Ambassadors

Carli McGinley

 

When and where did you begin your Riding Career? I was four years old and I started riding at Stoneplace Stables with Angela Ariatti. I had a 13.2 pony that ran Angela over, reared up over water jumps, and was basically very naughty. I still have this pony, Rocket, and competed with her up through training level.

 

What was your first professional training/teaching job in the horse industry? I was a working student for Steven Bradley in 2013 in Virginia. Before that I galloped racehorses at Skylight Training Center for Ian Wilkes in 2012.

 

Do you have a career highlight? I won the National Junior Rider Championship CC1* in 2012 on a horse I had gotten as a yearling and trained up to that level.

 

Do you have a favorite horse? Two…one is Kaiser, the one that I won the Junior Rider Championship with. He is just a sweet horse. I raised him so I am just emotionally attached. The best quality horse I have worked with would be Crunchy at Stephen Bradley’s. He was imported from Germany and pretty tough to ride but a very talented eventer.

 

Who do you look up to the most in the horse industry? Andrea Kroll is my mentor and trainer. She has reached out to me the most over the years and has offered me the most guidance and help. She cares about me beyond the riding lesson.

 

What are your professional goals for the future? I would love to compete at Rolex one day. Also, simply to be able to continue having my passion be my career and how I am able to support myself. I hope to have my own barn one day and teach and train in eventing and dressage.

 

Any advice for those just starting out as professional trainers/instructors? Hard work and time management eventually pay off!

 


 

Courtney Lau

 

When and where did you begin your Riding Career? Basically from birth…my grandparents bred and trained Tennessee Walking horses and pretty much put me on a horse as soon as physically possible.

 

What was your first professional training/teaching job in the horse industry? I taught weekends at Alta Vista since 2005. In 2011 I started teaching full time at Flying Cross.

 

Do you have a career highlight? Right now the horse I am competing with, Ash Wednesday, (we call her Lizzy), is the best horse I have ever had. We have a partnership that is amazing and it has been fulfilling to be bringing her along in her training.

 

Do you have a favorite horse? Lizzy would definitely be my favorite. Her heart, our bond, her athletic ability, and her kindness all make her an unforgettable mare.

 

Who do you look up to the most in the horse industry? Two people…first, Susan Harris. She has been very helpful to me in growing as a dressage trainer and she is a great mentor in helping me be a better instructor. Second would be Martha Lambert. We have similar taste in horses and are on the same page with evaluating a horse as far as what a good horse for eventing should like. She has also been an incredible mentor in helping me become a better trainer.

 

What are your professional goals for the future? Attaining my gold medal in dressage and taking Lizzy as high as she can go in the eventing world.

 

Any advice for those just starting out as professional trainers/instructors? Get a degree and be able to support yourself outside of the horse industry. Get a foundation in business, not just a foundation in being a good horseman.

 


 

Laura Burkett

 

When and where did you begin your Riding Career? I was a toddler when I was first put on a horse. I started officially taking lessons when I was seven years old with my mom in Virginia. We started out in hunter/jumpers and eventing. In high school, I switched to focusing on dressage.

 

What was your first professional training/teaching job in the horse industry? In high school I would catch ride for money. Through college, I rode for a breeder and then took a working student position with Chrissa Hoffmann in Kentucky.

 

Do you have a career highlight? Going to the US Finals at Grand Prix would definitely be a major highlight. I did freestyle in 2015 and then did the regular grand prix in 2016.

 

Do you have a favorite horse? My horse Flame is just a special horse. I am still competing with Flame and have showed through third level last year, and will be working to fourth level next year.

 

Who do you look up to the most in the horse industry? JJ Tate is an amazing teacher and rider from South Carolina. I have been working with her for two or three years now.

 

What are your professional goals for the future? To get Flame showing FEI levels and then another horse, Daniel, after that. Daniel should be up to FEI at seven or eight years old. I also have goals with my students with getting their medals in dressage and doing the Young Riders.

 

Any advice for those just starting out as professional trainers/instructors? Ride any horse that you can. Be willing to work hard and there are opportunities there for you. You don’t need a lot of money to be successful. I didn’t have a horse growing up, but as a result I got to ride lots of different horses.

 


 

Nikki Peterson

 

When and where did you begin your Riding Career? I was five years old and I took lessons with my Mom in Dekalb, Illinois. We rode hunter/jumpers and I was a graduate C3 in Pony Club.

 

What was your first professional training/teaching job in the horse industry? I was a working student for Mary Lowry at Flying cross during the summers while I was in high school. I would clean stalls, teach, and do chores.

 

Do you have a career highlight? Every time one of my students comes out of the ring with a big smile on their face is an accomplishment in my eyes.

 

Do you have a favorite horse? Toby…my lifetime horse! He was a Valentines Day present to me when I was 15. He has been a preliminary eventing horse, 2nd level dressage, and has done jumpers. He is now 31 years old and looks great!

 

Who do you look up to the most in the horse industry? Kelly Watson at Crosswinds Farm in Illinois. As a young professional, she was always there to guide me and is a great trainer. Also, Lydia Ratay who is a farm owner also in Illinois. She has taught me how to communicate and relate to my customers.

 

What are your professional goals for the future? To be a well known instructor and trainer in the hunter jumper world.

 

Any advice for those just starting out as professional trainers/instructors? Do what you say you are going to do and do it with integrity.

 


 

 

Whitney Morris

 

When and where did you begin your Riding Career? I was five years old when I started riding at Windy Knoll Farm with Jennifer Crossen. We rode in bareback pads and has to walk, trot, and canter and go over jumps before we could have a saddle.

 

What was your first professional training/teaching job in the horse industry? I taught lessons for Jennifer Crossen starting in middle school. My parents eventually bought the barn that I work out of today not long after teaching for Jennifer and then I started working horses out of my own barn.

 

Do you have a career highlight? Winning the long format three day with my horse, Miles, because he is difficult to handle. I have won bigger and more prestigious events, but this one was extra special to me and most fulfilling.

 

Do you have a favorite horse? Sunny…I got him my junior year of high school. I went up in eventing levels with him and it was effortless for him. He was a difficult off the track horse and we ended up being a great pair.

 

Who do you look up to the most in the horse industry? Dorothy Crowel spent time with me in Florida when I was younger. She helped me really see how a barn was meant to operate. Susan Beebee is another role model of mine. She has had several clinics at my place and has been wonderful. What are your professional goals for the future? Develop in dressage more than just in the eventing world.

 

Any advice for those just starting out as professional trainers/instructors? Know that it will be harder than you think it will be. Surround yourself with great mentors and learn all that you can.

 


 

Caitlin Halliwell

 

When and where did you begin your Riding Career? I began riding in Woodside, CA in the last bit of horse country right next to booming Silicon Valley. I started out learning the principles of classical dressage at the age of six and was hooked from then on.

 

What was your first professional training/teaching job in the horse industry? My first professional training position was working for the Canadian trainer, Craig Clermont. At the age of sixteen, I was in charge of a barn full of hunter ponies and the kids that went with all of them!

 

Do you have a career highlight? Winning Miss Rodeo Kentucky for 2018, I’m looking forward to being able to share my passion throughout the great state of Kentucky and also be able to educate other people throughout the United States on what the Kentucky equine industry has to offer.

 

Do you have a favorite horse? My quarter horse, Toby, who has the biggest personality in the barn. He has experienced a lot of bad handling and training throughout his lifetime and after riding him as a four year old in Montana, he walked into my barn for training as an eight year old following me 2,000 miles across the country and finding me four years later. He’s a forever horse and will always be with me.

 

Who do you look up to the most in the horse industry? Ray Hunt has been my role model since the time I was a child, I aspire everyday to attempt to reach the amount of patience and understanding he had with horses.

 

What are your professional goals for the future? I plan to compete in December 2018 for Miss Rodeo America in Las Vegas, after that I will continue to grow my facility and program for youth riders across Kentucky who have a passion for horses.

 

Any advice for those just starting out as professional trainers/instructors? Find a trainer who you look up to and become a working student and learn as much as you can. Never give up on your goals and always be thankful for advice given to you.

 


 

Alison Wilaby

 

When and where did you begin your Riding Career? I started riding in Colorado at a HJ barn, started walk/trot lessons at age six and stayed doing that until I was 13.  Then I wanted to get into eventing and moved to a different coach at that time.

 

What was your first professional training/teaching job in the horse industry? My first job was as a working student for Laura Backus in Colorado. When I graduated I came to Kentucky to work for Dorothy Crowell.

 

Do you have a career highlight? Finishing CCI two star at Fair Hill and getting my bronze in dressage.

 

Do you have a favorite horse? My CCI two star horse, Holla Vettire, or “Moe.” I hated him for so long, and then finally got on the right page with him.  He ended up being the easiest cross country horse I have ever had.

 

What are your professional goals for the future? Now I am focusing on teaching and getting sales horses.  I also would like to get another RRP horse, competing in a 1 star next year with my prelim horse, and also just producing good young horses.

 

Any advice for those just starting out as professional trainers/instructors? Find a mentorship and be a working student first.  Work the horrible hours, in the horrible weather, doing the grunt work.  If you still want to be a trainer/instructor after that, then you know you are truly invested.

 


 

Jacob Arnold

 

When and where did you begin your driving career? At eight years old, I started driving in pleasure driving shows. I started in combined driving shows at 14 and later I progressed to Advanced/FEI levels after just turning seventeen.

 

What was one of your early professional training/teaching jobs in the horse industry? In 2011, I was a groom for Shelly Temple and Suzy Stafford at the Pony Championships in Slovenia.

 

What is one of your career highlights? Being awarded the 2011 USEF Junior Equestrian of the Year Award. Also, winning the marathon at Single Horse World Championships in Hungary in 2014 and placing 7th out of 75 competitors overall.

 

Do you have a favorite horse? It would have to be my first FEI horse, Spring Hollow Dark Shadow, a Morgan my parents purchased when I was eight.  I started my combined driving career with Shadow in 2007 at the training level and competed my first FEI competition with her in 2010. I was also the youngest American to ever win an FEI competition at age 18 with Shadow.

 

What are your professional goals for the future? My main goal is to compete at as many shows and World Championships as possible, gaining more experience in the international sport.  Also to begin training more clients when possible and hopefully compete a Four-In-Hand at a World Championship one day.

 

Any advice for those just starting out as trainers/instructors? Work with as many experienced trainers as possible, ride/drive as many horses as you can get your hands on, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Many young people are often too embarrassed to ask for help, even though most trainers are willing to offer help when prompted.

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