NorCordia Trainer Catherine Haddad Staller
Catherine Haddad Staller has been a pillar in the dressage community for many years. We want to share a little bit more about her life riding and working in this field.
Catherine began competing in dressage nearly 40 years ago, and it all began when she was 6 years old. Her requirements for a horse were fairly simple; if it had four legs and neighed that was enough for her!
Since then, over hundreds of horses have crossed her path during her career, each once influencing and inspiring her in a different way. Among those horses which she has dealt with, not all of them are the right fit for her to ride personally. When deciding whether or not a horse is right for her, Catherine says, “I usually know by the feeling from the saddle. I want a horse who listens, thinks, and responds to the simplest of aids. I love a horse that feels happy to carry me in the back.”
NorCordia Trainer Catherine Haddad Staller: Experience.
In her experience, she finds that the length of time it takes to get synchronized with your own horse can vary drastically. It really depends on how much training the horse has had in the past. Good riding is a language, and it is sometimes difficult to learn the language of a different rider. Young horses may be easier to connect with, while it may take a bit longer to synchronize with an older horse. Over the years, Catherine has gotten some horses that she clicks with instantly.
Recently however, she had another that took her 2 years until she felt comfortable with their communication.
Her and her current horse – Frankie – have a wonderful connection between the two of them that really makes them stand out together. Frankie loves her work with Catherine, and she in turn loves guiding her through it. It’s a bond of mutual love and respect; they’re like dance partners. In order to stay fit for riding, Catherine loves to walk, swim, and do pilates. Alongside her husband, they also love to challenge themselves by hiking steep inclines on a regular basis.
NorCordia Trainer Catherine Haddad Staller: Highlights.
Some of the biggest highlights of Catherine’s career so far include participating twice in the FEI World Cup Finals. She competed in 2007 with Maximus JSS in Las Vegas, and in 2011 with Winyamaro in Leipzig. She was also a Reserve for the US Team for 2006 and 2010 WEGs. Riding with Maximus JSS, Cadillac, Winyamaro, Hotmail, Semper Fedelis and Frankie, she’s accumulated over 150 wins and placings in international Grand Prix sport.
Looking to the future, Catherine has some ambitious goals and events coming up. She’s looking forward to making a bid for Paris, both as a competitor and a trainer.
She will also be participating in a few shows in Europe this fall alongside her top mare, Frankie. “The Olympics were very inspiring this year! It was thrilling participating in the US Festival of Champions in Lamplight recently. Two horses which I have bred and trained are competing there! One five-year-old and one Grand Prix horse.”
Catherine’s advice for those looking to find their first competition horse is to buy a horse that you can ride and learn from. Every horse is a whole new education! Don’t try to save money on training; good training is worth the investment, and well trained horses are very hard to come by.
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