All About Our Lesson Program

Our Lesson program at Northern Maine Riding Adventures is very different from most "typical" riding schools.

"We believe that in order to be with horses safely and in partnership, people must learn about the horses way of being in the world.

Only then by truely understanding the nature of the horse, can we develop a relationship based on mutual trust, respect, and partnership.

The first step in the JOURNEY INTO THE HORSES WORLD begins with an introduction to the herd or horse family".

"Quote: Piet Nibbelink - Arnham, Netherlands"


  • Catching
  • Haltering
  • Leading
  • Grooming
  • Saddling
  • Bridling
  • Riding

  • Lessons range from group interactions to private sessions. We offer weeklong programs for ages 5 - 10 years, teens and adults.

    We specialize in CENTERED RIDING® TECHNIQUES for all disciplines.


  • Ground Work
  • Dressage
  • Jumping
  • Trail Riding
  • Showing
  • Pleasure Riding
  • Western
  • International Riding Lessons:

    At Northern Maine Riding Adventures there are various clinics scheduled throughout the year, given by Judith Cross-Strehlke Level IV Advanced Centered Riding® Clinician and other international clinicians who are experts in their fields, like "The Deepening", by Piet Nibbelink and "Classical Dressage", by Sara Jane Clarke.

    For up to date information about clinics and events this year, please take a look at:

    Koskenkorva, Finland and Arnhem, Holland

    For More Information Please Click Below:

    Judys' Interactive Book

    Various international photos of Judy teaching.  To view photos:    click here

    Biography of Judy

    Judy Cross has been teaching riding for over thirty years. Her early training was in Western and trail riding. She was introduced to Dressage and Combined Training thru Pony Club in Maine as a teenager. During college in Equine Science, she started competing in Combined Training Events. As a young professional rider and instructor, she was coached by members of the US Olympic Three Day Team. She continued to compete herself and coach young riders for over 25 years.

    In 1979 after riding and teaching professionally, Judy returned to Maine for surgery to correct congenital bone defects in her feet. As she was returning to riding, she had the opportunity to take a clinic with well known author and instructor Sally Swift. This was a life changing experience for Judy and she began to pursue the Centered Riding path by studying extensively with Sally. She became an Advanced level IV instructor in 1999, one of only 17 in the US and Europe. Judy's own struggle with chronic back pain and incorrect habitual posture gives her a unique perspective in helping others over come physical challenges that prevent them from achieving their riding goals.

    This path led her to Therapeutic Riding. In 1980 she started one of the first Therapeutic Riding Programs in Maine after attending the Cheff Center. She became a NARHA member in 1984 and is currently the co-chair for the State of Maine. She is an EFMHA member and offers Adventure Based Learning programs out of her facility in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. She and her husband Bob Strehlke run an active boarding stable, offer wilderness trail rides, and teach children with learning disabilities and mental health challenges. Judy's special interest is on children on the autism spectrum.

    The personal growth workshops for women at Northern Maine Riding Adventures incorporates a synergistic new form that blends riding with reflective round pen work assisted by a therapist. This unique combination releases the power of the Mind/Body connection to access emotional and physical issues using much of the Epona methods. She incorporates Brain Gym and Centered Riding body work in all her lessons.

    Judy's studies on the bio mechanics of riding and habitual holding patterns in the body include Ti Chi, Alexander Techniques, Neuro pathway work through Feldenkris and TEAM, Centered Riding and Brain Gym. She is an advanced NARHA instructor and an Advanced Level IV Centered Riding Clinician. She currently teaches Centered Riding to instructors throughout the US and Europe and Integrated Riding Techniques the physio- therapists all over Europe and The US.

    Centered Riding®

    Centered Riding® is a method of riding that can improve the balance and Relaxation of every rider regardless of what discipline they ride. This method has been taught to western, to saddle seat, for dressage and combined training, for hunters, and for the disabled and for jumping.

    Judith Cross-Strehlke has been teaching and following the discipline of "Centered Riding® Since 1980 when Sally Swift first started teaching in Maine. Judy has had the good fortune to have been trained by Sally Swift extensively over the last 20 years and is currently certified as a Level IV Instructor and clinician.

    For more information about Centered Riding®, click here .

    Integrated Riding™

    Integrated Riding™ is a unique blend of Movement Based Learning activities used to increase the neruo sensory reactions in the Brain to facilitate whatever learning activity is taking place. This innovative use of Brain Gym, Centered Riding, and Balimo activities, based on the work of Eckhart Meyners, includes exercises on the ground and on the horse. This combination enhances whole brain activity to combine kinetic learning, necessary for improved riding skills, with cognitive learning, necessary for technical skills.

    Habitual posturing and movement creates one set of overdeveloped nerve pathways. This interferes with the body's ability to learn a new movement because of the impact habituation has on the brain's ability to send information to the muscles through the different nerve pathways.

    By using a combination of specific types of exercises in a riding lesson, the emotional centers in the brain are blended with the body to access the whole Brain This allows a blend of improved physical and cognitive learning. Emotional stress whether through trauma or abuse, creates a blockage in the body's ability to balance physically. Hands on contact, combined with relaxation techniques, helps the body release these holding patterns which in turn opens up the body's ability to learn.

    Actively moving the body in a new way retrains the nervous system to improve balance and movement.Certain exercises and types of touch help to stimulate areas of the brain responsible for our survival responses and our emotional reactions to situations. When we move a certain way, we enhance our ability to balance what our body feels with what our senses tell us. When we blend riding and handling horses with certain exercises, we provide physical stimulation that increases Neruo pathway development.

    These easy to do exercises enhance the ability to learn to process information and respond to the world around us in a positive and effective way.A 6 point program taken from the Balimo System helps to develop the neural connections in the brain which are essential for riding. The exercises are appropriate for all ages and levels of learning.Targeting 6 specific areas of the body through certain exercises help reduce stress and retrain the brain for greater integration of balance and movement. Riders of all abilities are able to reduce stiffness, develop greater balance, and increase tone and flexibility.

    For more information about Integrated Riding™, click here .

    Journey into the horse's world

    The Journey is a unique co-operation between three international instructors, each experts in their own fields.

    It is a three year training program, which covers the essential elements that come together with working with horses.

    Piet Nibbelink will guide you through the first part of the program, where you will learn about communication between horse and human.

    Judy Cross-Strehlke (USA) is a level IV Centered Riding instructor and will guide you through part two, which is about body awareness and effective movement in riding.

    The third and last part will be guided by Sarah Jane Clarke, a classical dressage specialist trained by the riding school in Jerez. She will teach you about training horses.

    For more information about the journey, click here .