Five Benefits of Time at Home Between Horse Shows

After a great winter season in Ocala, FL, our True North Stables team has spent the last month back at home in Zion, IL.  

While it’s so easy to get caught up in point-chasing and going from horse show to horse show, our team believes incorporating good stretches of time at home into our schedule is valuable for a large number of reasons! Here are just five of those benefits:  

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Emily Riden
Inside the Barn With: KT Forest

If you happened to see a handsome gray gelding turning in clear round after clear round in the low amateur-owner jumpers with the True North team this winter at HITS Ocala, you’ve seen KT Forest!

Marisa Malevitis purchased the nine-year-gelding in the summer of 2018, and since then, the pair has been pretty unstoppable – thanks largely to all the time and effort Marisa has devoted to him!

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Emily Riden
HITS Ocala Ribbons and Results Recap - Week IX

The horses and humans on are team were both great this week! A few of the week’s top four finishes included:

  • Caitlyn Shiels and Incorporated - double clear and 4th out of 23 entries in the $1,500 1.40m HorseFlight Jumpers

  • Marisa Malevitis and KT Forest - quick, clear and 3rd out of 36 entries in the $750 Low Amateur-Owner Jumpers

  • Michelle Durpetti and Serafina - quick and clear to take 4th out of 16 entries in the Medium Adult Amateur Jumpers

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Emily Riden
Oh, The Places I’ve Gone And The Lessons I’ve Learned

“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!”

One year ago, I shared that excerpt from Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” on Facebook because I, full of exhilaration and a healthy dose of nerves, was about to set off to a new “great place” and to take on a new mountain: the launch of my own, Illinois-based riding and training business, True North Stables.

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Emily Riden
True North’s 12 Days of Christmas Gifts!

While there are only 12 days left until Christmas (where did the time go!?), if you’re anything like us, you still have gifts left to buy! (Somehow spending time with the horses always seem to take priority over shopping …) That’s why we’ve decided to round up 12 of our favorite gifts that could be just the right fit for the equestrian in your life!

Whether you’re looking for something that fits under the tree or something that neighs, would be better suited living in a stall, and could probably count as 10 Christmas’ worth of Christmas gifts, we’ve included gifts of all sizes and price ranges!

Here are our 12 gift recommendations (that we think could make for a far better 12 Days of Christmas than those lords a’ leaping and a partridge in a pear tree)!

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Emily Riden
Inside the Barn With: Clear Sailing

Hannah Hoch’s 11-year-old dark bay Warmblood mare, Clear Sailing, is unquestionably something special – which is made apparent by both her nickname (which is in fact “Special”) and her success in the show ring with Hannah, including two second place finishes in the competitive Large Junior 15 and Under Hunters this past month at the National Horse Show.

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Emily Riden
Inside the Barn With: E.V. Comander

With Hannah Hoch in the irons, E.V. Comander is an equitation star! Hannah and her family purchased the 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding in the winter of 2018, and since then Hannah and “Salty” have had great success in the equitation ring – which most recently included winning the 13- and 14-Year-Old Equitation Championship at the Capital Challenge Horse Show.

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Emily Riden
Inside the Barn With: Cassius

Owned by Michelle Durpetti, ‘Cas’ (or Ham or Stinker, depending on the day) is a nine-year-old Warmblood gelding that joined the family in 2016. Since then, he’s matured into a phenomenal High Performance Hunter, a successful USHJA International Hunter Derby contender, and as of this year, a winning Amateur-Owner Hunter mount for Michelle!

Here’s more to know (and to love) about Cassius!

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Emily Riden
All We Could Do Was Our Best

Walking into the week of the Platinum Performance USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship in Lexington, Kentucky, I was immediately impressed with the energy. There was such excitement, a lot of nerves, and a lot of happiness. For Cassius, his owner, Michelle Durpetti, and myself, we made it to this point, and we were thinking that Derby Championship is the icing on the cake, and whatever happens, happens.

I felt really good about my preparation. The program I develop with each of the horses is something I take really seriously. The great thing about Cassius is that we’ve had three years to get to know each other and determine what works for us.

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Emily Riden
Tenacity, Faith And Good, Old-Fashioned Discipline

Two years ago, Caitlyn Shiels and I were in Traverse City, Michigan, chasing indoors points for the amateur-owner hunters. I so wanted to go, and at 6, Mo was trying his heart out to get me there.

We watched the USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship (Kentucky) from our rented house and casually discussed getting there in 2017 with Cassius, who was then 7, and neither of us really knew what he could accomplish. With eight international derbies under his belt that year, he and Caitlyn qualified for and went to the championship. Last year was exciting, and scary as hell, because really—WHAT did we even think we were doing here?!

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Emily Riden
GREAT LAKES EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL WEEK FOUR RESULTS RECAP! - JULY 25-29, 2018

What an incredible month it's been! We're so proud of all that the True North team has accomplished these last four weeks at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival! To the horses, to the supportive families, to Alonso and Edgar for their hard work, to Caitlyn for her tireless dedication, to Fine Art Horses for the great photos, to each and every one of our riders who make it all so much fun - THANK YOU!

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Emily Riden
Five Things You Might Not Know About Caitlyn Shiels

You may know Caitlyn Shiels for her riding resume – the junior career section of which includes both team and individual gold medals at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships (NAJYRC) and top-10 finishes in each of the major American equitation finals. Then there’s the lengthy professional portion of that resume, which includes working alongside Jonathan and Christine McCrea, Ken and Emily Smith, McLain Ward, and others, working as the assistant trainer at Canterbury Farm in Illinois, and now as the trainer and rider for her own True North Stables. But did you know that she got her show ring start in local 4-H shows? Or that she has a Jack Russell named Luna?

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Collin Pierson