Excerpt from the July issue of Heels Down Magazine.
It took more than NAJYRC gold medals for Caitlyn Shiels to forge her career.
Young riders take note: Caitlyn Shiels is the product of persistence. While it may seem that two show jumping gold medals at NAJYRC set her up for a sure-fire professional career, the rise to being a professional rider and trainer at an operation like Canterbury Farm in Hampshire, Ill., takes a lot more than talent to achieve.
These days, Caitlyn, 34, can be found in the ring at horse shows around the country competing client horses, developing her own string, or bringing students up through the ranks and instilling her hard-earned lessons in their development.
“I have a job that I love with amazing owners and a great team behind me. I have the luxury of showing beautiful derby horses, beautiful hunters, and have time to put into my own horses so I can do the Grand Prixs again,” said Caitlyn, with an undeniable tone of gratitude in her voice.
“I think (younger riders) look at jobs like that and think, ‘Well, I did great in medal finals, so I’ll just be a rider.’ It doesn’t work like that. I know it doesn’t, because I was there.”
For Caitlyn, it took a firm mindset, a lot of patience, even more work ethic – and the willingness to go wherever an opportunity appeared.