Elgin, Illinois – Following decades of industry experience, professional rider and trainer Caitlyn Shiels has launched her own True North Stables, dedicated to providing top-of-the-line hunter/jumper riding and training services with the goal-oriented equestrian in mind with locations in Illinois and Florida.
“It’s an exciting, natural next chapter,” said Shiels, who spent the last four years working as an assistant trainer for Greg Franklin of Canterbury Farm in Hampshire, IL. “I’ve always wanted and worked toward being on my own, operating my own business, and growing as an individual. The timing now is fantastic. We – myself, the horses, and clients – had a really solid year in 2017, which was a great stepping stone for me in my career, and I feel very ready for this next venture.”
Shiels and True North Stables will be based in the Chicago area throughout much of the year and in Florida during the winter months, where Shiels is currently spending the month of January in Wellington and the following months in Ocala. She will be focused on her own jumper mount, Cavalier II, a limited group of client horses, and catch-riding for other top professionals and owners.
“With a select group of horses in Florida this winter, it will allow me to really focus on client horses and on doing some catch-riding here this winter as well,” said Shiels, who trained with Andre Dignelli of Heritage Farm throughout her junior years. “It’s the perfect next step, and I’m looking forward to seeing what both the winter season and the future hold.”
Shiels professional career was kick-started following the 2004 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships, at which she won both the team and individual gold medals. In the coming years, Shiels worked alongside and apprenticed with Jonathan and Christine McCrea, Ken and Emily Smith, Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward, and others, before joining the team at Canterbury Farm in 2013.
While at Canterbury Farm, Shiels competed successfully in both the jumper and hunter rings, finishing as the World Champion Hunter Rider (WCHR) Midwest Region Developing Rider champion in 2016 and fourth in the WCHR Developing Pro Challenge at Capital Challenge in 2017. Notably, Shiels has qualified and competed horses at the Devon Horse Show, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, the Washington International Horse Show, the CP National Horse Show, and the United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) International Hunter Derby Championships.
Shiels and True North Stables are proudly sponsored by E’ce Equestrian, Hayward Sportswear, Equine Omega, Samshield, Butet, Blueberry Hill, Tucci, and EquiFit, and are proud to work with photographer Fine Art Horses.