Owner, Head Trainer and Instructor
From the age of five, Beka has made a lifelong commitment to horses. She spent her adolescent and teen years riding and competing in Northern California under the guidance and mentorship of trainer, Lisa Peek. From the pony ring, she moved on to horses and excelled in the Children’s and Junior divisions. While training with Lisa, Beka had the opportunity to work with several other renowned trainers including Carrie Atkinson, Laura Gerst, and John Bragg. After graduating from college in Oregon, Beka spent four years as an assistant trainer at two prominent show barns. In 2006 she was ready to go out on her own and she planned, designed and opened Swan Training.
Swan Training, under Beka’s leadership, focuses on an individualized training program for each horse, developing the ideal combination of horsemen and sportsmen, and on building a community of riders. Beka relishes working with students at all ages and levels. She has taken her students from Walk/Trot through Junior Hunters, Equitation, and Jumpers where they have had great successes including Year End Championships, top placings in Medals Finals, and winning the USHJA Adult Jumper Championship. Beka has had senior students recruited by college equestrian teams. Beka continues her own equestrian education with world class riders and coaches Rich Fellers, Jeff Cook, and George Morris.
Beka is steadfast in her commitment to horses, to her students, and to equine sports. She is committed to horsemanship and sportsmanship. She is committed to building a community of riders and horse enthusiasts, bringing them together to support one another and to provide a venue for giving back to the horses and sport they love. Beka is a member of a number of local and national equine organizations including United States Equestrian Foundation (USEF), United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA), Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA), and the Oregon Hunter Jumper Association (OHJA). She has served on the board of OHJA and is entering her third year as the president of that organization.
Trainers / Instructors
Mary Beth Gray
After spending two years riding on the South Dakota State University Equestrian Team and another year and a half as an assistant trainer in Arizona, Mary Beth is excited to be back home in Oregon. She grew up in Hood River where she started riding at the very early age of 5, showing her mother’s AHSA number two ranked quarter horse. From that early beginning she was hooked and so began her lifelong passion for and career with horses.
During her years with horses, Mary Beth has taken every advantage of a variety of riding and training opportunities. Her horse adventures include riding her mom’s cow horse on a fox hunt, competing with a barrel horse in the 3’-3’3” jumpers and the AO hunter ring, and starting her own green broke off-the-track Thoroughbred. She raced jeeps while riding on the beach and took her young Thoroughbred on trail rides in the hills near her Mt. Hood home. Mary Beth was an active Pony Clubber for twelve years. Her time on the SDSU Equestrian Team greatly enhanced her riding and training skills including learning how to watch a warmup and translate what she saw into her own ride when she didn’t have time to do her own warmup. As an assistant trainer in Arizona she was able to successfully show many quality horses further improving her own skills as well as improving the skills of the horses she showed.
Mary Beth is a valued and skilled member of the Swan Training team. She daily demonstrates her commitment to the Swan Training philosophy of bringing together horsemanship and sportsmanship.
Tracey Whelan’s exceptional experiences and skills and her gift for working with people and horses have in just a few short months made her an esteemed and prized colleague. In her own words, meet Tracey Whelan, the newest and most welcomed addition to the Swan Training trainer/instructor staff.
Starting at a young age, I have always enjoyed the company of horses. I spent my junior riding career as a working student in Southern California. Working with trainers such as Mark Watring, Susie Hutchinson, Karen Healy and Heidi Misrahy gave me great insight into the complexities of training, instruction, and management of a competitive show barn. I have worked as a trainer and barn manager for over 20 years, with experience in all aspects of training, instruction, horse show preparation, barn and employee management. Over the years I have been fortunate to help riders starting in short stirrup to competing in A/O jumpers. I have concentrated on hunters and equitation, specializing in preparation for local and national medals, including medal finals. I enjoy working with all skill levels of students, encouraging new riders to understand all aspects of horse care from the ground up. I have developed a style of instruction that promotes safety and confidence, giving riders and competitors an enjoyable space to develop their skills. My memberships to local and national organizations such as USHA, USHJA and OHJA keep me current on all rules, guidelines and dates of horse shows.
Jose "Pepe" Camarena
Pepe Camarena is an amazing example of Swan Training’s caring and experienced staff. He began his grooming career in southern California in 1992, at Langtree owned by Diana Langer and later moved to Randy Durand’s New Haven Farm. He also worked as a private groom for several years with Tracy Takayama. While at New Haven Farm, Pepe traveled to local and national level competitions where he honed his skills and prepared many winners for the show ring. Because Pepe is a people person as well as a gifted horseman, he found a great deal of satisfaction both in the work and with the people he met.
Swan Training was so fortunate that in 2014, Pepe began a new adventure when he and his family including his wife Miriam and their four sons, moved to Oregon specifically to be a part of the Swan Training team. It is hard to describe everything that Pepe has added to Swan Training; excellence in horse care, team building and camaraderie, mastery of show setups, and his own incredibly unique talent at pond and fountain building. Stop by Swan Training at a horse show and treat yourself to a view the amazing water feature Pepe will have built, visually beautiful as well as a great place to cool your feet after a long hot day of horse showing. While his landscaping skills are fantastic, they are eclipsed by his horse care and grooming skills. Those skills were recognized when, against some very experienced people, he won the Grooms Contest at Triple Rise Horse Shows in Wilsonville in 2016.
It is extremely rare to see Pepe without a smile on his face. Perhaps because as he says:
“I truly enjoy my job because I love working with and being with horses, and if you love what you do then it no longer feels like a job, it feels like a hobby”.
Swan Training is so lucky that Pepe chose us.