2016 Varian Arabians Christmas Group

Varian Arabians Staff Christmas Photo 12/16

From Left to Right

Jaime Hernandez (Varian Arabians Performance Trainer), Jaedyn ( Angela's granddaughter), Major Mac V, Ryah Alvarez ( Angela's daughter, Jaedyn's mom), Dave Jensen, DVM, (our Vet from San Marcos Equine Clinic) Edgar Serrato (grooms & tacks for Jaime), Ismael Perez, Jr ( works in Maint. & the son of Mike Perez), Armando Calderon   (Mantenance Dept), Tony & Angela Alvarez, Shelley Rice & her dog Jake ( Breeding/Foaling Dept.) Miguel Murillo ( Maint. Dept.) Carlos Ruiz ( Foreman of Maint. Dept), David Arteaga ( Maint. Dept.) Kristy Gillot & her dog Jax ( Breeding Manager), Audacious ps & Mike Perez ( Varian Arabians Halter Trainer)  


Sheila Varian

Sheila Varian

1937 - 2016 | The Guiding Light of Varian Arabians

The Varian broodmare line is into its 9th generation, which started with the three Polish mares Sheila imported in 1961. Her stallion line is currently in its 5th generation tracing back to the original Varian stallion, Bay Abi++, who was purchased as a 2 year old in 1959 by Sheila. Starting with a Morgan/Percheron when she was 8 years old, Sheila has build Varian Arabians into the Nationally and Internationally known Arabian horse farm that it is.

Sheila was honored to receive the Arabian Breeders Association Breeder of the Year Award in 2005 at the US Nationals and was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, a rare and much deserved honor, in 2003. Sheila is one of the few people who is knowledgeable in the old time California Vaquero techniques of training a horse and is much sought after to share this knowledge. Sheila enjoys sharing her stories and anecdotes about her 50+ years of breeding during the annual open house events, the Varian Spring Fling and the Summer Jubilee.

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Farm Staff

  • Angela Alvarez
  • Ryah Alvarez
  • Jaime Hernandez
  • "Mike" Ismael Perez
  • Kristy Gillot

Angela Alvarez

 Angela Alvarez
General Manager

In March of 1986, Angela came to Varian Arabians. Her medical background served her well when she started in the breeding department as a mare care technician.

Though the years, Angela has worn many hats out of her dedication to the farm and its mission. She is one responsible for the beautiful History Wall that wraps around the inside of the Clock Barn.

With Sheila passing the torch to her, Angela now resides as General Manager of Varian Arabians, overseeing all staff, breeding and training decisions, events, and more. Angela is wholeheartedly dedicated to continuing Sheila’s vision for The Varian Way, as it touches both horses and people.

Angela has been married to her husband Tony since 1974.

Jaedyn with foal

They have two daughters, Ryah and Leah. Ryah made Angela and Tony proud grandparents on December 4, 2006 with a beautiful girl, Jaedyn, who can be seen helping at the farm on a regular basis… especially during foaling season!



ryah alvarez

Ryah Alvarez
Office Manager

Angela and Tony’s oldest daughter, Ryah was officially added to the Varian Arabians staff roster in 2015. She will likely be the voice the greets you when you call the ranch, and is in charge of records, office management, website and other marketing platforms, events coverage, and more. She shares the same warmth as her mom, and has been a loved figure in the background for many years.

Pictured is Ryah with her daughter Jaedyn. You may recognize Jaedyn as being Kristy and Angela’s shadow at Varian events, evening wearing a “staff” badge. She’s a pretty lucky 9-year-old, living at Varian Arabians and learning the ropes with the best of them.



Jaime Hernadez

Jaime Hernandez
Head Performance Trainer

In December 1991, Jamie came to Varian Arabians, speaking little English; his first job cleaning stalls. He is a true success story.

Working his way up, he is now Varian's Head Performance Trainer. His soft hands and wonderful equitation set him apart in any crowd. From starting to finishing horses in many disciplines, Jamie has earned his reputation as one of the best!


Mike Perez

"Mike" Ismael Perez
Head Halter Trainer

Mike started at Varian's in May 1995, speaking little English and not knowing "The Varian Way" of handling horses. Through hard work and a willingness to learn, Mike is now responsible for all the training of the halter horses. He represents yet another example of Varian's reputation for encouraging its staff to achieve any level of skill they are willing to work for.

Mike's soft and gentle way of respecting the horse makes the Varian line of horses "halter ready" while still retaining their natural sparkle and love for people.


Kristy Gillot

Kristy Gillot
Breeding Manager

Kristy is Angela's right hand AND left hand girl. She has worked at Varian Arabians since she was in high school. She graduated from Cal Poly in Equine Reproduction.



Veterinary Staff

  • Dr. Doug Herthel DVM
  • Dr. Mark Rick, DVM
  • Dr. David Jensen, DVM

Doug Herthel

Dr. Doug Herthel DVM

Owner and founder of Alamo Pintado Equine Clinic in Los Olivos, California. Starting his clinic in 1972, Sheila was one of his first clients, and the relationship continues today. Alamo Pintado is one of the top 10 equine clinics in the nation, having state of the art equine surgery and recovery department as well as a neonatal unit for foals. Dr. Herthel pioneered equine techniques that are now used routinely all over the world.

Dr. Herthel also started Platinum Performance Inc., which manufactures mineral supplements for both equine and humans. We use both here at Varian Arabians. You can find more info on this at: PlatinumPerformance.com.


Dr Mark Rick DVM

Dr. Mark Rick, DVM

A native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Mark obtained his undergraduate degree at Montana State University, continuing on to Washington State University for his veterinary education. Following his doctorate degree, he completed the Surgical Intern/Residency Program at UC in Davis. There he met his wife Kathy and together moved into the valley, where they have resided in the town of Ballard with their two sons Jonathan and Carson.


David Jensen DVM

Dr. David W. Jensen, DVM

Dr. Jensen is an equine practitioner and owner of the San Marcos Equine Practice.  He completed his doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida in 1982.  He then traveled to the San Luis Rey Equine Practice, a surgical and imaging referral practice in southern California.  After completing his internship he moved to the central coast with his family.  Dr. Jensen has been providing mobile veterinary care since 1985 for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Dr. Jensen will be our reproductive veterinarian and all around farm veterinarian.  We welcome Dr. Jensen and his enthusiasm for working with Varian Arabians.


Audacious ps  Major Mac V  The Seeker V  Always A Jullyen V Emphasis DDA