Oh, The Places I’ve Gone And The Lessons I’ve Learned
True North’s 12 Days of Christmas Gifts!
“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.
Inside the Barn With: Clear Sailing
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)!
Inside the Barn With: E.V. Comander
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.
Inside the Barn With: Cassius
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.
All We Could Do Was Our Best
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!
Tenacity, Faith And Good, Old-Fashioned Discipline
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.
GREAT LAKES EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL WEEK FOUR RESULTS RECAP! - JULY 25-29, 2018
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?!
GREAT LAKES EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL WEEK THREE RESULTS RECAP! - JULY 18-22, 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!
Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week Two Results Recap! - July 10-15, 2018
This week was a lighter week for our True North team, as we gave a lot of the horses a few days off, but that didn't make it any less of a great week! Thanks to Fine Art Horses for always being there to beautifully capture the moment!
Great Lakes Equestrian Festival Week 1 Results Recap! - July 4-8, 2018
Our second week at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) was possibly even better than the first week! :D (If you missed our week one recap, check it out here.) It was World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) week, and everyone on the True North team claimed great results (including numerous wins!), learned a lot, and had a lot of fun in the process.
An Emphasis on Horse Care: When and Why Our Horses Get Acupuncture and Massage
The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival (GLEF) got off to a great start this week! This show is one of our favorites all year, and the horses seem to be enjoying it too! Here are some of our week one highlights with all photos by Fine Art Horses!
The True North Feeding Program: What We Supplement and Why
At True North, we can pretty easily say with confidence that our horses get more acupuncture and massages than we do!
Why? Because we place extremely high importance on each of our horses feeling and performing their best, and in the last year, we’ve found that to be even better achieved with the incorporation of a regular acupuncture and massage program.
Five Things You Might Not Know About Caitlyn Shiels
At True North, we place an emphasis on customizing each horse and rider’s program to fit their needs, and for our horses, that starts well before they enter the ring. In order for our horses to perform their best, we start the tailoring of their programs in the feed room!
Join Team True North!
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?
Accomplished professional rider and trainer Caitlyn Shiels launched True North Stables in January 2018, and now, following a successful winter circuit in Wellington and Ocala, FL, True North Stables will head north to a new location at Buena Vista Farm in Zion, IL, and will begin accepting new clients.
“I am looking forward to returning to Illinois and getting settled, and I am really excited to be accepting clients of all levels and with a wide range of goals within the hunters, jumpers and equitation,” said Shiels. “Having competed both as a junior and a professional in each, I can’t wait to begin helping people set and reach their riding and competitive goals”