This week, I’m thrilled to be chatting with USA international Grand Prix dressage rider Catherine Haddad Staller. Based in Germany before returning to open her own training facilities in New Jersey and Florida in 2012, Catherine has represented her country in many top European and US events including the World Equestrian Games and the FEI World Cup. With too many successes to list and some amazingly talented horses, Catherine is someone we follow regularly. Read on to discover more about this incredibly talented lady, her life to date, her horses and her hopes for the future as well as some top tips for success.
Tell us a little about you and your horse
Frankie is a Hanoverian mare that I bred in Germany in 2009. She came to the USA with me after I got married in 2011. She was basically a school horse to all the up n coming riders who wanted to learn from me. I took over the ride when she was 10 years old and now, we do international Grand Prix together!
Before Frankie, I trained six other horses to success in international Grand Prix.
How did your horses come into your life?
I have purchased, trained, and sold horses after upgrading them my whole life.
How long have you been riding?
When and where do you ride?
Florida in the winter, New Jersey in the summer and often, in Europe for 2-3 months per year.
How did you start riding?
I wanted a pony as a young girl and my mother obliged.
What you and your horses currently working on?
Grand Prix. Always Grand Prix.
What do you love about riding?
It sets my mind on fire and brings me a lot of physical joy. The kinship with my horses, the mind/body meld is really empowering.
What you would you like to be doing in the future and do you have any goals?
I just started a new company, NorCordia, with Danish partners. I plan to develop it into a successful equine investment company, and I hope that by doing so I will ride better and better horses each year.
Have you ever had to deal with nerves in riding?
How do you deal with them?
I learned to let my breath take the nervousness away. Also, after many years of going down the centreline at European shows, I just didn’t have time or energy to get nervous anymore!!
Your Top Tip
My best tip for all riders is a quote from Willi Schultheis whom I keep close to my heart: “Es gibt immer ein Morgan. ““There’s always tomorrow.”
The Final Furlong
Who would be your dream horse to ride?
Semper Fidelis is still the horse I ride in my dreams
Who is your equestrian hero?
If you could have five people to dinner, who would they be?
My husband, Barack Obama, Jon Stewart, Meryl Streep, and Angela Merkel
Favourite colour horse?
A good horse has no colour. But my best horses have always been chestnut.