Assistant Trainer Spotlight: Caitlin Schneider of Twin Acres Horse Ranch
Michigan native Caitlin Schneider is currently the assistant trainer for Kendra and Blake Weis at Twin Acres Horse Ranch in Moberly, Missouri. Her duties include riding, grooming, longing, keeping track of supplements, packing trailers, giving lessons and keeping things in line at home and on the road. Her favorite event is the hunter under saddle, but she has come to love the trail, pleasure and giving lessons.
“Caitlyn has worked very hard the last six years,” Kendra Weis told us. “Her dedication to Twin Acres Horse Ranch is unmatched. She is showing more and I’m very proud of her success.”
Read more about this up-and-coming young trainer in our interview below.
GoHorseShow: Hi, Caitlin! Thanks for sitting down with us. Where are you from and how did you start showing horses?
Caitlin: I’m originally from Ludington, Michigan. I first started riding at age six and showing at eight. The first horse I showed was a little grouchy palomino mare, and then I switched to Arabians and Morgans. I would show them locally, and would always venture out to the big Quarter Horse shows at the fairgrounds.
Eventually, I wanted to start traveling further to shows, progressed to state and regional shows, and even showed a family friend’s horse at the Buckskin Congress in my youth.
All of my passion for riding and the horses led me to send my ACT scores to a random, small private college in Missouri called Stephens College and make an entrance tape for their equine business program. I showed for the school in both the hunter/jumper and western disciplines. It was through the program, specifically my advisor, Becky Clervi, that I ended up at Kendra’s ranch.
Becky had suggested while I was in school, that I should help Kendra and Blake at the March to the Arch show in early 2012. I worked for them that week, learned a ton and ended up interning for them that summer. I continued to go up and take lessons during my last semester and was offered a position after I graduated. Here I am six years later.
Caitlin: I love working with Kendra and Blake. We’re like a family. The ability to have some of the best eyes watching me ride every day has been fantastic and improved my riding immensely. I’ve also had the opportunity to be trusted with my projects, under their guidance, to ride and show. They’re my most significant mentors and I’ve learned so many different techniques from both of them that I’ve implemented with the horses I ride.
GoHorseShow: What are some of the famous horses you have helped with?
Caitlin: I’ve had the amazing opportunity of being their assistant during Blake’s multiple successes at the AQHA World Shows with horses Snap Krackle Pop, So Good To Be Me, The Extreme Machine, Cool Cruzen Lady, Dunit On The Range and more.
GoHorseShow: What advice would you give to young trainers?
Caitlin: The advice I would give to young trainers is to absorb as much information as you can and to keep trying. Not every day is going to bring great rides, and sometimes those not so great rides will be in front of a ton of people. Shake it off and try again. The horse world is a very humbling place, and it’s important to always remember where you came from, and to help others along the way, as I’ve been helped. Also, pay attention to the people around you and how they affect your life. Are they going to fan your flames or douse your fire? You do benefit from people who genuinely support and believe in you.
Caitlin: A couple of my favorite accomplishments in the show arena were placing behind Blake in the Green Trail under one judge at the American Royal last September, and winning two circuit championships in hunter under saddle at the Winter Blast Circuit in February.
GoHorseShow: What are some of your goals?
Caitlin: My ultimate, long-term goal would be to win the World in a hunter under saddle class.
GoHorseShow: What is one thing people may not know about you?
Caitlin: Most people don’t know that I danced for 14 years, from age four until 18, in various styles including ballet, tap, pointe and contemporary. I feel my dance experience has helped me beyond words with my balance, body position and body control. I also have a tattoo on my foot of my favorite Bible verse which inspires me daily never to quit.
GoHorseShow: Anything else you would like to say?
Caitlin: I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given, and for my friends, colleagues and family for their never ending support.