Podcast Episode 16: Catherine Haddad & Hope Beerling - All Things Success

Podcast Episode 16: Catherine Haddad & Hope Beerling - All Things Success

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In this podcast, we speak with Catherine Haddad Staller and Hope Beerling. Catherine has represented the United States in competitions throughout Europe at both national and international levels. Catherine was also the alternate rider for the USA Dressage Team in Aachen and Kentucky for the World Equestrian Games. Currently, she runs her training facility located in New Jersey. Hope Beerling is an Australian young rider currently working as a student for Catherine. We speak about why she made the huge move overseas and what it's like working with such inspirational women.

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Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha (00:00:59):

Alright, so thank you so much, both of you for taking the time. I so appreciate it.

Hope (00:01:43):

That's all right.

Catherine (00:01:44):

You're welcome.

Natasha (00:01:45):

Good, good, good. And I love it looks warm. I'm over there. I'm in like three jackets and jumpers and you guys are loving it and the T-shirts and the singlets. I'm so, what, what temperature is it?

Hope (00:01:57):

Uh, it's like 32 degrees.

Catherine (00:02:00):

Maybe it may be a little bit warmer. You wouldn't love it If you were here, the humidity is excruciating right now. It's like a jungle.

Natasha (00:02:07):

and the riding. So do you ride very early in the morning or you do it all day?

Catherine (00:02:13):

Very early. As much as we can, Hope because she's, my assistant has to ride. A little bit later than I do, but yeah, we try to get, we try to get the really intense riding done early.

Natasha (00:02:24):

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We'll start with you, Catherine. Sorry, I just a short little snippet of where you riding Shetlands when you were two years old or did you start riding later? What's been your riding journey in a couple of minutes, if you can summarize it.

Catherine (00:02:42):

Well, I started riding when I was six years old on an unbroken sort of wild pony that my mother picked out for me. Um, and.

Natasha (00:02:49):

I, I love it was unbroken.

Catherine (00:02:51):

It was unbroken. Yes. I was broken immediately afterward. Um, but the pony, it took about a hundred days to get her to stop bucking me off. I was, was only six at the time and didn't know much. So it was kind of a bare back break in job. But, um, I graduated from that to 4 H horses and I rode in what are our 4 H is like country riding and, you know, minor competitions with Western and English riding and things like that. And then when I went to college, I got into, uh, eventing and dressage and for five years, I evented very seriously. And then I ended up getting such a really nice warm blood to ride from a client that bought it for me, that I, I started doing dressage and, um, that journey took me to Germany when I was 29. Yeah.

Natasha (00:03:38):

One sec. When you were eventing, were you winning on your dressage score? Like, was this the signs you should just stop here?

Catherine (00:03:47):

Absolutely. I was winning on my dressage score. Yeah. And it was, it was lower level of eventing. So, you know, it was easy to jump around. So I, I just kinda like laughed after the dressage phase and just galloped around and jumped a few fences. But, um, then I moved to Germany when I was 29 and I, I meant to stay three months, but I ended up staying 20 years and yeah, I, I worked with some of the best trainers in Germany and I ran my own, um, uh, training and sales business there. And I competed internationally for the United States while I lived in Germany. And then I met my husband and I moved back to America in end of 2012. And I've been here teaching training and showing ever since

Natasha (00:04:30):

That's huge. There's so much to unpack there. So firstly, thinking you're only going to be in Germany three months and then being there for so many years was that there's going to be people making those kinds of decisions all the time. Was it hard for you to go? There's obviously a family, but it's some like back home in America, there's friends, there's there's things there, but was it just number one in your life was riding like nothing else mattered. What was the mindset around making?

Catherine (00:04:57):

My ambition was number one and I didn't want to be mediocre at my sport. So I wanted to go learn from the very best. And I knew that my journey would somehow take me to Germany. And I, I knew that I had to go there and put a foot in that door. And really when I left for Germany, I didn't know where that journey would lead me. It, it evolved as I stayed there.

Natasha (00:05:21):

The people are probably listening to that going, yes, but obviously didn't know German. I'm thinking and it's scary. And it's kind of like what you're doing, hope you're on the other side of the planet. You can still got the English going. I love that

Catherine (00:05:34):

She thinks she knows English, but she's in America now. So her English is also foreign.

Natasha (00:05:39):

I love it. Um, so it was, it just that ambition just took it, overcame the fear, it overcame every other emotion that you could have been feeling at that time because I have to be the best. And that's just, there was a full stop after I have to be the best. So it didn't matter what else happened.

Catherine (00:05:56):

Yeah. I was fearless Back then. I'm pretty fearless now actually fear has not ever really factored into my life in a, in a large way. I'm, I'm a risk taker and I enjoy taking risks. So, um, it was, yeah, it was a risk to pack up my whole life and moved to Germany. But like I said, it was only supposed to be for three months. So I thought, Oh, I'll do this three months and I'll have a little more on my resume and I'll come back to the States and I'll be a better teacher and so on, so forth. And I just ended up realizing that I had a whole life of learning in front of me. And the best way to do that was to go to top professionals and the top professionals were in Germany. So I went to study with Willi Schultheis, who was one of the greatest masters in, in the world of dressage ever to this day still. And, um, I then continued to work with one of his proteges. And when I began showing an international competition, he was the person who coached me to my first international starts. Um, so, you know, there was so much more available in Germany because of the people who were there and because they made opportunity available to me. Yeah. That's why I stayed. And it didn't feel like a risk. I didn't feel like I gave up anything. I'm very close to my family, but I only see them sort of once a year anyway. And you know, I continued to see them once a year when I lived in Germany. So just telephone, email, you can stay in touch.

Natasha (00:07:19):

That's it. And was it also a case of you didn't know what you didn't know when, til you got there? Like, did you think you were very good and then kind of got there and went, Oh, now I can see how much more I have to learn.

Catherine (00:07:33):

Well, I knew that I sucked and, uh, and I knew that I was a very uneducated rider that much I knew, I thought that I had talent and I knew that my, um, my confidence, I think in my, my, just my ability to sit back and say, Oh, the knowledge will come when I'm ready to hear the knowledge. My, my calmness about the situation led me to places where I can really, really learn and yeah, about halfway through about 10 years into it. I thought, boy, I really do have a lot to learn still.

Natasha (00:08:05):

Oh gosh, ten years in Germany. Oh shit.

Catherine (00:08:10):

Yeah. Yeah. It's a lifetime learning experience, dressage. I mean, and I'm, I'm just, now I'm now I'm 56 years old and I'm just now saying to myself, yeah, I'm pretty sure how to train most of the horses that come through my stable. And I have a really clear idea of where I want to get to with most of my horses, but I still need eyes on the ground. And, um, it still helps me to have someone, you know, mentioned something that, that I'm, that I should tweak or change with a horse. So I S I worked with Johann Johann, and now I'm mostly remotely in the moment because of the COVID crisis.

Natasha (00:08:46):

Yes. And has that been great. So was he more coming to America and going back and now with the force four thing of we've got to get the technology. That could be a great thing moving forward.

Catherine (00:08:58):

Yes. Yeah, but I mean, I coach a lot of people remotely as well. It's not, it's not a replacement for live eyes. It never will be, but it's a very nice thing to touch base and to tune things up in between the live lesson.

Natasha (00:09:11):

Yeah. Yeah. And is that, sorry, let's have a chat about, um, uh, you said you met your husband in America or in Europe.

Catherine (00:09:19):

Yeah. He's American. So he's the reason that I've moved back to this country, to the United States.

Natasha (00:09:24):

Wow.

Catherine (00:09:25):

So I met, I met him at a selection trial for the world equestrian games in 2010. It was the first time that I brought, I was, had been showing internationally for four or five years at that point. But it was the first time that I brought a horse back to the States to compete impact. The first time that I competed internationally on the international level in the United States was during that selection trial period. And I became reserved for the team in 2010 for the Lexington world equestrian games.

Natasha (00:09:51):

Yeah. That's huge. And so you're, you're focusing on the world of Christian games, but there's a man. Like what were you distracted or did that come after?

Catherine (00:10:02):

No, I was quite, I was quite distracted, actually. It was very, it's very distracting at the time, but, uh, he's, uh, he's a world class veterinarian. And with, you know, he specializes in sport horses, so he was the treating veterinarian for that particular competition. And yeah, it was a bit distracted. It's probably why I ended up reserved for the team instead of on the team. I could blame him for that. Actually.

Natasha (00:10:27):

Oh, that's fabulous. So then you came back home and you created a stable. Was it nice to create a home and to go, Oh, this is going to be mine because I'm assuming you, you were operating a business in Europe that you, um, with leasing staples, I'm assuming

Catherine (00:10:43):

I was leasing state. Well, one stable. I stayed in one place for a long time. Yes, yes and no. It was, um, in some ways, a bit of a shock to come back to America because the industry is so different here from what you've experienced in Europe. And it, and I thought as an American, I would just come home and everything would fall into place. The way I made it fall into place in Europe, it didn't quite happen that way. So, um, it's much more expensive to keep horses in the United States, especially in the two areas where I operate my businesses in Wellington, Florida, and in California Jersey. They're probably two of the most expensive places to keep horses, um, meaning to board them, to have them in stables, to buy property, to feed them, you know, that whole thing. So compared to Germany, which where I lived in Germany was relatively, was more of an agricultural scene as far as raising boarding and, and supporting horses. The, the, the prices were a shock factor. And also the industry is very different on the two different sides of the Atlantic. Very, very different industry. So it took some adjusting. Um, I think I'm a little, a little bit better with it now. And, uh, yeah, we just move on from there.

Natasha (00:11:59):

Yeah. I love it. So, um, you've got two places. Is this because of the weather or is it the competition? Uh, opportunities. Cause I hear of everyone going to Wellington, Florida in, is it the summer or the winter? When do you go to

Catherine (00:12:15):

Our, our winter, your summer, which is also quite confusing. I know, but no, um, the summer in New Jersey is at least cool in the nights, but hot and humid in the day, Florida. You can't, you can't be there during our summertime. It's, it's worse than a jungle. Um, so Wellington is a winter competition circuit, and most of our qualifications for world cups and world equestrian games and Olympics take place in Florida in the wintertime. So that's why all of the professionals, they take their, they usually take their clients with them. Um, I take my whole stable. We're either completely in Florida or either completely in New Jersey and Hope got to experience the move last spring. She got to help do all the packing up and moving horses home. And it's not, it's not an easy project. It's, it's a logistical nightmare, but actually with the help of people, like Hope we stay very organized and we're getting pretty smooth at being gypsies twice a year.

Natasha (00:13:13):

Huge. Wow. Okay. Um, so what are your current team of horses? What's what's um, was, were we planning 2020 and we now planning 2021.

Catherine (00:13:25):

We are now planning 2021. I knew that 2020 was going to come too early for me for, I have, I have two grand Prix horses up and running actually one is convenient, ground Prix. The other one is just about to do her first intermediate two, and I hope she'll quickly graduate to grand Prix. Um, and no one believes me. No one in the horse industry was happier to hear that the Olympics got postponed by one year. So, um, now I'm thinking, Oh, maybe I have a shot to at least at least participate in the qualification. Let's put it that way.

Natasha (00:13:58):

Great and, um, do you buy horses already made or do you have a lot of young horses? So you're like, yeah, you're 20, 28. You're 2032. You're 2036. Cause it is a long term thinking when you're talking about, if you do it from the young horse.

Catherine (00:14:12):

Oh, absolutely. And I've always made my own horses, but I have a mix. I have two top horses up and running right now. One of them I actually bred. Um, and she, and I've, she's been trained. I don't want to say I trained her because she's been trained in my stable almost to grand prix by people. Like Hope who've come to learn from me. like a rider. If you will, might the people, my apprentices have trained her and competed her all the way up to the level. She's, she's one with four different riders. Um, and yes, and then I took over the ride last year and she's now going out grand Prix. She just did a 74% in her last competition a week ago. So yeah, really, really coming along really improved horse. And then the other one I bought is a nine year old and she had already done an intermediate two in Europe with the rider that I bought her from, but she is not the easiest horse for me to ride. And I've had to really revamp and, um, retrain her to respond to me the way I want her to. And that's that's for me a much more difficult job than taking over a horse. That's already been trained in my system. So that's why she's a little, they're the same age and they're two mayors. Um, but that's why she's a little bit behind the other one because it's taken me a while to resculpt her, if you will.

Natasha (00:15:35):

Yes. And so for people listening, I mean, everyone's going to have their own opinion and their own personal preference, but for you, it sounds like you prefer to do it from the very start. As you said in your system, all the buttons are where you put the buttons. Yeah. That's huge. And yeah, you go,

Catherine (00:15:53):

Most of my horses have been developed from the age of six. I've purchased them at five or six and they've been developed up to grand prix by me. So they they're, you know, they're fully stamped by my way of riding. Um, so this will be, there was another horse that I showed two or three years ago that had also been, had a lot of training from different people on her. She also took me a long time to turn around, but that was also a fabulous Horse. So, you know, I kind of well known for getting horses in that are a bit of a project they're either ordinary or they have some issues and they need to be turned around and, and trained into something special. And that's, that's kinda my, my wheelhouse, that's what I like to do.

Natasha (00:16:36):

That your zone of genius. I love it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll go with that. So how many horses hare there, how many horses do you have to look after Hope? How many horses get riden and how many horses are there?

Hope (00:16:53):

Um, well currently I'm running like six a day right now. Like we have 16. Yeah. 16 in the stable. Yeah.

Natasha (00:17:04):

Yeah. Okay. So there's a, there's a lot. Okay. And what does a day in the life. Firstly, you Catherine, what does a day in the life of you look like?

Catherine (00:17:14):

Well, I think hope is can better tell you that. Cause cause hope can tell you what her day looks like from morning until evening. Let her tell you.

Hope (00:17:20):

You wake up at like five and five 30. I come out, that's a team of us. So we do the boxes, the hoses get fed, and then we sweep the fair, like a witch's brooms, but they are the best brooms ever.

Natasha (00:17:37):

Look at your you so excited about the sweeping. As long as you have a cool broom.

Hope (00:17:44):

Yeah. And when we start, I start riding. So I usually like hope to get on my horse, at eight o'clock. Catherine gives me one less than a day, which is incredible. Yeah. And then by the time my horses are finished, it's probably two o'clock. So then we start grooming. Um, that's where we can check the legs to make sure nothing's changed. They're all still healthy. We keep them clean then.

Natasha (00:18:10):

Do they go out in the paddocks or they stapled all the time.

Hope (00:18:14):

Oh no, we have some that go out during the day. Uh, well the morning. So like when we're doing boxes or feeding, we take them out and they usually out for like two, two hours, the flies are very bad. So they can't stay out all day and then afternoon chores and like usually done by four or five every day.

Natasha (00:18:34):

And did we, do we eat at that time or are we just eating a big dinner at the end of the day?

Hope (00:18:40):

No, I, so I usually eat in between my horses. Yeah. Usually do like three, then I'll eat and then I'll do the rest. \.

Natasha (00:18:48):

Yeah. Yeah. That's very full on.

Hope (00:18:51):

And obviously lots of water in between each horse. I'm need to get better at.

Catherine (00:18:56):

Yes she does. She needs to get better at staying hydrated. And I eat every two hours, like on the, on the dial I'm I'm a Gazer, so.

Natasha (00:19:06):

okay. Like full on meals or just some nuts and fruits.

Catherine (00:19:09):

no nuts, fruit and stuff like that.

Natasha (00:19:13):

Yeah. Fabulous.

Catherine (00:19:15):

Anything, but just, you know, very healthy foods. But I have to put something in my stomach every two hours or I get cranky and nobody wants to see that. Right.

Natasha (00:19:25):

Fabulous and do you Like a, is there a swimming pool or do you just hose each other off? When it gets really hot?

Catherine (00:19:31):

We pretty much hose each other off.

Natasha (00:19:36):

Yep. Fabulous. All right. So let's go to you hope. How are you if this amazing place having this amazing riding experience and having all this learning, how did you get here?

Hope (00:19:49):

Um, so I actually had a job with someone else in Florida and before I took anything, they will ask me, Oh, you should apply for this position with Catherine because we feel like that's probably why you will get more knowledge and skills. So I did. And Catherine was like, when can you be here? So I got my passport and I was here within a month. So that was last year. And I was here for three months on a trial just to see if I was suitable for the position. And then I went home and applied for my P one athlete's visa. So that was time for like all the time from September til the start of December. But I didn't hear anything from the embassy until like mid November. So that was really scary because I knew Catherine needed me back for the start of December. So I had two weeks to pack everything up. I had to sell my horse trailer and send training horses home. And then of course I had to send my horse to my coach back home. Yeah. So yeah, it was crazy. And then after two weeks I was on a plane coming back to America.

Natasha (00:20:50):

So have you still got one horse in Australia?

Hope (00:20:53):

Yeah. So Remy down under most, most of the Australians know him. Um, he's with Emma LaBelle at the moment they are training grand prix at the moment. So at the end of the CRN, and go from there.

Natasha (00:21:08):

How fun. So, yeah. What's the plan. Is your visa only up until for one year or are you staying a five year visa?

Hope (00:21:19):

There's no flights coming home. So I am here for at least like another two years.

Natasha (00:21:23):

Yeah. It's just it's this is what's happening. Yeah. That's fabulous. That's huge. Okay. And are you, it seems like this is your dream. You have lighting up like this is, I'm not seeing any kind of, I don't know if I've made the right choice or I don't know if I've done the right thing. You look so happy.

Hope (00:21:42):

Yeah. No, I've definitely made the right choice. I knew that like sometimes Australia doesn't really have the international competitions, Europe or America have. So to be able to have this opportunity and experience, it was one that I couldn't like say no to. I had to get on a plane and come and do it.

Natasha (00:21:59):

Yeah. Yeah. And so were you nervous? Um, obviously you coming to Florida with the other position, same thing. Like I'm sure there's a million people back home in Australia going, I wanna cause how old.

Hope (00:22:14):

21? I was 19 last year when I first came. Yeah. Then I turned 20 over here last year and came back when I was 20 and I just turned 21 on the weekend.

Natasha (00:22:26):

Happy birthday. Congratulations. That's awesome.

Catherine (00:22:31):

Nice party with good friends. And one of the best cakes we've ever eaten,.

Hope (00:22:41):

It was vanilla with cream cheese icing. It was beautiful. It was incredible.

Natasha (00:22:46):

It's the only reason I ate carrot cake for the cream cheese icing.

Catherine (00:22:51):

Don't you want to know why I hired Hope?

Natasha (00:22:53):

I would love to know. I would love to know was there a big list. Was there like so many people that applied and you're like, no, no, no.

Catherine (00:23:03):

When I put an advertisement out, which I usually do on Facebook, if I need help. And I say that the position is a riding position. I get dozens of applicants. There are lots of people who would like to come ride with me. And um, I put an ad out. I don't know. It must've been, it must've been soon spring of 2009. Yeah. Okay. Spring time, our spring time, 2019. And I think it was within 24 hours that I, that it was like three, three hours, three hours later. Hope contacted me because her, one of her contacts in America said, you need to talk to her now because she, this lady in Florida knew how quickly my positions get filled. And I, I talked to Hope a bit on the phone and I said, well, could you send me some video, which she did? And she's probably she's going to be laughing because of course the video she sent me, she's, she's riding in her backyard on a couple of normal horses, uh, and also some nice videos of her showing her own horse Remy down under. Um, and I just took one look at her and I was like, this kid understands connection. She's got a natural seat. She needs help with it, but she's got a natural seat and a natural connection. And she understands how to, how to frame a horse from the rear end to the front end. And I knew that she had the little bit of it, you know, that's special it. And I thought, that's, that's a talent. I thought I want to meet her. I want to see how smart she is, how, what her work ethic is because that's very, very important in my stable. Nobody gets to come here and just ride. That doesn't happen. They all have to the whole team, muck stalls, they muck stalls. They feed, they groom the horses because I don't want to produce people in my stable. I don't want to produce professionals who don't know how to take care of the entire horse. So they need to know how to take care of the feet. They know, need to know how to take care of the legs. They need to know how to recognise injury. They know how to, they need to know what it feels like to sit on an injured horse so that they can recognize it and then do the rehab. They have to be responsible for that. Hopefully they don't injure too many. Um, you know, they have to know the whole system. So I wanted to work with her and Australia's a long way away. So I said, you know, come for a couple months and let's see, come for a couple months and let's see if we can work together. And I I'm happy.

Hope (00:25:29):

I'm happy.

Natasha (00:25:36):

Yeah. And let's go back. Like you said, you could see that there was an, it was that in her, in her riding and in her physical, as you said, seat, the connection or is there, how important do you think mindset is like that she you've mentioned work ethic and what about the hunger to succeed? Or the willingness grit? Because I also feel people are like, yeah, I'll do what it takes. I'll do what it takes. That's really hard. I'm not doing that. Well, hang on. Can you talk a little bit more about the mindset that you think is required for someone like hope to succeed and what you see in hope? Um, which is why she's, she's doing so well with this?

Catherine (00:26:15):

Well, that was part of the reason I wanted her to come try out for the job. Cause she looks fabulous on a horse from right from the beginning. The first few videos that I saw of her, I thought, Oh, she looks fabulous on a horse, but let me tell you, after 30 years in this business, I can tell you tenacity wins over talent every single time. So people with work ethic and people who are really dedicated people who can take the hard knocks of the business, because this is a, this is a tough business to stay in. There's always, you know, you're one bad step away from having to get another horse. You're one bad step away from having to be out of the saddle for six months. It's um, there's there's injuries to deal with. There are all kinds of things. A horse gets sold that you've developed. You know, you have to learn to take those mini blows and you have to look at them as, okay, well, one door closed, two more will open. I just have to find the open doors. And if you don't have that kind of tenacity and that kind of grit, and also the ability to get up every morning and do this very physical physically demanding job, then there's no point in trying it. You know, people, people dream about doing this, but I will tell you in your dreams, you will never sweat like you do in a day in my stable and the reality of this job, the reality, it is a hard job. It is a physically hard job. It is a mentally hard job. So I was really, you know, for such a young person to come so far. I knew she's young. She's still, you know, sometimes I look at her, I think, Oh my God, you're so young, but she's just pretty smart. She, she knows what she wants. And she is a tough, she's a tough cookie gets up in the morning and she gets job done.

Natasha (00:28:02):

Yeah. Yeah. I love it. And like I said, like even with what you've done at 15, and then you finished your degree and you've turned 21 and you still paying that mortgage, there's this so many people on the planet that aren't even there yet. So yeah. I'm so excited about your future. I can't wait, are you competing? Obviously? I don't know if the word shut down, but is there any competition plans or do we have to get the seats sorted first? Where, where are we at with that?

Hope (00:28:30):

Well, I actually have a competition next week, but I did injure my back this week. So trying to get back in the saddle. Today's a little bit better. I saw a physio this morning and she helped me out a lot. So I'm hoping I wake up a lot better tomorrow.

Natasha (00:28:49):

Well, we have a laugh fingers crossed for you and I can't wait to hear the results. Um, and I think it's just there. So I always ask 'em what's is there a, uh, uh, for both of you a really low point in your riding where you went, Oh God, I think I might need to give up or, you know, it was just such a devastating, low you've come last you like the horse freaked out or the horse, you know, what's one of your lowest, um, or embarrassing things where you decided, Oh, maybe I'm not a rider. Maybe I should give up. Do you have any of those stories? And, and then, um, at the end, tell me your best, most successful moment that you are just so proud of. And so thrilled about that. We can end on the high

Catherine (00:29:30):

I have long lists. Hope, She can go first

Hope (00:29:33):

I did showing for like the first 15 years of my life, I don't have it over here in America, but Australians know what it is. And there was definitely like, there were multiple times where I was like, I didn't want to do this anymore. I'm going to give up. I'm never going to like, I'm never going to go anywhere. Um, and then of course my mom was incredible and she was like, why don't you try dressage? So I bought well mum brought, my first warm blood and my love for dressage came from that and I have not looked back. Um, and then probably the one, the biggest achievement I have accomplished is last year at the 2019 Australian dressage championships remmy down under, and I won the advanced five cm, like 71%. And that feels like 38 people in the class. So that was, yeah, yeah, yeah. That was after I had been away for three months. So I think I was home for a month and I went straight to nationals. Yeah.

Catherine (00:30:37):

Well you see what good coaching can do.

Natasha (00:30:39):

Yeah. But you couldn't sit trot. You were trying to find your sitting trot.

Hope (00:30:48):

It was hard. Like I had States the week after I got home and I was worried going into state. I was like, how am I going to get through a test? But I made it happen.

Natasha (00:31:00):

I love it. What about you Catherine?

Catherine (00:31:05):

Wait way too many. I mean, I think every professional in their career at some point just says, I can't go on, but I, I have such a love, such a passion for what I do. And I'm, I'm so addicted to the feeling of good riding that if I don't, if I don't ride on a daily basis and not just your average horse, but a good horse, I get depressed. I mean, I seriously get depressed. So, um, it's very important for me to keep riding as long as I possibly can in this lifetime. And I remember distinctly, I had a very difficult horse. His name was Cadillac and anybody who's been active on the dressage scene in the last 10 years would know Cadillac. He was very, very difficult horse. And I remember taking him along with my other grand Prix horse at the time, he was a pre st. George horse to Rotterdam, which is one of the biggest shows in Europe. And I entered the pre st. George international with him there. And he was shying in the test and turning around and so difficult. And I came out of the test thinking, Oh, it's just so miserable. I was last in the class with 59%, right above me with 60 was occupying Greenspan. And right above that with was Isabelle verite with 61, we were all three of us were last in that class. And I thought, you know what? These guys have difficult horses in a bad time too. And then the next day we all rode the intermediate one. And I was third from last and AKI was behind me and Isabel was last. And so, and I actually got to know both on and Isabelle, you know, they weren't good friends, but we went to so many horse shows together that, you know, I, they were colleagues. I could speak with them. I watched them have a lot of ups and downs in their careers. And I think you have to understand that people who are winning at world cup and the Olympics, they have setbacks too. And they're just as disappointed when their PF doesn't work or when they fall out of a pure wet or a horse goes lame before competition. Um, you know, we all have setbacks in this sport. I do think the loss of horses, whether it's through soundness or, or Cadillac died as when he was 14, he was 14. And he was just about, I, in my opinion, to pop into a really successful international career, he'd already won quite a bit, but he was getting at that point, well, enough trained that he was, um, becoming steadier in the arena and more reliable, but he had an unfortunate injury at 14 and he ended up having to be put down. That was blow. That was, that was huge for me. And it was very hard for me to recover from that. Um, but since then, you know, horses have come and gone and I just have to always remind myself that I can make another one. That's what I do.

Natasha (00:33:50):

Yeah. Yeah. And what would you say you've had so many amazing achievements. Do you have the crowning Of all of them, what's your best, the most, And it might not even be a win. It might, you know, what gives you that biggest, proud feeling of that?

Catherine (00:34:09):

Well, it's interesting that you hit on that point. Yeah, Because I have had a lot of top achievements. I think my first world cup for me, that was huge that I, that I made it to world cup so early in my career and I did a second world cup and I've ridden for the U S team at top top competitions. I've won in Europe five, one internationally, nationally been to some of the best four shows in the world. Um, but really when I get a horse trained in my system and that horse makes a mind connection with me and I feel like all I need to do now is think what I want. I think it, with my seat, think it with my mind and the horse responds and I have those moments where I go, yes, I know that through this systematic training that I'm doing, I have changed my horses life. That's the hugest, it's the hugest thing for me, because really dressage is about gymnastics. And it's about turning your horse into a top top athlete, Frankie, for instance, this mare that I'm riding right now, that's been with me her whole life. She was born. I bred her. Um, I watched other people train her for years and I always thought she was pretty and cute. And, but she, every time I got on her, which is like once a year, she didn't interest me. I had felt no bond to her. She wasn't an exciting horse for me to ride. So everybody else got to ride her. She was a school horse for years and it took, it's taken me a year. And about three months to finally reach a point with her, where, when I look at her in the morning, she looks at me and we know what our day is going to be like, and she's starting to lean into the worksheets, starting to offer me things that she never would before. So she really knows what I want and she's clicked in and she's keen. And that feeling is that's a thrill for me. That's what brings me back to the saddle every day is it's the daily work. It's if I didn't have the competition, I wouldn't do it because it's the competition that makes me want to get better all the time. But it's, it's, it's in the daily work. That really makes me happy.

Catherine (00:36:06):

That's huge. Thank you so much for sharing. And I think that's so important too, too. It goes beyond you put an aide on and the horse responds when you said you think it, and it happens. And I don't think you have to be grand prix for that. I think I've experienced that. I think hopefully a lot of people listening have gone. I felt that once out of the 10 million rides that I've had, and if that's the goal to go, we want more of that. And more of that and more of that. Um, that's that's and it's hard to put into words that, that feeling, I think that's, that's really cool. Super, thank you so much for your time. Anything else you would like to share before we finish up?

Hope (00:36:47):

Yeah, I would say for like any young rider wanting to do this. Yeah. So any young rider wanting to do exactly what I have done. Um, let me just go with your gut feeling and be prepared to work hard. You should definitely give it your 110%. Um, and it's a little bit as much of the experience as you can. It's all work, all work out, but I must say do your research because that's one thing I didn't do, and I didn't not realize how much health insurance and car insurance was going to cost me. So that is a massive setback. So yeah, definitely do your research, but in the long run, it's all worth it. And yeah, definitely go with your gut feeling because you will experience things that you've never experienced before and you create fabulous memories. And I definitely can't think Catherine and also giving me this opportunity and having faith in me.

Natasha (00:37:46):

Well, it must make you feel so confident when, when an amazing human being like Catherine says, yeah, you can ride and yet, you know, we can help. And then you're getting that help all the time. You're just, it's just so much confidence. It's such a confidence spiral. You're good. And then you, you're, you're getting help to get better, so you get better. And so then that, and just keeps going up. So I can't wait to see you unfold. I'm very excited to follow your journey.

Hope (00:38:10):

Thank you.

Natasha (00:38:11):

Anything else you would like to offer Catherine? I know you do some amazing things. You mentioned some online, um, remote coaching, please tell us what you do and how you can help people.

Catherine (00:38:22):

Well, I I've actually had a lot of people from Australia inquire about remote coaching, but most of them seem to think, um, that I have some magic recipe for, uh, providing it for them when in fact, what you really need a wifi connection in your arena. And if you have a wifi connection at your arena, you can connect to any infrastructure in the world. Um, and I actually have a blog about to be published on the Chronicle of the horse website. I think it's coming out today or maybe tomorrow, um, that gives you my recipe for online coaching, how to, how to actually set it up at your own arena. Right? So, uh, you know, I'm happy to help in that way. I have a lot of training videos online that have been been, uh, published by other companies. I'm in the process of setting up my own online training site, which people subscribe to and have a look at the videos there and get some help through the website if they need to. But that's probably another year in the making it's, it's, uh, there's a lot of information to put out there. What I thought it would be a simple project, but when I start trying to map out my entire system with video clips and photographs and writing, that is a major project.

Natasha (00:39:30):

Yeah. Well at least all that work. It can go into a book, it can go into the program, it can go into, you know, you'll be, it's great that you're documenting the whole thing. Cause I can't even imagine, Oh, I've just been so lucky to have this tiny insight into your brain. And I can only imagine all that coolness in there. So that's so good that you're getting it out so it can help out everyone else. Fabulous. Like I'm feeling, there's a lot of people in Australia that, um, especially young people it's like, maybe I should go to university. There might be parental pressure. You should go study and get a real job horses aren't a real job. Um, and all that kind of stuff. Did you struggle with any of that?

Hope (00:40:08):

Well, I actually worked from when I was, I think I started when I was 15 and I worked in childcare, so I was studying to do my cert three all through school. Um, I graduated the cert three and I graduated school, obviously working in childcare. I worked in childcare, when I left last year. So I was, I left when I was seven. I left school when I was 17 and I ended up finishing the childcare job when I was 19 and they actually bought a house when I was 18. So I was like, there's no point really going to university. I need to stay. I need to work to pay for my mortgage. So I just studied a diploma of child care. Well, definitely early childhood. And I just finished that last week too, actually. So that's all done and that's my backup.

Speaker 1 (00:41:02):

And I used to, did you sell the house? or are you still paying for the morgage?

Hope (00:41:04):

Yeah, I still, I still paid for the mortgage.

Natasha (00:41:10):

Good on you. That is such everyone listened to this. Like you can do this and you can do it all. It sounds like you've got a very good head on your shoulders.

Hope (00:41:18):

Yeah. I was very lucky with my mom. She supported me a lot and helped me make that decision.

Natasha (00:41:23):

Yeah. Yeah. That's huge. That's huge. Um, OK so, uh, what's the, what would you say is the biggest thing that you've learned from Catherine? So far?

Hope (00:41:33):

My seat, My seat.

Catherine (00:41:37):

Tell us, tell us more. What was the seat before and what have you learned?

Hope (00:41:42):

Obviously, I was riding in a prestige back home, um, which I thought was so comfortable. And then I came here and I started riding in the shield test method, which we ride in a stupen here. And I have never ridden in such a comfortable saddle. It takes a bit to get used to, but eventually you figure out how to ride in it. Catherine can probably talk about this a lot more.

Catherine (00:42:10):

She's still a beginner on the stand and saddle, but she's doing it. She's learning very, very, very fast. So now to begin to ride.

Natasha (00:42:18):

I have no idea what you guys are talking about, Tell me more!

Catherine (00:42:21):

Okay, well the stuben saddle, the stuben saddle that I ride in as a stuben Genesis special, and that's one that's been morphed out of the old shell Thai saddle, which was a tristen and special. They were both made by Steuben and steuben approached me during the middle of my international career in Germany and asked me if I would help them design a new model of Steuben, which I did. And that's the stupid Genesis special. Um, it's a saddle without knee rolls. So it doesn't wedge the rider in. And it has a very special seat that is, is somewhat flexible and gives almost a trampoline effect on the horse. So it's really comfortable for the rider's seat and back and seat bones. It's got a Biomek seat. So there's a channel for your, your tailbone and it makes the horses extraordinarily comfortable. There's a lot of features on the saddle that the shape of the tree, the diminished pressure panel, it's a really very old saddle. That's been renovated into comfort for riders. So, um, it, it allows a freedom in the horses back. Like if you were to come to our stable and we were to pull some horses out of the stall, you'd say, how do you get, what do you feed your horses? How do you get them to look like that? Well, that's, it's good riding and it's it's muscular development. So our horses have really round elastic, muscular toplines at the base of their necks are big. Their loins are big. And that all comes from riding in this type of saddle and this style of riding. But this style of riding requires an elastic balanced seat. And unfortunately I think that most people in this day and age learn to hold on, they learn to wedge themselves into one position and make their leg really straight and their hip really straight. And they hold themselves still on the horse. Um, and they, they use a big knee roll and they're, they look good in the still photograph, but they look very stiff and stiffen on yielding in video. So I've been working hard on, on Hope seat. When she first came for the three month tryout. I had a riding a lot without her stirrups worked a lot on her seat. By the time she went back to Australia to get her visa, she looked great. And then she was gone a couple of months when she came back and I thought, Oh no, we have to start over again.

Hope (00:44:29):

And I must say, I went home. And for the first month I could not sit trot. Like, it was so hard to sit trot.

Natasha (00:44:36):

Oh, wow. And then you broke and then Catherine had to help

Catherine (00:44:43):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because I, I really want my riders to develop an elastic following, uh, knowledgeable seat before they learn to use their power on a horse. In other words, you learned to follow the motion before you learn to influence the motion. Once you've learned, influenced the motion, then you can create what you want. But that takes years even for superintendent. Yeah, no, it's true. But even for super talented people like her, it takes, it takes time. It takes dedication. It takes a lot of hours in the saddle. It takes good instruction and absolutely the right saddle and some good horses to train on.

Natasha (00:45:24):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So yeah. Tell us more, use it. So. Are they, they're obviously a huge sponsor of yours. Catherine, tell us more about your sponsors.

Catherine (00:45:34):

Yes. It's not a huge sponsor of any rider and that they don't support us financially, but you can occasionally get to your own saddle to use from, from steuben, which is really nice. And I don't mean to disparage steuben. I love Steuben. I will probably go to my grave clutching my Steven's saddle. We're going to have to pry it out of my cold dead hands. So, um, yeah, steuben is a, is a huge sponsor for me and that without steuben, I would not be able to do what I do in my life. They are, you know, a lot of people will bring a horse to us for training, for instance. And we've started making before and after videos because Hope's new. My new social media vantages, you make a before and after video. And you know, the horse will come in stiff and not swinging through the back and holding the tail a little bit funny and the hips high and just not moving through the body the way we want it to. And we'll ride it correctly in our own, in our saddle or in the steuben saddle for even just a week. And all of the sudden you see a huge difference in the horses musculature, and then over a month or six months to a year, there's a major difference. So I can't live without my steuben and I can't can't keep enough praise on the company. They, they have stuck by their guns. They've stuck with, with their spring tree, which was patented many, many, many years ago. And the spring tree is unequivocably the best tree for a horse's back of any saddle produced in the world today. And unfortunately I think within a few decades, like within the last 20 years, a lot of new saddle companies sprung up and they, those saddle companies obviously wanted to make a profit. So they moved away from a handmade tree to a tree that's one piece of molded plastic. And that is very rigid and it doesn't bend and shift with the horse the way the horses back would naturally do. So those trees create a lot of pain in the horses. And also, you know, there's a lot of people getting involved in sport. A lot of women who didn't grow up with horses, getting involved in the sport. And so they've wanted the bigger knee role cause they think it makes them feel safer and they haven't really spent or invested the time in learning how to properly sit. So they put a big knee roll on, hold on. And then, you know, just work the horse's head down and try to look good. And they see pictures of top riders and they think, Oh, a long leg looks good. So they've got long legs and locked hips and big knee rolls. And they're really not safe on the horse because they haven't learned balance and relaxation and good elastic riding. So, but the saddle makers really turned in the direction of catering to those people because they were the biggest market. So they produced a very, uh, quick Purdue, um, quickly produced saddle with a cheap tree. But shockingly, they ask sometimes twice the money that steuben asks us for their saddles and the steuben saddle is without a doubt, the best thing you can do for your horses back. And if you really want to do your first suspected favor, then you should invest in the saddle that, that I give them my endorsement on because it has a very special tree, was a tree that was invented by mr. Tice himself, mr. Schulte, Tyson Steuben worked together to make that tree

Natasha (00:48:48):

Thats huge. So say it again, cause I want to make sure everyone listens that it's the Genesis. Did you say that's the one that has the best tree or

Catherine (00:48:56):

The Genesis special? And the reason that it's called the special is because it has a special tree. So there's a whole, a whole line of steubens called Genesis that have the normal spring tree in them. The student Genesis special has a special tree.

Natasha (00:49:12):

Okay. Thank you so much. You've taught me so much. I never would even consider. I know me and my husband have conversations Exactly right. How the words changed and how it's all driven around profit. And you can see that in the food industry, you can see that in so many and just see all these industries and the education. I've never heard anything of what you've said. So. Thank you so much for sharing that. And I'm so glad more people will get to learn that and help them with their horses backs and get that sorted. So that's huge.

Catherine (00:49:41):

You're welcome.

Natasha (00:49:44):

What else has sponsors, um, help you out?

Catherine (00:49:48):

I have a new boot sponsor this year that I'm super excited, excited about that's Derby boots from the Netherlands. Um, I've been acoustic fan my whole life. I've always written in clinic and I've had a couple other companies try to sponsor me. They've been very generous giving me lots of cool models and I've broken in all their boots. And then just there to help can tell you, I have like 12 pair collecting brand new boots, collecting dust in a corner,

Natasha (00:50:13):

But thats the hard big breaking in the new boots.

Catherine (00:50:14):

I know, I know, but I just never liked the riding feel that I did, my old, my nasty old Koenig's. I mean, they're sitting there with all these holes in them and you know, um, and finally Derby came along and made me a pair of boots and helpful tell you I ride in them everyday. Now. I love, I love them.

Hope (00:50:33):

They are beautiful.

Catherine (00:50:36):

Go ahead. Tell her they're actually Royal blue. They're right. Royal blue leather is I would never order such a thing. I I've always been a really, you know, black, Brown leather girl. It's Derby asked me, I said, Oh, just give me Brown leather boots. And like, no, no, no. You're going to Florida. You need something a little more modern Catherine, come on, pick yourself up. Mix yourself up a little bit. So now I have these bright patent leather boots that I'm going to turn it over to hope to match some new riding clothes with those. Yeah, no, I suppose don't match with these very, very they're so shiny. I can, I can do my hair looking in the, in on the boot.

Natasha (00:51:21):

You have to get into the matchy matchy. Like we've got to get on it and the saddle blanket.

Catherine (00:51:27):

Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to turn that over to hope cause she's good with the matchy matchy thing and

Natasha (00:51:33):

Good, good. I love it. Um, any other sponsors that we need to mention?

Catherine (00:51:39):

Well, Bevington mills is our feed sponsor. They give us a little reduced price on our feed and I think it's one of the best actually I stuck with Bob Bevington mills. Well, before they ever gave me a discount, just because I really believe in what they do. And we have another feed company here. That's importing some feeds. It's called Emerald Valley, natural health. These people are fabulous. They give us like product called fiber beat, which is again, something that I strongly believe in and you'll find in my stable. I don't have any sponsors that I don't believe in. I don't, I will not talk about anybody whose products I'm not supportive of, but this fiber beat is a as a low sugar beet pulp that is quick soaking. And we use it every meal with our horses, our horses never get a dry meal. So when they're getting their grain, they get always get a scoop of really wet soupy fiber beat with that. And because we're in two very hot regions, um, it really helps with hydration. It helps keep me, it helps the horses to have wet fiber with every single meal. Um, and I've always been also a huge fan of the mushrooms, the mushroom matrix mushrooms, uh, supplements that I use with my horses.

Natasha (00:52:53):

I would, I'm learning so much. I love this.

Catherine (00:52:58):

Yeah. Um, well, it's, it's a supplement that you can give your horses. And it's also made for humans. There's a company in California that produces only organic mushroom mixes. And the mushrooms are very interesting in that they they're they're mushrooms. Certain types of mushrooms are very good at, um, clearing their antioxidants. So they clear free radicals from the body after work. They really help with recovery from the horses work. And we all know that mushrooms can affect the psyche of a human being or a horse. And they have a couple sort of calming type, um, um, recipes that I have found very useful in horses that were particularly sensitive and difficult. Oh. And help you almost live. It will be one of our fabulous sponsors is Uzbeks. We have some great, great helmets from Uzbeks. Hope Hasn't gotten her first one yet, but what's that?

Natasha (00:53:54):

Do we have colors that we matching the blue?

Catherine (00:53:56):

Oh yeah, that was actually my first bling was my Uzbeks helmet. I have like a Navy suede look on the sides and a red trim with this huge field of Swarovski sparkles in the middle. It's gorgeous

Natasha (00:54:09):

This sounds insane. Hope you need to send us a photo of all this, of all this stuff from our social media. I want to say. That's amazing. I love it. Love it, love it, love it. Um, and so hope I hear that you've got some amazing help from some sponsors in Australia. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?

Hope (00:54:25):

Yeah, absolutely. So I have three sponsors in Australia. I've got HIPAA health, which are all natural products. My horse actually had a Gracie Hill and we had like, nothing would heal it. We tried antibiotics, we tried cortisone injections, everything, nothing would get rid of it. Um, so they actually sent me to, for a sample and it was gone within two weeks. So I approached them about sponsoring me and they were like, absolutely. And I have never been so supportive of a product. They work, they are fantastic. And they are completely natural. Um, then I have a question online, which is horse gear,

Natasha (00:55:03):

um, is it matchy, matchy.

Hope (00:55:05):

Yeah, yeah. All of that. Um, and then dr. Show Australia. So that's shampoos, detangler. They've got a fantastic brush, which is incredible. And it goes through the horses tail, like a glove.

Natasha (00:55:22):

Um, I think if I take this brush and the broom You were mentioning away from you, you just can't function, but with these to things your grooming is good.

Hope (00:55:31):

Yes. We actually have one of the brushes here in America. So we use that every day.

Natasha (00:55:36):

Oh.

Catherine (00:55:37):

And she is hand cuffed to the broom. So you won't be able to get it away from her very easily.

Hope (00:55:42):

Yeah. Then my, my three massive sponsors. Great, cool.

Natasha (00:55:46):

Well, we put them in the show notes so everyone can access and see what they are about. Thank you so much.

Natasha (00:55:52):

And who else helps you, uh, in the stable or in your writing to help you get those things Results, Catherine?

Catherine (00:55:59):

Well, I have to tell you, I, I, I embarked on a new project this year, not this year, but within the last year. And that was to try to get some part owners in one of my top horses. So I actually formed the first syndicate that I ever participated in with my top horse Celine and I have three major supporters within that syndicate. And that has been, that has been extraordinarily supportive and helpful for me. It's the solstice syndicate, um, because we found saline on the winter solstice. So, and saline also means opposite the moon and she believes she's a goddess. So it all kind of ties together. Yeah. That's the first time I've ever participated in a, in a syndicate. And I have to say I was skeptical at first, but I think that more dressage riders should do it because when you can get some support behind you for a top horse, meaning you can keep the horse, uh, it's training is supported. It's show costs are supported and you don't feel like you have to sell it just to put bread on the table. It's, it's a fantastic thing.

Natasha (00:56:57):

Yeah. It would make you feel so safe and gooey just knowing that that's all sorted.

Catherine (00:57:03):

Thats a good way todescribe it.

Natasha (00:57:05):

Yeah. Do you have any advice for riders? Like did you, um, how do you, how would you go about doing that? Did you just put together a proposal of what you thought was made the most sense.

Catherine (00:57:14):

yes. I put the horse before the cart actually. So I, I had the horse already and in trying to find a way to support her, I decided to sell shares in her. And in America, the eventing world has a pretty big, um, tradition of syndicating horses. So I went to them for some help. And I have a really good friend here in my neighborhood who participates in some eventing syndicates herself. And she showed me some of the contracts, got advice from a lot of people and ended up being able to, to also with my first participant, my first clinic or my first, um, syndicate participant, she helped me a lot in putting the contract together. And we're really happy with the way it worked out because there's a lot of people around who would love to be owners of top horses, but can't, can't afford to do a top Olympic prospect on their own, or they don't want to take the risk of actually full ownership. So when you split it up, my syndicated has eight shares in it keeping three, three for myself, I'm always going to be the majority shareholder. There were five I'm up for sale and I've, I'm down to one that still needs to be sold. So, um, it's just, it's extraordinarily helpful and it gives you a good feeling. Cause you know, you can maintain management of the horse and you don't have to ever sell that horse unless you decide that that horse should be sold. It's, it's a really nice feeling.

Natasha (00:58:41):

Yeah. And like you say that the last time any of the people to be involved, get out of the ride and I'm down here in the ricing, like so many people say I own a bit of a race horse, so I love the idea and I, I it's, I love just chatting to you. I think you're very much thinking outside the box thinking, I'm sure you have it the same with the training. It's all like all the answers are out there and what can we put in and play with and make work for this situation right now. Very cool. Good. Well, that was so fun. Thank you so much. Have an amazing fun day in the sun. So is it not time for you? Yes. Yes. Okay. Well,

Natasha (00:59:22):

Good luck with you back. Hope and fingers crossed for that. Competition has crossed a million times for 2021, Catherine, get it all happening. And um, I might be in touch about these steuben things. I'm very excited to, to go research now and, um, with them up, see what they look like.

Catherine (00:59:39):

You can find if you Google haddad steuben Chronicle of horse blog. Yes. I've written about the stueben quite a bit. Quite intensely, actually. Cool.

Hope (00:59:53):

If you watched Katherine's Instagram does a video of me riding without stripe and Catherine talks a little bit about these sitting trot.

Natasha (01:00:00):

Awesome. All right. Have an amazing night guys and I'll see you soon.

Catherine (01:00:06):

Bye bye.

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