CAROLINE MICHELLE HOFFMAN - “Making equestrian dreams come true”
As early as age three, Caroline Michelle Siegel knew that horses would always be a part of her life. A passion nurtured by her grandfather laid the foundation for her equine career. While taking riding lessons in a hunter/jumper barn in Chicago, she realized the significance of the partnership between the horse and rider and it lit a fire for her to be a future competitor. Returning to Missouri led Caroline to become very involved in AQHA showing, competing, and judging quarter horses. She won world, state, and national awards. The lure of the mountains and big ranches led Caroline to attend Montana State University focusing on agriculture business and equine science. Opportunities to work on different guest and cattle ranches broadened horizons, and she learned to drive teams, to outfit and guide packs trips, and to teach fundamental riding. During one such adventure in Yellowstone National Park, Caroline met and fell in love with the Tennessee Walking Horse. The speed with which they covered ground fascinated her.
After college she moved back to Missouri and began assisting Steve Ayres of Eudora Missouri learning how to train pleasure walking horses. Her extensive riding background quickly helped her to master the art of riding and showing Steve’s horses winning him many reserve and champion HAWHA ribbons. While under Steve’s tutelage Caroline began training her own futurity champions, moved to Kansas City, and accepted a teaching position at Misty River Equestrian Center, in Independence. She then became a CHA instructor focusing on all styles of riding including dressage, jumping, western pleasure and hunt seat. Wanting to expand her knowledge to include the riding and training of performance horses, Caroline began working for Michael Blewit at Arrowhead Stables in Odessa, Missouri. Becoming the first TWHBEA CRI in the state of Missouri, she realized the need for improved teaching methods in the Tennessee Walking Horse industry, and the lack of pleasure horse trainers in the area. At age twenty-six, Caroline Siegel opened Find Your Gait outside of Kansas City.
Focusing on the importance of the partnership between horse and rider is paramount at Find Your Gait. Caroline has trained several pleasure horses that compete successfully at the local and state level. She has gained national recognition working with Nicole Carswell as clinician and instructor. Many of her students compete on the national and state levels successfully. At Find Your Gait Caroline continues to nurture each horse and rider team helping them to achieve goals great and small. It is the mission of Find Your Gait to give everyone who comes through the barn doors a sense of freedom and self confidence that can only be achieved through equitation skill and a Tennessee Walking horse.
What Caroline's clients have to say:
"My experiences with Caroline have been nothing but positive! I have had 4 different riding instructors since I started riding 12 years ago and none of them have helped me achieve my riding goals the way Caroline has. She is quick to offer praise but also knows when to push me to take my riding skills to the next level." - Kristi M. McGregor
|"We board Clipper at Find Your Gait so all we have to do is show up and ride. Because we board him there, we get a riding lesson each week included in our board. It's best for us and for our horse." - Dale and Tyler|
|"I have learned so much from Caroline. At my first riding lesson, my hands were shaking so bad I could barely hold on to the reins! She is a really good teacher and never acts like my questions are dumb questions. Now, I have so much more confidence and I just get on my horse and go. Caroline searched for and found the perfect horse for me. I know Little Bit and I are going to be great friends!" - Kaiti Carpenter, age 9|
|"Caroline is extremely patient with Kaiti and me. We have learned so much in the short time we've been taking lessons. We drive 2-1/2 hours, one way, for our lessons and it's worth every mile. Kaiti never complains about the car ride, she just can't wait to get to the barn. Caroline has found us two of the best horses we could have ever asked for. I can't put a price on the knowledge, instruction and quality time we've gained while working with Caroline." - Kristin Carpenter|
|"JUST A HORSE"
From time to time, people tell me, "Lighten up, it's just a horse," or "That's a lot of money for just a horse." They don't understand the distance traveled, the time spent, or the costs involved for "just a horse." Some of my proudest moments have come about with "just a horse."Many hours have passed when my only company was "just a horse," but I did not once feel slighted. Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by just a horse," and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of "just a horse" gave me comfort and reason to overcome. If you, too, think it's "just a horse," then you will probably understand phrases like "just a friend," "just a sunrise," or "just a promise." "Just a horse" brings to my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. "Just a horse" brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of "just a horse" I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it's not "just a horse" but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. "Just a horse" brings out what's good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day. I hope that someday they too understand that it's not "just a horse" but it's the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being "just a woman." So the next time you hear the phrase "just a horse" just smile, because they "just" don't understand.