Laura "Lala" Benson has been riding since she can remember. At the age of 13 she saw the Knights of Iceland show for the first time and was instantly hooked, leading her to become a professional rider and trainer of Icelandic horses, devoting her life to the training, education and promotion of the Icelandic horse in North America. She’s the first American to graduate from Hólar University in Iceland, the oldest and most prestigious college for Icelandic horsemen, taught only in Icelandic. Lala graduated with the high point 'Ástund Reiðmennska' award for best horsemanship and is one of only a few C-level FT (International Icelandic Horse Trainers Association) certified Icelandic Trainers in the United States.
Lala is famous for her bridleless riding performances on her gelding Stjarni frá Blönduósi. She is an avid competitor and has worked with many acclaimed Icelandic Horsemen such as Guðmar Pétursson, Mette Mannseth, Eyjólfur ísolfsson, Antón Páll Nielson, Sígurður Sígurðarsson and Halldór Guðjónsson to name a few.
Lala also studies Portuguese classical dressage with world renowned Portuguese trainer, Carlos Carneiro and loves to work with and learn from the Lusitano horses. In 2005 she independently founded the Valkyrie Icelandic training program and riding school in the Northern California Bay Area. She has trained many up and coming riders such as Caeli Cavanagh, Ayla Green, Lucy Nold, Madison Prestine and Carrie Lyons Brandt who are now young trainers themselves with great results in National and International Competition.
Lala is based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but travels around the US and Europe teaching clinics and is a partner and performer in The Knights of Iceland Show team.