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!
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.
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.
Richard Picken & Joanie Morris
When and where did you begin your riding career?
Joanie: Concord, Massachusetts when I was 5. My best friend and I looked through the phone book and found a riding instructor. Turns out we lived in such a small town that our parents already knew him. We rode Fred and Ladybug (Fred wouldn’t go and Ladybug wouldn’t stop).
Richard: 4 years old in North Yorkshire on a pony called Norseman.
What was one of your early professional training/teaching jobs in the horse industry?
Joanie: I wrote Phillip and Evie Dutton a letter when I was a freshman in college and they agreed to take me on for two weeks. Two weeks turned into the better part of a decade.
Richard: at the Harrogate Equestrian Center taking my British Horse Society Assistant Instructor Exams.
What is one of your career highlights?
Joanie: Starting an ex-racehorse (Four Schools) eventing at the age of 12 and jumping around a 1* on him 2 years later. He was an overachiever and made me very proud.
Richard: coaching Phillip Dutton to individual bronze at the 2016 Olympic Games with Mighty Nice. There are still days when I can’t believe that happened for him.
Do you have a favorite horse?
Joanie: Four Schools of our own as he has become such a pet and he’s the reason we have the farm/business. Qing Du Briot (a French horse) if I could pick any horse in the world
Richard: Betterthanexpected of our one as he’s a real star for the future (he’s only 5), Phillip Dutton’s Z is a horse I am really excited about.
What are your professional goals for the future?
Joanie: to continue to produce young horses find them great homes where they can reach their potential.
Richard: to help people and horses improve and perform better.
Any advice for those just starting out as trainers/instructors?
Be patient, learn as much as you can and never stop seeking out new ways to approach the various challenges that horses present.
When and where did you begin your Riding Career? I began riding at the age of 4 in Snow Camp, NC…where I’m originally from. However I didn’t start riding show horses until I was 14…I trail rode, ran speed events and team roped a little bit before falling in love with the western pleasure and all around.
What was your first professional training job in the horse industry? My first professional training job was at 19 years old working for Dana and Wendy Jones of Raleigh, NC coaching and training for their two daughters.
Do you have a career highlight? There are many things I’m happy to have been able to accomplish thus far, but in 2016 while working for Tracey Hehr of Hollywood, SC between the Pinto Horse Association World Championship Show and the American Paint Horse Youth Association World Championship Show we (Tracey, her kids Sheldon and Isabella, another customer Greyson Marshall and myself) won 21 World and Reserve World Championship titles in a matter of 3.5 weeks with 5 horses!
Do you have a favorite horse? I’ve had the privilege of riding a quite few really good horses but I would have to say that World and Res World Champion “Doctor Can Dee” (or known by many as Doc or Doodle) owned by Tracy Hehr would be my favorite! He’s one in a million!
Who do you look up to the most in the horse industry? There are too many people/professionals that have taught me/helped me/inspired me to name just one person. I’ve been extremely blessed to have learned from/gotten advice from the following…Shane & Cindy Young, Shirley Roth, Paul Thurston, Doug Pratt, Alex Blackwood, Andy Cochran, Alan Fisher, Shane Pope, Erik Martin, Ronald Bartlett
What are your professional goals for the future? Winning a AQHA World Championship (Golden Globe) in the Quarter Horse industry is a dream or a goal I think anyone that shows Quarter Horses has, but seeing my customers succeed (at any level) and have fun doing what they love is most important to me and extremely gratifying to me!
Any advice for those just starting out as professional trainers? Don’t ever think that you know everything about what you are doing, if you do you’re not hurting anyone but yourself! Take every opportunity to learn anything even if it’s something minor from anyone of your peers, everyone can learn something from someone no matter how much you’ve won or how much you think you know!
Cody & Katelyn Gardner
Cody and Katelyn Gardner are from Paoli, Indiana. When they aren’t on the rodeo trail they can be found working on their cattle operation. Cody began his rodeo career at a young age where he started in the Southern Indiana Jr Rodeo Association and has since worked his way up through both the PRCA and IPRA levels in the steer wrestling. He has earned spots at both the International Finals Rodeo and Great Lakes Circuit Finals as well as being a many time qualifier to the Mid States Rodeo Association Finals and Lone Star Rodeo Finals with multiple accolades in between. Katelyn has a cow/calf and feedlot operation background, but quickly took to rodeo after she and Cody met while team roping and is now a breakaway roper in both the IPRA and WPRA. The Gardner’s love the lineup of feeds and additives that Excel Equine offers to fit their range of horses. As a farrier, Cody uses and recommends Hoof Pro Plus, having had success with it on both personal horses and client horses. The Special Needs Blend- Senior Plus, Toplyte, and Enrichment have become personal favorites of Katelyn’s. Whether it is their steer wrestling team and rope horses that are being actively hauled up and down the road, or young colts that are being used at home for ranch work, Excel has all the right mixtures for each horse’s needs!
Jessica Hopkins is the owner and trainer of Bar H Cattle & Performance Horses. She resides in Gosport, IN with her husband, daughter, and family. Jessica has made a name in the rodeo/barrel racing industry with having finished 5th in the world after qualifying for the IFR (International Finals Rodeo). She also won the Central Region & Southern Region the same year and has multiple MSRF qualifications.
“In our operation, we understand how important nutrition is for our equine athletes in order for them to be at the top of their game and that’s why we chose Excel Equine. I truly believe you are what you eat, and the same goes for our horses. Quality Feed just seems to play such a large roll in how well a horse performs and behaves. Currently, my favorite feed is Trifiber Compete and favorite supplement is Toplyte, however you can’t go wrong with any of the blends that Excel has to offer; high quality feed at an affordable price.”
Alicia Knowles, owner/operator of Goose Pond Farms, located in Southern Indiana, boasts an exceptional collection of money earning, producing broodmares, show horses and young prospects.
Goose Pond Farms emphasizes quality and attention to the minuscule details that translates into success in the show pen and the breeding shed. Goose Pond Farms is recognized as a leading, industry breeder and touts an Equistat, top, producing dam. Knowles herself, has made every major, event finals in the National Reining Horse Association, multiple top five futurity finalist and multiple top ten rider in the sport’s world rankings.
As excellence seeks excellence, it is only natural that Alicia Knowles and Goose Pond Farms has teamed with Excel Equine to deliver visible and meaningful results. “Excel Equine has surpassed all expectations in meeting the nutritional needs that keep our equine athletes going up and down the road. The Excel consistency and high quality promotes balance, overall wellbeing, and performance from the aged to prospect equine. The customer service is bar none.”
When and where did you begin your riding career? I got my first horse when I was 7 at a farm in Nicholasville Ky. And that’s pretty much when it all started haha
What was your first professional job in the horse industry? What is your current job in the industry? I got my first job breaking colts when I was a teenager. People would send them to me for training at a farm we leased in Lexington before my parents bought their farm in Versailles. Now I train horses and people, ride professionally, and own a boarding training and sales company called Dauntless Performance Horses!
Do you have a career highlight? I would say my biggest career highlights was my Run at Fair Hill international where I moved up 36 places over night due to a double clear cross country round to finish 10th nationally and 11th internationally. That was a pretty big accomplishment for me and my horses Dauntless Courage. That’s he showed the world that he actually was a top class horse despite the nonbelievers.
Do you have a favorite horse? Dauntless Courage is the horse that really put me on the map and Dauntless Serendipity was my first horse so I would say equally those two hold a special place in my heart. I tell them both on a weekly basis that the three of us are going to retire and move to Mexico to drink margaritas on the beach haha
Who do you look up to most in the industry? I would love to run around a 5 star event along with competing in all of the Colt starting competitions in North America such as road to the horse and the mustang makeover. I really love Eventing but I equally love starting young horses.
What are your professional goals for the future? I would love to run around a 5 star event along with competing in all of the Colt starting competitions in North America such as road to the horse and the mustang makeover. I really love Eventing but I equally love starting young horses.
Which Excel Equine® feed do you feed your horses and why do you love it? I feed a few different feeds from Excel! I feel Senior HF®– for my older horses along with my guys who need to gain some extra weight.
Animate®– to my performance horses.
Carbolyte® – to my mare that has Cushings
Trifiber Compete® – to a thoroughbred that is very picky and has a hard time gaining weight
Enrichment®– to my ponies that just need the extra vitamins and minerals but are too fat to eat the other feeds.
I love Excel because no matter what the issue, they have a solution! They have so many different feeds in so many different forms such as pellets and sweet feed that there is really something for everyone. Their feed is always fresh! I never have to worry about getting stale feed which is I problem I faced with other companies in the past. All of their staff is amazing! From Gail in the office, to Liz my rep, to Kent the owner. Everyone is so nice and without hesitation they come out whenever I need any questions answered.
Any additional information about themselves/business they would like to share? My business is based on horse and owner/rider relationships. Our motto at Dauntless Performance Horses being “achieving the impossible” sums up what we do here. No matter the discipline, or issue you might have with you and your horse, we can fix it. We take great pride I our work and love helping people and horses!