Edited Press Release
At the 2022 College Preparatory Invitational’s opening address at the West Palm Beach Marriott in Florida, The Plaid Horse made up two of the evening’s seven speakers.
CPI Florida, held annually at West Palm’s Jim Brandon Equestrian Center, just minutes from Wellington’s Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and the Winter Equestrian Festival, offers young equestrians (grades 8-12) the opportunity to explore the college equestrian experience through comprehensive education, competition, and scholarship/community service programs.
The Plaid Horse‘s digital content manager and a co-host on The Plaidcast, Catie Staszak spoke to the student-athletes about forging their own pathways in the industry. The Most Outstanding Senior of the University of Miami’s Class of 2014, Staszak has created a unique career as a media agent and broadcast analyst. The color commentator and journalist for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League, she has announced at showjumping events across the globe. She has also operated her boutique media agency Catie Staszak Media, Inc. since 2018, with a focus on storytelling-based marketing. In 2021, she received the inaugural AHP Equine Media NextGen Award for making “a significant impact in advancing equine media while upholding journalistic excellence, integrity, and trust in a competitive communications world.”
“It was a great experience to be able to speak to the student-athletes at CPI Florida. I remember being those riders’ ages and how daunting college-related decisions were,” Staszak said. “One of the most impactful lessons I have learned is that there is no formula or set pathway to success, and I didn’t know that in high school. I enjoyed sharing that with the future of our industry.”
The Plaid Horse Publisher Dr. Piper Klemm gave the keynote address of the evening, engaging the crowd with her inspiring speech about finding one’s bravery. Speaking to the power and value of education, along with working with those that push you to be better, Klemm shared her perspective on the different forms that “bravery” can take on.
The Plaid Horse‘s publisher since 2014, Klemm received her B.S. with Honors in Chemistry from Trinity College (Hartford, CT) in 2009 and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. She is an active member of the hunter/jumper community, owning a fleet of lease ponies and showing her horse MTM Sandwich in adult hunter divisions. Her goal is that everyone would take the time to be as educated about horsemanship and hunter-jumper sport as possible. In addition to The Plaid Horse, she pursues her commitment to education by teaching various college courses at Clarkson University.
“I always look forward to speaking at the College Preparatory Invitational and sharing my experience in the equine industry,” Klemm said. “The longer I have worked in this industry, the more I can say with confidence that success is possible in this sport with hard work. That takes bravery and taking every opportunity possible to educate yourself. These student-athletes are doing that by participating in a CPI event.”
Both Klemm and Staszak often speak on The Plaidcast about the many avenues that careers can take within the equestrian industry, and that was another focal point of the evening at CPI. The Plaid Horse is a big supporter of education; whether it is a podcast, online or printed, The Plaid Horse has an avenue for equestrians of all ages. Recently, the publication launched its Education Hub for equestrian student-athletes, including its Aspiring Collegiate Riders page, which is designed to aid prospective collegiate riders in their search for the perfect program. A digital roster of junior riders seeking recruitment to a college riding team, the page will serve as a resource for both student-athletes and college coaches at both the IHSA and NCEA levels.
During the CPI event, athletes experience the college equestrian competition format and win scholarships in hunt seat equitation competition; they can explore an equestrian-focused college fair, attend educational presentations and take advantage of the opportunity for direct conversations with college admissions representatives and equestrian team coaches.