heir at 2nd Level and ended the year as Reserve National Champion at the USDF Finals in Kentucky. Royal Heir was recently sold to a young rider student and Tena has a new project, a 4 year old she recently imported from the Netherlands.
Tena has trained and ridden in clinics under riders such as Catherine Haddad Staller, Vincent Carovillano, Albert Gesierich, Alexa Schulten-Baumer, Patrick Tigchelaar, and Dr. Rob VanWessum. Early in her career, Tena spent time in Germany working under Catherine Haddad Staller and more recently spent two weeks training with her at the USET headquarters in New Jersey.
Riders under Tena’s instruction have competed thru fourth level at both USDF and ADA shows. Some students have goals of making it to regional and national competition, and others have goals of increasing their knowledge of dressage and working on their relationship with their horse at home. Tena strives each year to coach each of her CAEC students to do their best at their level of riding. She regularly attends clinics and symposiums and takes other educational opportunities to advance her own education.