Lisa Francine Avila grew up on Rancho Yerba Buena, a working cattle ranch in San Jose, CA. Alongside her father and grandfather as they worked the ranch, her love and passion for horses was cultivated at an early age. As an immigrant, Lisa's Grandfather spent countless hours sharing stories of breaking and starting young horses in Mexico. Romanticized as his stories may have been, he described having a knack for breaking and riding particularly difficult horses. Wanting to follow in his footsteps, this became an area of horsemanship that Lisa wanted to become educated in as well.
As a young woman she accepted a position working for Charles Wilhelm, a trainer who specialized in young and "problem horses". As an internationally known trainer and clinician, Charles received some of the most difficult horses in the country; horses in his training program often needed rebuilding from the "ground up". The apprenticeship evolved into an assistant trainer position over the span of 5 years, with her education focusing on all aspects of training. Duties included breaking young horses, teaching students mounted and dismounted lessons, and managing business aspects of the barn. This unique atmosphere provided Lisa with unmatched opportunities and an incomparable education.
Eventing and Dressage were disciplines that always interested Lisa and in 2009 she began taking weekly lessons with Alexis Helffrich, a classically trained and international competitor. As Alexis's assistant, she spent 6 years fully immersed in the competitive world of Eventing. The knowledge and experience gained during this time created the framework for Burgeon Sport Horses, the philosophy of not only starting horses properly, but continuing to develop them successfully into competitive Eventing and Dressage horses.
At BSH green riders are progressed with the same patience and care as our young horses! Riders learn to compliment the horse and form a relationship of mutual respect while correctly laying a foundation based on building confidence and taking the time required to form a proper seat and feel. Foundation training + Dressage + confidence and safety is the recipe that sets BSH apart.
In addition to managing BSH, Lisa continues to be an active competitor in both Eventing and Dressage. As of 2022 she is 2 scores away from her USDF Bronze medal in Dressage and has 3 youngsters competing in Eventing.
Diana and her children came to the US fleeing the war that broke out in Ukraine. When customary medical treatment did not work to cure her son of his ailments Diana looked into how horses could help him.