About Lala


Laura “Lala” Benson is one of the most entrepreneurial and highly achieved Icelandic Horse professionals in the history of the US. She is an avid competitor, internationally certified trainer, and renowned equestrian performer. Lala is also a passionate musician and songwriter, which adds a unique approach to her horse training and inspires the format through which she teaches & coaches.

In 2010, Lala became the first American to graduate from Holar University in Iceland, which is the only Equine Science Bachelor’s Degree Program for the breeding, management, instruction and training of the Icelandic Horse. Upon graduation, she received the high point 'Astund Reiðmennska' award for best horsemanship.

Lala has been riding since she can remember, but she was introduced to Icelandics through Knights of Iceland at 13 years old, when she assisted in the team’s performances & day demos. From there, Lala became a full-time intern under Guðmar Pétursson in Kentucky, which quickly laid her career path.

Lala followed Guðmar Pétursson to Iceland where she spent time working under many acclaimed Icelandic Horsemen such as Mette Manseth, Sigurður Sigurðsson and Páll Bjarki Pállson. She returned to the USA with her degree from Holar University and started her business, Valkyrie Icelandic Horses and Equestrian Arts Education Center in Northern California. In her free time, Lala continued to pursue her love for horsemanship by interning with Portuguese Classical Dressage trainer, Carlos Carneiro.

From 2005 to 2011, her enthusiasm for Icelandics grew one of the largest youth riding programs in North America - this was the foundation for many competitive young riders such as Caeli Cavanagh, Ayla Green, Lucy Nold, Madison Prestine and Carrie Lyons Brandt, who are now trainers themselves with great results in National and International Competition. Lala even traveled with and coached student Madison Prestine and her stallion Straumur fra Enni to the World Championships in Berlin 2013.

Since 2013, Lala has been a leader in promotional efforts for the Icelandic Horse:

  • Founded & organized the first three North American Youth Cups
  • Created Resonant Riding with partner Carrie Lyons Brandt of Taktur Icelandics
  • Joined the USIHC Trainers Certification Committee, who published the first trainers certification system for the US
  • Became famous for her bridleless riding demonstrations on her beloved gelding, Stjarni frá Blönduósi.
  • Elected and still standing as Team Leader for the Knights of Iceland, where she is in charge of music, choreography, production & costumes
  • Nominated as FEIF (international) Trainer of the Year in 2019
  • Led the national ranking in V2 (open four gait), T2 and T4 (open loose rein tolt) in 2021
  • Achieved #1 horse & rider combination in the world in T4 (loose rein tolt) in 2022
  • Qualified for the 2023 US World Championships with the highest score on the team

With a passion for the growing Icelandic Horse community, Lala is currently focused on building a network to share her expertise; she spends her time managing her own training business in Duvall, Washington, while she simultaneously competes, trains and teaches with partner Carrie Lyons Brandt of Taktur Icelandics in Kentucky. Carrie and Lala also travel around the States teaching their Resonant Riding training method which they developed together - based off of Classical dressage, Icelandic Horsemanship, Flow psychology and the creative process of jazz improvisation.

For more about Resonant Riding, visit  resonantriding.com