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?
Here are five other things you may not know about True North Stables’ Caitlyn Shiels:
1. Her favorite thing about riding and working with horses – “The reason I chose to go this route is because I have just such a love for the horses. Being able to work with them on a daily basis, inside and outside of the farm, in and outside of the ring, is just so rewarding. You’re working with a partner that is a live animal and getting them to trust you. It’s fun, and it’s just such a partnership. Just think, I get to do that instead of going into an office and working with a computer every day; it’s pretty wild!
I really am passionate about what I do on a daily basis. I know every day I’m going to learn something new about the horse, whether I’ve had the horse in my barn for a month or five years. It’s always going to be a new day, and I think that’s probably the most exciting part for me. That’s what keeps the adrenaline up.”
2. How she started riding – “I was introduced to riding with my mom. She was actually the one taking riding lessons when I was very little at a local farm up in Massachusetts. When I was just a little bit older, she brought me for a couple of lessons of my own, and I just really felt such a connection with the horses. I loved it immediately. As a little girl that always imagined having a pony, it was a dream come true.”
3. Her favorite horse she’s ridden thus far – “Memphis. He was my first real investment horse. I had him for so many years, and I brought him up the ranks. We ended up winning Young Riders and jumping in some of the biggest classes that I ever have – a World Cup qualifier and other grand prixs. He was my horse of a lifetime.”
4. Her favorite food – “Pizza!”
5. Her favorite type of client to work with – “For sure someone who wants to have fun and enjoy horses but also really wants to achieve their goals. I worked very hard as a junior to get to where I was at Medal Finals and Maclay Finals—the sweat and tears, the long hours. I love working with others that have that drive to want to succeed—if it’s not a blue ribbon, what can we do to make it better the next time? Whether that’s a junior rider competing in the equitation or an older amateur in the low adult hunters, I love working with people who want to have fun while working toward a set objective. I also think it’s great when somebody really wants to be a part of their horse’s program as well as their own riding program. I hope to teach people horsemanship and help them enjoy learning more about their animals as well as riding.”