Welcome to Privateer Riding Academy

Private riding instruction and equestrian coaching for the passionate and dedicated horse enthusiast


Whether you are brand new to the world of horses or a long-time enthusiast looking to expand your skills and increase your understanding of these amazing animals, Privateer Riding Academy wants to help.


You will learn safe and solid fundamentals based on the centuries old principles of Dressage, a system of training designed to bring about effortless harmony between horse and human. Brand new riders are taught the basics of horse handling and care, so you can feel confident that you are getting a complete and comprehensive equestrian education.


We have a graduating system of levels that will eliminate any confusion about where you are in your riding career and where you are going. You and your instructor will always know where you stand and what's next.


For the serious, goal-oriented student of horsemanship we offer equestrian coaching services. These sessions are highly-individualized and targeted to help you maximize every moment in the saddle. We will go in-depth into such topics as horse and rider biomechanics, fitness, motivation, and sports psychology as it applies to riders, and equine behavior.

Coaching is the perfect fit for the ambitious rider with a high level of dedication. You will be given information to study and exercises to perform between sessions. This is a format where you will most definitely get out what you put in.

Let us help make your riding dreams come true!



Dependable and well-trained horses are automatically provided for students to take their riding lessons on, but it is very likely that you will soon find yourself wanting to own your own horse. We understand that this is a big commitment and not a decision to be taken lightly. Your instructor will be there to hold your hand and take all the scary out throughout the entire process.

You have the option of a partial or full lease of one of Privateer's horses at beautiful Never Ending Farm in Ypsilanti MI. This is a great way to try out horse ownership before taking the plunge. We also have horses for sale upon occasion. If we don't have the horse you need, we will help you to find the right match!



What is dressage?

Dressage is a discipline, begun in ancient Greece and perfected during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, where you start by learning to communicate with your horse so perfectly that your signals to each other are invisible to anyone watching you. Then you take those signals and create choreographies together. There are more movements to learn than in any other riding discipline and a nearly infinite number of ways to combine them. True mastery of the art of dressage is a life-long pursuit.  My mission is to help riders begin this amazing journey!

~ Cara Barker Yellott


We believe that horses can bring out the best in people. Through horses, we learn patience, responsibility, compassion. Through riding, we become strong, break barriers, learn that we are capable of more than we thought possible.


We learn to relax, unplug, get away from the busy modern world. We have fun. We make friends. What started as a hobby, becomes a lifestyle.


At Privateer Riding Academy, we want you to experience all this and more in a safe, supportive environment where rider safety and horse welfare rank above all other priorities.


We show in the Great Lakes area and view Dressage competition as a gloriously fun way to test our skills, refine education, showcase what we have learned and experience the incomparable feeling of a victory well earned. At the end of the day though, it always is and always will be about love for the horse.

Alex Henne began her equestrian career at the age of 1 1/2 on the mechanical “penny pony” inside her local Meijer. At age 5, she finally convinced her parents it was time to try riding a real horse, and proceeded to spend the next 22 years falling in love with every aspect of riding and loving horses.


She has been fortunate enough to work with and learn from many different breeds of horses, but is especially passionate about the rehabilitation of retired Thoroughbred racehorses.


A life-long Hunter/Jumper rider, Alex decided to expand her horizons with Dressage training and has excelled in that sport from the first moment.  She has shown Hunters, Jumpers, and Dressage. Her dressage career began with winning a Reserve Championship in her first recognized United States Dressage Federation show! She went on to with the series Championship from there and hasn't slowed down since!


Alex has worked within the Therapeutic Riding world as well as the competitive one and firmly believes that the greatest part of working with horses is the bond of trust, compassion, and understanding that develops between horse and rider.




Passionate about horses from a young age, Cara has now been riding and teaching for more than two decades! She has handled horses for movies, Renaissance faires with crowds of 25,000 people, and onstage in a live opera.  She has been interviewed on numerous television shows, in major papers, and even appeared on 20/20!

She believes strongly in lifelong education and frequently attends clinics with top trainers and Olympians in the sport of dressage. She has many competitive successes under her belt, including training and showing a United States Equestrian Federation Horse of the Year winner!

Cara's greatest passion in the horse world is teaching and it's  the testimonials of her students that really tell the story.


Always an animal lover, Phil became heavily involved in equines after meeting Cara and helping in the rescue of Fiona, the couple's Shetland Pony.

While Cara runs the horse side of the business, Phil is in charge of the two very famous donkeys that call Privateer Riding Academy home. The Yellotts' own Romulus, the current Guinness World Record holder for the world's tallest donkey and his nearly identical brother, Remus. No joke, we have the world's biggest... ahem, nevermind.