Plaidcast 368: Matt Piccolo & Taylor Kain by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services

Plaidcast Episode 368 Matt Piccolo Taylor Kain


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Piper speaks with two riders and trainers, Matt Piccolo from Nashville, Tennessee and Grand Prix rider Taylor Kain, who just moved from the US to Europe this past year. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!


  • Host: Piper Klemm of The Plaid Horse Magazine
  • Guest: Originally from Massachusetts, Matt Piccolo and husband Devan Cottrell run Arrow Hill Farm just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Matt teaches students ranging from children on their first ponies to lifelong riders on horses at horse shows ranging from Florida in the winter to Michigan in the summer.
  • Guest: Taylor Kain grew up in Wellington, Florida. As a junior rider, Taylor was a working student and catch rider for Jennifer Bieling, Frank Madden and Jimmy Toon among others. Taylor started out as a young professional working for Jimmy Toon, then freelanced for a while before working for New Hope LLC. Taylor and her now husband Geoff Case joined together eight years ago at Horseshoe Bend Stables mostly training and selling hunters. Six months ago the couple moved to the Netherlands to focus on top sport and young horse development. As of now, Taylor has risen to the top 50 on the USEF computer list and the top 1000 in the world.
  • Title Sponsor: Taylor, Harris Insurance Services, Taylor, Harris Insurance Services (THIS) was founded in 1987 to provide specialized insurance for all types of equine risk. THIS places their policies with the highest rated and most secure carriers, meticulously selected for reliability and prompt claims settlement. THIS is proud of their worldwide reputation for responsive and courteous service, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your equine insurance needs and provide you with a quote.
  • Photo Credit Anne Gittins Photography & Photo Courtesy of Taylor Kain
  • Subscribe To: The Plaid Horse Magazine
  • Sponsors: American Stalls, Purina Animal NutritionAmerica CryoLAURACEA, Wordley Martin Premium Equestrian Surfaces, BoneKare, Show Strides Book Series, With Purpose: The Balmoral Standard, Good Boy, Eddie and World Equestrian Center

This transcript was generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.

Piper Klemm 
[00:01:03] This is the plaidcast. I’m Piper Klemm, publisher of the Plaid Horse magazine, and coming up today on episode 368, I talk with two rider trainers, first with Matt Piccolo of Tennessee and then Grand Prix rider Taylor Kain, who recently moved from the US to Europe this past year. This episode is brought to you by Taylor Harris Insurance Services. 

Piper Klemm [00:03:09] Originally from Massachusetts, Matt Piccolo and husband Devin Cottrell run Arrow Hill Farm, just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Matt teaches students ranging from children on their first ponies to lifelong riders on horses, at shows ranging from Florida in the winter to Michigan in the summer. Welcome to the plaidcast, Matt. 

Matt Piccolo [00:03:26] Thank you, Piper, so much for having me. I’m a big plaidcast fan, so I’m excited to be a part of one. 

Piper Klemm [00:03:33] Tell us a little bit about how you kind of got started, with your career and how that transitioned into becoming a professional. 

Matt Piccolo [00:03:41] Okay. Well, I will tell you that I’ve always loved horses. Ever since I was little. I grew up, outside of Boston, in Medfield, Massachusetts. Now pretty far from home in Tennessee. But, I actually never had my own horses when I was a junior. But it didn’t stop me from from trying, my poor father. That I wrote him, pretty hard about, you know, always wanting my own. And, you know, I just got a series of no’s, which was fine. It all worked out, but I started riding at a local barn that taught riding lessons and would go to local horse shows. And honestly, we we evented a little bit. So that’s kind of where I started, and I loved it from the. I loved being in the barn. I loved picking hooves. I love, I love just as much as I love riding them. I love to everything. And I think, Piper, do you know, Kim Gatto. 

Piper Klemm [00:04:54] Yeah, she’s the author, right? Did she write? Yeah. She wroteBook. Yeah. I love that she did such a great job. 

Matt Piccolo [00:05:01] Yeah. So, like, Kim is a horse owner. And I wondered if you guys knew each other, but, she. When I was, like, a little kid, I think she always saw, like, how much I loved it. So she would. Honestly, we probably have her to blame for all of everything that happened after this. She would drive me around to the horse shows. I kind of just, like, see what it was all about. And I figured out pretty quickly that, like, that’s where I wanted to get. And Kim was, I think, the person who, when I was still a teenager, she was the one who referred me. She told me that I needed to if I wanted to do the hunters and the jumpers, that I should go. Ride with David Oleinik, which was kind of a big jump up from what I was doing, but I didn’t know any better. So I just went and knocked on David’s door and said, hello sir, I would like to start taking riding lessons, which he agreed to. He taught me some riding lessons, whether or not he should have. I’m still not sure, but, he pretty quickly figured out that, like, I was not going to be a showing customer, but he figured out that I also wasn’t going to stop showing up at 8:00 on Saturday mornings. So he kind of made a job for me as a kid that I would come on the weekends and I would groom, and I loved it. I learned everything about horse care and really turning them, turning show horses out nicely. When I was, when I was 14 or 15, I think, and I grew up a lot. It was great. And I think that weekend job turned into, they let me go on the road. And once summer rolled around and, I learned even more there just about being part of the horse shows and what it takes to get the horses to the ring. And I learned a lot, really, before I ever got to do. A lot of riding. You know, I had some riding opportunities there, but. That was probably what started my love for the hunters and the jumpers. And then when I was at David’s, I had a friend referred me to Gabby Hoyt Banfield when I was still in high school. She was really great, but she. Kind of saw, you know, how badly I wanted to do the horses. She made a lot of opportunities for me and, you know, would kind of say like, hey, you know, there’s one at the end of the aisle go get your saddle and, you know, hop on, go practice. She made a lot of opportunities for me. And. 

Piper Klemm [00:07:45] I’m going to jump in here for a second and say, like, it’s always so interesting to me. I think the people who, like, have watched a lot, before they really learn to ride, have. It’s interesting that that way works. And that’s not often like very preached. I feel like ever to children or, or even adults. But I, I still to this point have not really shown very much, but obviously I watch all the time, and I think it’s interesting we don’t talk about that enough, like how much you must have watched with David and watched all those horses show and, you know, watched how you prepare them in the morning and how that impacted them, like how that knowledge kind of settled into your intuition. 

Matt Piccolo [00:08:24] It was invaluable, for sure. And I think, it made me, it was a big part of why I’m the horseman that I am today. Right. I really I got to just meet so many cool people when I was 16 years old, you know, like, I got, you know, people that I’m still friends with today, which I it’s I love that that, like, the connections that I made when I was a teenager working amongst, you know, sort of like adults, that, you know, that’s been great that those connections, have been, have lasted me just this long. Right. But yeah, for sure, like I said, I was I was pretty bitter about I was pretty bitter about it when I was 15, you know, because I wanted very badly to be, you know. Doing what the 15 year old girls were that I was helping, right? You know, like, I wanted it really bad. But I was patient and just kind of found my own way. And for a while, I was like riding horses off cork boards and finding free leases off the internet. It’s amazing. I’m still alive. 

Piper Klemm [00:09:35] How did you how did you go through? How did you handle, like, that jealousy? Because I think it’s something that it’s not like with social media, especially now. It’s not going away. Like, I remember how big of a part that was for me when I was that age, grooming. You know, what did you go through to, like, tether yourself? 

Matt Piccolo [00:09:57] I don’t know. I don’t know because I look back on it now and I’m like, oh, that was not a good look for me. You know, for teenage me, but I, I think that I just kept going and I just wanted it so badly. And I did have so many kind people. Right, who were encouraging enough and help helped me. Right. Like little opportunities gave me the feeling that I, you know, it was still worth it to just keep going. And I did always have a feeling. Still, I kind of do sometimes, you know, I was always worried that I was always going to be behind. I always felt like because I didn’t have a junior hunter, an equitation horse and a junior jumper, that I was never gonna have horses in my life. But, you know, like, figured out your way. And, just meet lots of good people on the way, I think. You know, after I graduated high school, I went to the University of Findlay, which was super. That really gave me a leg up into a lot of people in the industry. Sam McCarthy was there at the time, and she did. She was so connected to so many people, you know, aside from everything that we learned at school. She just sent us out to go work, which I think was so important. I didn’t realize how much I was going to learn just from standing in someone else’s barn aisle. I think that was that was really invaluable to me. And that really gave me a huge leg up. 

Piper Klemm [00:11:37] And people don’t understand kind of the scale of Findlay. Like, they have, like over 300 horses, right? 

Matt Piccolo [00:11:42] Yeah, yeah. So they have, an English program and a Western program. The Western program is huge. I don’t even know how many horses they have at that farm now. But that English farm, I mean, I don’t know, it’s like at least 100 horses, I believe. And that’s been, you know, since we started the farm, huge resource. We try to, you know, do most of our hires from there are, you know. Assistant professional. Mackenzie Barnes came from there, and she’s worked for us for going on four years now. And it really that’s school for some reason, just, attracts the type of young professional, that really I’ve found has what it takes to be long lasting in the horse industry. So that’s been, great resource to have even since I graduated. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:40] Yeah, we have a probably our top performing intern right now is at University of Findlay. 

Matt Piccolo [00:12:46] Go Oilers. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:49] Okay. So you go to college. What was the decision like going to college? Was it obvious being from kind of a non horse family that you’re going to college? Or was it like did did you think about going all in or kind of where were you mentally at the end of high school? 

Matt Piccolo [00:13:05] Well, gosh, I don’t know. I think I was so bad at riding. I was just hoping that someone would hire me as a farm manager. I was I was like, I’m really good at wrapping legs. So, you know, that was what I was, what I was going on. But I think I definitely was going to go to school. But I knew that I wanted to, do something with the horses. So Findlay was the right the right choice for me. And it wasn’t until I was at school, I don’t think anyone ever made me feel like I could be a rider or a teacher, for sure. 

Piper Klemm [00:13:48] Okay. So you go through school, you get you see a lot of different programs. Get out there a bit, then you know what’s next? 

Matt Piccolo [00:13:55] Then I moved to Tennessee. That I was, you know, honestly, when I was from New England, I never thought I would be that far away from home. But it’s kind of where one of my first jobs was, and I went to where someone would hire me to teach and ride. And I really learned a lot my first couple of years outside of school about what it was, what it was really like. Right? Like what I was really, really like to have to go out and teach and ride. Oh, gosh, put your hunt coat on. And that was eye opening experience. I probably wasn’t quite ready for the first job that I had, but I did it anyway. And, it was still so important, right? I met so many great people and again, so many people that, like, saw that I was willing to show up and work hard, that were just kind to me. Right. And I think really, when I landed at David Wright’s. Yeah, at Hunter’s Court. That was probably the most important thing that I did, as I spent four years working for him. And he. Man. He was. He was a horseman, but he was. He was just. They don’t make people like that, Piper. He was he was a really good man. And he was patient with me and kind to me and would give me a little bit of information. And then he would go to the horse show for two weeks and be like, all right, cool, go, go ride. Go figure it out. And he would let the horses really teach me. You know, I learned a lot. I taught so many public riding lessons. Oh, my gosh. It was the best thing for me, you know, from teaching kids how to post to we had a college team. You know, I had to wear lots of different hats when I worked for David. 

Piper Klemm [00:15:42] Okay. This is a side thing for me, but it’s something that makes me crazy. When I judge these small horse shows, you ask for the trot and they all just completely, like, lean over to look for their diagonal and like, isn’t this a horrible thing? Like, I would rather these kids be on the wrong diagonal than, like, lean their entire body over? Like, what are we teaching them? Watching small horse shows? I feel like it’s such a bigger sin to lean your body over so much to look for your diagonal than it is to be on the wrong diagonal. 

Matt Piccolo [00:16:09] Yeah, you gotta teach the kids how to be cool, right? Be like right girl. Like sometimes you got to look a little bit like sometimes you’re figuring it out, but like, you know don’t don’t advertise it. 

Piper Klemm [00:16:17] Right, right. I just I’m like, okay, I’d rather you be on the wrong diagonal than look this hard. 

Matt Piccolo [00:16:23] Yeah. People don’t people don’t understand people that have to teach someone like how to post. I mean, that takes, like a special person. Like a very special person. That is really a skill set that not a lot of people in America I think possess. But it’s great. I will tell you, I like the little things that I learned from teaching beginner riding lessons or, you know, gosh, I broke colts out there. I, I mean, I rode lots of different horses. I taught, college riding lessons, all of those things that I just got to spend time doing and spend time practicing, have made me a better horseman, teacher, show rider. You know, just because I had the time to do it, I had the time to to practice and hone my skills and make errors. That’s a big part of it. 

Piper Klemm [00:17:19] Okay, so when do you start, like, really showing more? Is it kind of. Not yet. Or you’re still just doing a little bit of everything? 

Matt Piccolo [00:17:25] Oh, gosh. Well, when I worked for David, I didn’t really leave the farm very much. But David was the best, and he always made sure I had something to go ride. Brown one farm. Always, always, always, always. He like, if it was, baby green horse or a little jumper or, you know, sometimes a hard one or sometimes I don’t like whatever. He would just always made sure that I had something and would say, right, move your lessons around, make it happen, drive 45 minutes to the horse show you’re showing here. You know, come ride your horse and then you have to go back and, you know, teach public riding lessons until whatever. And I did it. And that was really great because I had David to be with me when. I was good and when I wasn’t good, and David never made me feel less than, he always made me look smart whether or not I was being smart. That was something that I was always really appreciate. But he gave me the time that I needed to grow up in the ring and start showing, and I was really compassionate when I was getting that experience. Which is something that I have really tried to pass on to, any young professionals that have been through our barn now. 

Piper Klemm [00:18:54] It’s so interesting because, like, I’m so obsessed with, like, the learning process and how do we make better students and better professionals and better amateurs and better horse people. And, you know, it’s it’s easy to be compassionate with someone who is. Working so hard. And I think a lot of people confuse, like not being compassionate with their riding with frustration that they’re not working hard enough on the other things. Does that make sense? 

Matt Piccolo [00:19:23] I think so. You know, it takes a lot, takes a lot of bravery. Right. Put your own coat on and go in the ring for anyone. But I think it can be especially intimidating as a young professional when you see everyone that maybe you respect or venerate so much. And you have to ride against them, right? I think that that can be very intimidating. And, it’s a matter of just just kind of doing it. I think, you know, I was lucky that I had someone in David to support me when I needed it. And then, when I didn’t have David. It was just a matter of going on the horse show and doing it later on and trying your best and, you know, finding people to help you as you go. That’s a continuing thing. But. You know that it’s just a matter of getting out there and and showing up, which takes a lot of courage, I think, especially when you’re, you know, new to it. 

Piper Klemm [00:20:31] So then how did things evolve? 

Matt Piccolo [00:20:33] David passed and I, I started the farm whether or not I was ready. It’s still up for debate. I will never forget. I told my father I was like, oh yeah, I’m going to go into business for myself. He was like, please don’t. No, that’s not you are really. I get my dad’s the best. But he was like, yeah, are you going to will you at least like send me your business plan? And I was like, my what? No, I was like, no, I already leased stalls and I got like a little group of people that want to come. It’s going to be great. What could go wrong? 

Piper Klemm [00:21:02] God, I love this because my, father called me. 

Piper Klemm [00:21:06] And, you know, said, why are you buying a print magazine? Don’t you realize print is dying? 

Piper Klemm [00:21:12] And it was probably at the same time because it was. That was 20, 2013, 2014. 

Matt Piccolo [00:21:17] Yeah, yeah, you got it. So and I was like, yeah, I don’t know. I’m going to figure it out as I go. And you know I well I am not recommending that. Please, please hear me that you could probably do more work than I did to prepare. You know, you do kind of have to lead with your heart if it’s going to work. And that is definitely the style that I took because I just started doing it. I just, you know, went and bought a trailer and, you know, some of the best advice. That I ever got when I did go out on my own was. Mr. Jim that worked at David’s. I mean, he said, great. It’s great for you. Eat the elephant. One bite it at a time. Right. Like, just do what you can when you can. Right? Like when you can afford a little more, get a little more and just keep going. 

Piper Klemm [00:22:10] I say that all the time. Yeah. Yeah. The. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 

Matt Piccolo [00:22:16] Yeah. Just do what you can. 

Piper Klemm [00:22:17] Do what you can. Yeah. Okay, so the lead with your heart thing. I love that because I do that too. All the time too. Obviously. Are you really, like, OCD and organized or. Like, I’m just curious because I think, like, the the personality types in the industry always fascinate me. And obviously you get to a certain level of the sport and everyone’s like super Type-A and I. 

Speaker 3 [00:22:39] Like struggle. 

Piper Klemm [00:22:40] To be around them. But like, are you super Type-A and then also lead with your heart? Or are you? 

Matt Piccolo [00:22:48] Lord, Piper, I don’t know what kind of type I am, girl, I like, I like, I, I don’t know if I identify as organized and I. 

Piper Klemm [00:22:57] I mean, I don’t so like, but I, I think it gives us a unique ability to like go for it because we don’t feel like we have to be organized to accomplish something. We can just go accomplish it and get organized later. 

Matt Piccolo [00:23:09] For sure. I think, you know, like I am fairly particular, like when it comes to the horses and there’s like, you know, at this point, certain things that work for, for me. But I think also it’s about finding a group of people that are. Good at what you are not good at. Where? I think my husband comes in. Right? Like I do, like I maybe he started the business before him, but I don’t think we were really profitable until Devan was a part of it. 

Piper Klemm [00:23:42] So it’s to walk us through that. You like start being with someone personally and then also in the business and then like, how did that of like how did that evolve? 

Piper Klemm [00:23:51] Also this sounds horrible to me because I could never work with my husband. 

Matt Piccolo [00:23:55] So yeah, it’s okay. It’s exciting sometimes, but, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because he really, you know, he fills in for where I can’t every, every day, every day that, like. What I am not good at he is and vice versa. And when I’m not operating at full steam, he can fill and and vice versa. And it is stressful at times doing it with the person that you love, but it’s also the best thing in the world. If that answers the question. 

Piper Klemm [00:24:40] Was it really natural for him to come into your business? Or was this like a big, like, decision conversation? Like it was. 

Matt Piccolo [00:24:46] A it was a big decision that, you know, I knew that we needed something like that, like Devan, but that it all just kind of fell together. Once he was a part of everything. Everything just went smoother. And I would tell you that like that once. That was really when. The farm. Was in a sustainable place where I thought it was going to actually happen. 

Piper Klemm [00:25:18] So tell us a little bit about kind of how you’ve structured the farm. You know, you’re still right there and you have the brownland shows. And so you have, you know, you have a lot of opportunity in that area of the country. And you’re also pretty centrally located to go a lot of places. 

Matt Piccolo [00:25:34] That’s really what we love about Nashville is that we feel a lucky to have Brown Land Farm in our backyard, which is an awesome horse show. If you have ever been, that’s in a great town, it’s, you know, you’re close to Nashville. The horse show itself is a lovely size. It is, I think, maybe more competitive than people realize. And it’s I love it because it’s. You know, it’s a little bit of a different, different group every time. Right. But that but, you know, in addition to having groundlings close to us, we can get to a lot of good horror shows pretty easily because we’re in a good place. But I don’t know, Nashville somewhere along the lines, just like became our home and we really love it. You know, our business is I would tell you, we do a little bit of everything that we have hunters and jumpers and, you know, I love to do a young horse. But we’ve got kids and adults and beginners and lifelong riders. We do, buy and sell some horses. But that’s what works best for us is just doing, like, a little bit of everything and kind of have a bunch of different people with some different goals, which is hard to suit everybody’s needs sometimes. But, you know, we always know that everyone in our barn is there for the right reasons. And they love the horses and, we love having them. 

Piper Klemm [00:27:12] How do you when it’s your own business and spending your own money? How do you balance kind of your time in the ring and continuing to develop yourself as a professional rider? You know, as mixed in with with everything else, you know, it’s. It. It’s not always financially the best decision for your business, for you to go right and show more. But there are so many other, you know, intrinsic intangibles there. 

Matt Piccolo [00:27:41] You know, I have to really thank Devan for that because like in the past couple years, we’ve been able to buy a couple of horses that have really been good for, for me, as a rider. You know, and that maybe we like, sell or lease those horses as we go. But, you know, that again, kind of goes back to you just do what you can when you can. Right? Like when you can and you can’t afford to buy a horse and go show it. I just try to do what I can, but, you know, it’s it’s also Piper. It’s about doing things. And doing them well, right? Like I know that I can. You know. Show a certain amount of horses and then also still be. A good coach at the end of the, you know, like like I have Devan to lean on and that’s why it’s successful. Because Devon allows me the time to be the rider and the trainer, and he can fill in a lot for that. But he’s been very supportive of us having a couple of horses that we own and show, which has been just so fun and a really good for my riding. Which is definitely a big part of why we still do it. Right. I, I still love it just as much as when I was a little kid. Honestly, I’m making up for lost time. But. I would say. You know, you just kind of to do what you can. 

Piper Klemm [00:29:09] And so what do you do when that kind of teenager shows up at your place? 

Matt Piccolo [00:29:15] Well. 

Piper Klemm [00:29:17] Yeah. 

Matt Piccolo [00:29:18] When that teenager shows up at my place, you know, there’s as much opportunity in my barn as someone wants to make for themselves, right? Like, if someone shows up, put their boots polished and says they want to work hard, you know, I always try to do what you can. Now that I like own a couple of horses, you know, that’s nice that I can share them with other people. I love doing that. But really, you know, we’ve been. Then kind of a jumping pad for some young professionals in the past ten years. That’s that’s been really that’s been really fun to see people show up and to spend some time with us, hone their skills a little bit and then go on to have their own business or go work for someone else and do something different. That has been pretty neat to see, because I’ve had so many people who have been kind and patient with me, to help me so that I have 30 horses in our backyard that we can call our own. Right. Like, that’s that’s really neat to me. I don’t think the novelty will ever wear off. But it’s cool to see that. Then other people get to have that, too. 

Piper Klemm [00:30:29] You always have, like, a really positive attitude at the horse shows and teaching and stuff. Did that come naturally to you? Did you kind of have to learn that, you know? Is it is it what you’re talking about? Is it the gratitude of being around the horses? 

Matt Piccolo [00:30:45] I think that. As a teacher, you have to kind of understand what your student needs. First of all, I think that as a as a student, I do not thrive, in a super negative environment or when there’s a lot of pressure on me. So that is kind of the teacher that I. Try to be first and foremost. And then I don’t know, as far as my positive attitude, I, I do feel lucky. I feel so lucky that I, I mean, people pay us to ride their horses, which blows my mind still. And like, I don’t know, I feel fortunate that we get to be part of people’s. Experience with their horses and that we. Get to manage the safety and success of people and their animals together. Yes, I guess I do. I do still feel very lucky that that is my job. 

Piper Klemm [00:31:52] What are your goals? What do you look forward to for for yourself as a rider or for your trainer or for your business? Like what’s still out there that that you’re going to keep going toward? 

Matt Piccolo [00:32:05] You know, I think I love to always goal set. This year, I am excited to hopefully, get to show my horse grandpa a little bit. He’s a non-negotiable. He goes with me everywhere. So I’m excited to show him a little bit. He’s just my buddy at this point. I just like riding him. I just like going over jumps on him. Personally. But as far as the business is concerned, we’ve got a lot of young riders coming up, and I’m really excited to see them, you know, start their horses. Couple a couple new partnerships this year. Looking forward to that. And I think I’m really excited. You know, Devan just got his promotion. Devan’s got his large R already. And and we’re going to start to take some time for him to go judge a little bit, which he is really motivated by. So he’s been so supportive of me for so long, so that I could kind of put my hand coat on and, and get some time in the ring these past couple of years. I’m really excited that he’s going to get to go and get hired. He’s already gotten hired a little bit, and I’m excited that he’s going to get his time in the judges box as well. 

Piper Klemm [00:33:24] And then you’ll be gone for two week stretches and let someone figure it out at home. 

Matt Piccolo [00:33:30] Yeah. Honestly. But but Mackenzie knows, she’s the best. She’s like right. She knows, he’ll come back eventually. She knows how it’s she knows how it works. 

Piper Klemm [00:33:39] But I think that’s such an important part of learning. And I’m so glad you brought it up that like. And I think that’s what’s missing. And a lot of younger kids and frankly, even amateurs riding is that like, it’s so structured and. You know, everyone is. You know. But what do I do? What? What do I do? I like to build intuition so that you know what to do. And there’s a mechanical aspect of that, but there’s also a trial and error, like feel part of that too. 

Matt Piccolo [00:34:07] So much of it. I didn’t realize that at the time until I was far away from it. But then I realized how much I learned. From this kind of trying things and also trying things with no repercussion, no repercussion. But you know what I think? Right. You know, like, not in a lesson. It’s not. You’re right. He he just gave me the horse and said, right, go figure it out. 

Piper Klemm [00:34:33] And I don’t know how we structure more things like that because everything’s so expensive right now. Like, it takes someone with a really structured program and business and strong constitution to allow people to learn. And we don’t always see a lot of space for that right now. 

Matt Piccolo [00:34:49] I agree with that. And I don’t really know the answer. Right. That like I go back and forth between. Being hands off and being like, I should be careful that I’m not an over manager right like that. I have to be careful that I, you know, go. I’m going to say, hey, Mackenzie, do this, this, this mess, that’s worse. But then you have to give her the, the time. And I watched it really specifically with her. How how much she’s grown as a young professional. And her riding, her teaching, her horsemanship, really just everything, through that, that style. But I have to be careful that I don’t lean one way more than the other. 

Piper Klemm [00:35:31] I think you sharing about feeling behind what’s like, probably the most going to be the most resonated part of this because, like, there’s so many kids feeling behind and they’re then they like panic and do stupid stuff and it’s like, no, keep the grind. And I also like, like I was putting the work in and jealous and all that stuff, and I didn’t see a pathway and I didn’t see glimmers of hope. And I. 

Piper Klemm [00:35:56] left, you know. Yeah. 

Piper Klemm [00:35:57] I think that that talking about seeing those glimmers of hope, like, is really cool, you know, and, you know, I, I think if I had grounded out, I could have, but I didn’t. And you know, that’s all interesting to me also. 

Matt Piccolo [00:36:16] Yeah, I think I think I will tell the story sometimes. I was I think I was right about to. I was done with college and Michael Paige was like teaching a clinic or something. And we were like at dinner. But I was like, I was not participating. Like I was going. Like I was like, literally had my bags packed or something. Like, I was about to go into my first job and Michael Paige at dinner was like, congratulations on a great, you know, college career. Like, where are you going next? What’s the next step? Are you going to Europe? And I said, no, sir, I’m going to Memphis, Tennessee. And it’s not exactly the same. And, you know, I was kind of embarrassed, right? But I was like, oh, gosh. Memphis. Right. What is that? And, he looked back at me and he was like, nope, that’s great. You know, your way will be your own way, right? Like it doesn’t matter. Like he he looked at me and just said, right, like your way is going to be different than Margie’s way is way or your way is going to be different than McLain. I was like, right, my way is going to be very different than those two ways, sir. But but I it made me feel so good, right, that he was like, right. You’re going to figure it out. Cool. Good luck. Like, you know, wherever you go, you’ll get to where you want. Made me feel good. 

Piper Klemm [00:37:39] That’s like. That’s really cool. Like, that’s such a great thing to say to someone like, okay, like you’re going to figure it out. It’s empowering them to do it themselves. 

Matt Piccolo [00:37:50] Yeah, yeah. Like just keep just keep going. Just keep showing up. If you want it bad enough, it will just happen for you eventually. It will. 

Piper Klemm [00:37:59] Yeah. And I feel like we don’t say that enough, or people don’t believe me when I say it. Because I can’t walk a walk because I quit. 

Matt Piccolo [00:38:05] It’s easy. It’s easy to get discouraged. Right. But, like, you know, if you just got just got to keep going. Which is easier said than done. So I’m respectful of that. 

Piper Klemm [00:40:30] Taylor Kain grew up in Wellington, Florida. As a junior rider, she was a working student and catch rider for Jennifer Bieling, Frank Madden, Jimmy Toon and many others before transitioning to a professional in Jimmy Toon’s Barn and then working for new Hope. Taylor and husband Geoff founded Horseshoe Bend Sales together eight years ago. Welcome to the plaidcast, Taylor. Tell us about how you got started riding as a kid?

Taylor Kain [00:40:52] Oh, I grew up doing Quarter Horses. Because that’s what my mom did. And then when I was about eight, they bought me my first small pony. And then from there, I actually, they didn’t let me ride that pony. Instead, I just catch rode for everybody else. And then, I rode with grew up riding with Jennifer Bieling in Florida. And then after that, when I was about 15 is when they moved me onto horses and then did the equitation, in Wellington. 

Piper Klemm [00:41:28] What was a Quarter Horse business like back then? 

Taylor Kain [00:41:30] My mom had moved from Long Island and then they bought a ranch, in Boynton, which is about 15 minutes from the showgrounds in Wellington. And they sort of got me into that. And my brothers rodeas well, and they did breeding. And then because my whole family sort of involved in the equestrian industry, I would say. 

Piper Klemm [00:41:56] So back then, Jennifer Beiling was like the only lady. 

Taylor Kain [00:42:00] Yes. 

Piper Klemm [00:42:01] You must have gotten like a lot to ride.

Taylor Kain [00:42:05] I did. I was a working student. We never owned any ponies. Basically people would send ponies in to us and then I’d ride them. And then they would get sold. But I would probably, during circuit, have about ten ponies to show every weekend. And I mean, I had ponies from, like Joey Curias would give me ponies to show. I actually had some very good ponies from him back in the day. 

Piper Klemm [00:42:33] What were some of the famous ponies you got to ride. 

Taylor Kain [00:42:35] Helicon take notice was one Snapdragon. Those were from Joey. And. Okay. 

Piper Klemm [00:42:43] Helicon take notice was on the cover of the American Girl doll book. 

Taylor Kain [00:42:48] Oh, really? 

Piper Klemm [00:42:49] I loved American girl dolls. And they made. They made a pony book American Girl doll made the American Girl doll. Pony Book and Helicon take notice was on the cover of this. 

Piper Klemm [00:42:58] And like, I don’t know, in like 1999 when I was that age. 

Taylor Kain [00:43:02] That’s so. Well, I had no idea. That’s really neat. Gosh, what other ponies did I do? I don’t know, we Jennifer we had so many, child’s Play was one that got sent in, for me, to ride and show. They sent me to Devon on it. Think it was back when Jim Hagman had it. 

Piper Klemm [00:43:25] Was it a lot of pressure when you were little, did it stress you out or you’re into it or? 

Taylor Kain [00:43:29] Yeah, I was, I really I liked it. No. The pressure it wasn’t that bad. I mean, okay, it was really hard on me. There was actually a lot of pressure. I would kind of, I would get in my own head. I think that kind of held me back a little bit in the end, especially when I started doing the horses, I think I would let the pressure get to me, and I sort of. I think that’s why at finals I never really did that well in the equitation. I would always kind of choke. I had a couple couple good ones, but I, I always would choke kind of. 

Piper Klemm [00:44:05] Where were you kind of at the end of your junior career? What were your thoughts on, you know, turning professional or your life or what what opportunities were on the table for you there? 

Taylor Kain [00:44:13] Yeah. So I finished my last junior year with Jimmy Toon. I had he gave me tons of equitation horses to show I had one. The main horse I got to ride was Spoch. And he was great. He, they and then he had there was an owner there that had bought him and then I could they let me ride. Finish out the year on him. The brand link actually. And that was super. And then he sat me down basically at the end of my junior year and was like, so are what are you going to do? And I’m like, I don’t know, what am I going to do? School really wasn’t my thing because I had some I had applied basically for the NCAA thing, and school was never I was homeschooled and was never really my strong suit, I should say, and I sort of just lived in the barn. And so he was like, okay, well, yeah, I like, you’re gonna you’re gonna stay here and work for me. I was like, okay, cool, great, have a job. And basically he basically told me that I wasn’t going to just let it be like, figure out the riding end but I was going to learn the business end as well. How to teach the kids from the beginners of lead line? You know, teaching the older kids and, you know, really learning how to deal with everything, not just being a rider, I should say. And that was. And then I worked, stayed. And I worked for him for, I think a year or two. I’m not really I can’t exactly remember. But he was like family for me. They took me under their wing, him and Ellen, and I lived with them. And it was. Yeah, they definitely. They were great. They treated me like a daughter and. Yeah. And they still. I’m still very close with them. And yeah, they’re big, big part of my leg up. 

Piper Klemm [00:46:19] Okay. So you’re about 20 or so now. Where do you go from here? 

Taylor Kain [00:46:23] Actually, I took a little break. Kind of went home. Regrouped because I hadn’t been home in quite a while. And did a bunch of freelancing, actually. And while I did and kind of just didn’t show and then got back into it, when a friend called and asked if I would help out over their holiday, and I went and rode for Richie Moloney, actually, and then I flat rode for him for a season. And then after that I got another job, a private job, and then after that I actually worked for new Hope for a year, and that was great. They sort of got me back into the groove and showing and back on the scene. Actually it was my mom was very close with Jeff Worthman, and he also is the reason why I know Geoff. He actually introduced us back in the day and. Jeff, my mom and I were talking. I’d had didn’t have much going on, and Jeff was like, oh, Taylor needs to, you know, call Dave. 

Piper Klemm [00:47:35] They’re the most organized, disciplined like they are at the horse show all the time. I mean, it’s an unbelievable operation. They’re so different. I mean, it’s it’s impressive. I’ve never seen the inside of it, but the outside of it, as I’m always in, awe. 

Taylor Kain [00:47:50] One of the best. Yeah. They were amazing to work for. And they sort of got me back into it. And I really you. Only went there to actually work for a season. And then they invited me up to Ohio, and then I got to show a little bit more, and I got more into it. And then I reconnected with, Geoff, actually when we were in Kentucky. And that was super. And I continued working for them throughout the summer. And then that’s when I decided, Geoff and I decided to start our own business. And that next, winter, we started our the Horseshoe Bend, and then it was all from there. 

Piper Klemm [00:48:38] So with your own business, you’re starting to show some Grand Prix horses. Had you done that kind of stuff before or?

Taylor Kain [00:48:45] No, I actually, since I really, only focused on hunters my whole life. And my mom really pushed the hunters. They she didn’t really at the time. Like the jumper. She always said I could do it later on. So when I started, like, with GEoff, I’m like, oh, no jumpers, like just hunters. And so we had a very good hunter client and we had some hunters. And then finally he’s like, we’re getting you a jumper. So we go and we get this jumper and it had jumped some 1.45. And it was we went and tried it jump top of the standards. We bought it from Shane Sweetnam. And the horse was a machine. Geoff, my very first show with him never really jumped above 130 before in the ring, threw me in  my first 135 next class, 140 then. So the second week I had it, he was like, you’re going to jump the Grand Prix this week. I’m like, wait, what? We like literally just started. He’s like, yeah, go for it. So we did. And I think I had one down the first time. Then the following week we jumped and I think I had one down again. And then by our third Grand Prix, the horse jumped double clear in Kentucky and it was. Yeah. From there it was great. Yeah. Jumped double clear and we were third in our third Grand Prix. So that was that was fun. And then it was just from there. And then we got some more horses and then started focusing more on the jumpers because I really quite enjoyed it. But yeah, when I first started doing it, my style was horrible. It was wretched. I looked, yeah, I looked like I was fearing for my life. 

Piper Klemm [00:50:33] Okay. And then you got proposed to in the Grand Prix, right? Do you want to tell us about that? 

Taylor Kain [00:50:37] Oh, boy. Yes. So we were at WEC in Ohio and it was my birthday as well. And. Geoff was like, let’s go, we’re going to go. We have to go over to the other side because we were staying in the home. Okay? So I was like, okay, so then we go and then we go up to the top like it’s the viewing area in the indoor. And all of a sudden there’s this song and I’m like, oh my God, we’re just listening to the song in the car. That’s what a coincidence. And it was Ed Sheeran because that’s Geoff is obsessed with that. I actually I’m now too. And we go up and in the ring there’s Christmas lights and it says, Will you marry me? And I was like, wait, what? This is happening. And then. Yeah. He asked Me to marry him. And I was like, yeah. 

Piper Klemm [00:51:32] Talk to us about, like, the business evolving. What kind of, you know. What did you learn from having to do it yourself that like, maybe you didn’t really notice or didn’t prioritize, before or what was, like, really eye opening to you, really having the horses doing the classes you wanted to do, but also dealing with all the other aspects of your own business. 

Taylor Kain [00:51:53] Well, I will say I was very lucky to have Geoff guiding me the entire time. 

Piper Klemm [00:51:59] Did you start doing a lot of teaching? 

Taylor Kain [00:52:00] Yeah, we I did. 

Piper Klemm [00:52:01] Was that hard? 

Taylor Kain [00:52:03] No, I, I actually really enjoy teaching. Quite enjoy it. Where actually, Geoff and I were a good team, as I would actually work on the kids positions and, you know, the basics. And then Geoff would come in and work on the horse and rider combination because Geoff really doesn’t focus on position really at all. He focuses more on how to, you know, get the horses, jump better, go better. Getting the kids to understand that. And then me, I do the other half of it, but no, I, I really do enjoy teaching. 

Piper Klemm [00:52:36] How do you treat, like. Kids that come and ride with you. How? How do you teach better? 

Taylor Kain [00:52:45] I always teach the way that I wanted to be taught, which is still like, you know, disciplined, like I want to. Tell the kids, you know, I’m very. Geoff thinks I’m, you know, harsh, but I’m not. The kids respond very well. Yeah. Geoff  just, you know, he teaches the way. Teaches. But I it’s always about explaining, you know, to the kids, you know, not just. What they’re doing wrong, but why or how and how to fix it? And if they don’t understand how to fix it and explaining it and taking the moment to explain it or they. I was a visual learner. Like I can watch people ride and sometimes I try to, you know, Geoff’s like, who are you mimicking today? And I’m like that, you know, I just like to, you know, so I see and I’m like, oh, I’ll try that. And sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But I take a little bit from everyone. And I really even in school, I did better when I was, when I could like hear it and watch. So sometimes the kids, you know, trying to figure out, are they visual learners? Are they, you know, how, what’s the best way to teach them? And that sort of I took all that was big for me was figuring out how to, you know, get it across to them and not just like, oh, you’re making the same mistake over and over and over again. Why? Or I love when people are like, find a better distance. Well, how are you going to find a better distance? Tell me. I’d like to know. How do I get to this? Tell me how I’m going to do it. I don’t know, and you know, some people don’t teach like that sometimes. Luckily, when I catch rode as a kid, I got to ride with. You know, all the trainers that had the ponies, because I would just basically on Friday, Thursday and Friday after school. I get dropped off at the show and Jennifer would give me my list and my mom would have the list of, you know, the trainers that contacted. And I’d go from tent to tent and I’d ride all the ponies, and then I’d get help from all those different trainers. And I really think it helped develop me into the rider that I am today. And they all would explain it very differently. And yeah, I think that helped. But I always think there’s a way to explain it to the kids in such a way. Yeah. It’s like teaching from positive place, right? Like instead of negativity all the time. 

Piper Klemm [00:55:25] It is super interesting that like, your success almost correlates with when like video and stuff started being ubiquitous. And I would say, like I ride so much better as an adult, then, yeah, it is a kid because I can I go home and like watch my game tape every night and like, I’m like sitting in my bed in the hotel room on Saturday night. Yeah, like studying my rounds. And I think that, you know, probably the same thing as that, like so many visual learners, didn’t almost have a way to be a visual learner in our sport until until recently. And it’s really opened up to us. 

Taylor Kain [00:56:03] For sure, 100%. I mean, I remember when I was a kid and we’d go into production East and be like, can we have the watch the round and the video? And they’d get out the, you know, the tape and we’d watch it and we’d buy it or, you know, whatnot. But, I mean, I, I wish I could see rounds from when I was younger. I mean, I’m sure my mom has it on tape somewhere, but now, like I’ll sit, and I will, but if I make one little mistake now, I will harp on it for like, think like a day or two and then I get over it. But I will fix that. I won’t make the same. I try not to make the same mistake twice. But yeah, I will rewatch that video and, you know, look at the take off, the landing. What could I have done differently? And it’s it’s pretty amazing now. Yeah that you can do that because before I could. Yeah. Better I wouldn’t want to watch it when I was younger. Right. You don’t want to like relive it. 

Piper Klemm [00:56:56] So talk to us about like, kind of. I’ll say like almost a wall you hit in the US of like having some of the horses but you know, trying to compete at, you know, Wellington and then these places really get ranking points. Can you talk to us about the challenges that a well set up rider in the US faces. 

Taylor Kain [00:57:21] Yeah, it was very difficult, actually. Yeah. I mean, I didn’t get to jump the CSI’s that much. And what I did, it was, you know, a big deal for us. Well, for me, and it was very difficult. And maybe at the time when I was trying to do it, my horses weren’t quite ready. I probably wasn’t ready. But, you know, we we wanted to do it, because it’s not like here in Europe where it’s like you, this seems like an international show. Here is my version of a national show, in a way. But that’s why we would kind of geared more towards the regional grand prize, the national Grand Prize, and the smaller shows and showing for prize money. And, you know, as I over the years got smarter and I stopped showing, like just because, oh, let’s do the CSI, let’s go here, let’s do that. Like, and, you know, not getting results. And then I will say, in the last two years, I probably realize I was ready to start being smarter and jumping for money and getting the results and putting records on the horses. But yeah, it was a very. I couldn’t make the next leap in America, I would say, because I also couldn’t keep the horses long enough. Like in America, we are so strapped to sell them, like immediately when they landed. You know, I take probably two months to get them fed because they weren’t ready. And I always took my time when they would come over and then we’d show them a bit. But the minute, you know, we had interest in the horse, we’d we’d have to sell them. There’s actually only one horse that I’ve kept, and I still have her, which is she’s amazing, the shudder gold mare that I have who’s 13 now, and I, she was only bought to Jump Meter 40 Regional Grand Prix at WEC Ohio in the middle of winter. And then she ended up jumping. I took her to WEF and we jumped the two and three stars and she jumped. We jumped some good rounds and actually the one year we were able to. We made the leaderboard. It’s actually a funny story. Made the leaderboard for the, the meter 50, challenge series that they have on Sundays for the three stars. And I had jumped them with, like, maybe one down. And the one week I pulled into the show, I was like, wait, my name’s on the leaderboard? And I was like, eight. And I texted Geoff I’m like, my name’s on the leaderboard. Can you believe that? And he goes, that’s a mistake. I’m like, what do you mean? Maybe it is. He goes, there’s no way. He’s like, so he goes into the office and tells the office, I think you guys made a mistake because Taylor’s name was on the leaderboard, and I don’t think that should be. And they were all like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe you’re doing this. So they were like, no, Geoff, that’s not a mistake. It goes on percentage of like overall like rounds. And because I guess I landed in like basically the top 20 of each round. I was yeah, that week I was sitting eighth for the standings. But yes, of course I had to go and tell them that it was a mistake. 

Piper Klemm [01:00:49] Yeah, that was fun. Tell us about a little bit about moving to Europe and making that decision. You know, it’s it’s obviously a big. It’s a big commitment. That’s your, you know, you’re far away from everything. But also, like, what made you want to buckle down and chase this right now and really move up the ranks. And, you know, how has your time in the ring changed with more ring time? 

Taylor Kain [01:01:17] Yeah. So when we at the I, we’ve talked about Europe a lot about moving here actually, when Geoff and I first got together, he gave me three options. It was. We can move to Europe. You could start it there. Or b we can. Start a business in America. Or c we could just move away and go live on an island somewhere and, you know, just have, you know, enjoy life. And I’m like, well, of course, want I choose option B, like I want my own business. I’d be great. And I wasn’t ready for Europe to be quite. I’d never been to Europe and I was not ready. So I went with that option. But then this year, we had a great winter. I had, three Grand Prix horses that I showed. I had to shutter gold. I had another eight year old that Don Peron, and then I had another eight year old Havana. And we would take them to Venice and go jump. And they were great. And then I showed them at WEF a couple times, and then they sold. And then I had a couple other horses and they all sold, and I was basically down to shutter gold, and we were like, well, do we, what do we do? And our farm was on the market and we’re like, well, now’s the time. Might as well just go and do it. And Geoff said that if I, I could go and do it for three months and move to Europe, and if I hated it after three months, I could come home, but really give it a year. And honestly, now I don’t even I this is the first time I’m back in the States in six months and I can’t wait to get back already. It’s been amazing experience and getting to show so much. And the shows are so much fun and yeah, it’s it’s been incredible. 

Piper Klemm [01:03:23] So you said as a junior you struggled a little bit, you know, with finals and kind of that mental piece of things. How have you worked on that over the years and how has that changed for you? 

Taylor Kain [01:03:36] Oh yeah, it’s definitely gotten better over the years. I will say Geoff was a big part in that and, you know, helping me with the mental hurdle. Because I would just panic. And I actually, I do think not doing the hunters anymore made a big difference because I don’t know why, but the hunters. I. I don’t understand why I have a harder time jumping a meter ten in the hunters versus going and jumping a meter 50. It’s it’s just super stressful. But. Yeah. Now. It’s like all of the sudden in the last year, I would say the pressure. I actually do better with pressure. I do better when I’m a little bit nervous. I do better when I know there’s a lot on the line or it’s it’s very interesting because it’s the complete opposite of how I started. I don’t it’s. Yeah. Now it’s like I have to have pressure and I rise to the occasion. 

Piper Klemm [01:04:43] Tell us a little bit about like practicing and, you know, discipline and managing yourself, at the barn and, and how you handle kind of all of that stuff. Does that, does it come naturally to you or, you know, are you making schedules for yourself or what does that look like? 

Taylor Kain [01:05:01] Yeah. I’m bit of, controlling, I would say I really don’t take much time out of the barn. My. I’m always worried about everything and every little thing. You know, I do all my riding. As well as Geoff helps me ride. My groom also rides too and helps me. He’s actually riding horses now for me and he does an amazing job, so it allows me to be able to leave. But we have a really good team and we keep it small, so at least we can keep an eye on every detail with every horse, whether it’s the three year old or my chestnut horse. You know, every horse is taken care of exactly the same. You know, we have a routine, this schedule. You know, we have the schedule for our prep before we show. No matter what horse it is getting out of the box. You know, our timing, the timing for our braids, for the horses, you know, it all comes into factor the meals before they show, especially, you know, the horses are here in Europe during indoor season. They show at nine, 10:00 at night. Or, you know, the ranking class will start at eight, you know, preparing for how late to ride them the couple hours before the class. And, you know, each horse is also different. Yeah. I have some horses that work really well riding two hours before the class. I have a horse that works really well riding an hour before. It just all each horse is different, but we try to create a program. For each horse, not just one program fits all sort of thing. And each one is, you know, taken care of a little differently because each all some of them, you know, they’re a little special in their own way and they like to have things done different. 

Piper Klemm [01:07:06] So talk to us about schedule a little bit, because this is a conversation I try to have with a lot of people, but I, I struggle with it. So when you’re big shows only three days, you’re, you essentially can be home and then go on the weekend of horse show and like, yes, you have to work everything at home when you get home. But you, you don’t need like a second whole staff at home when the horse shows are three days, like when you’re gone for a week, you essentially or a week all the time. You essentially need a whole separate staff at home. 

Taylor Kain [01:07:35] Yeah. Like so when we first got here, I, we, we take actually all of our horses to the show with us to the CSI and either they would go as non showing horses are they show because we didn’t have staff at home and it didn’t make sense to leave one at home. but now the last couple weeks we actually split up the horses where we would take three and three. And then we’d basically after Sunday, after the show, we would ride Monday. Now, now we don’t take the we don’t really take days off. Now the grooms get days off, but I don’t really get days off, because the other ones need to be ridden and take advantage of those couple days. We’re home. And then while we’re away at the shows, they usually lunge, and get out and then. 

Piper Klemm [01:08:26] Yeah, but yeah, when we talk about why it’s so expensive in the US, I think it’s partially because, you know, essentially every big program needs to be at least two programs. 

Taylor Kain [01:08:36] Yeah, I will say that stopped us a lot in the US about where to go show was it was really hard to be able to be like, okay, well going away, leaving Monday or Tuesday, usually we’d always leave Monday and then get their ride Tuesday and start showing Wednesday. I mean, you’re and then all the horses at home sit for a complete week. And then it’s also hard. If you leave clients at home, you can’t exactly tell them you’re going to go show for a week to focus on you. And it was nearly impossible. That’s why I. Yeah. When I started going just, like jumped the Grand Prix in Venice, I would usually just go for the day and I was able to work that out. And then you know, be able to ride in the morning and then go and keep the business going while we were doing that. But most of the time, yeah, we. We couldn’t really choose our shows like that. 

Piper Klemm [01:09:43] Tell us about your chestnut horse. 

Taylor Kain [01:09:46] My chestnut horse. She’s amazing. I love her, Herenza. My. She’s nine year old, by Baltic. And she’s been a life changing horse for me right now. We got her. She had just been jumping 135 and she had jumped a 140. And we got her, I got her. Took probably a month. Just flatting her, getting her used to me and making her sort of my own. And then took her to our first show. She was great. And then I took her to our first CSI that, yeah, it was basically almost our second show. I took her to one National Day show, and then I took her to, a show called omen. That’s in our hometown, and jumped the one star there. She jumped clear in every class, I had a time fault in the one star final, but that was a 140 and did that. Great. So the next show I did, the one star big towards finished second and the final. And then after that. We were like, I think she’s ready for a two star. And we took her to Lastrip and jumped the first day, the 140. Good. And then we were like, all right, we’re going to jump the ranking class. And we walked in. Of course, Geoff doesn’t tell me this when we walk and. Apparently it was quite big, especially for our both her and I’s First 145 together and she jumped, We jump and she jumps. Double clear. And she jumped in. Incredible. And then we did the Grand Prix the next day and it was or the on Sunday. And it was huge. And she just jumped right around. I had one down, it was my fault and. Then from there, it was just. Yeah, exactly. She was just amazing. We took her to the next show. I think she jumped clear in both ranking classes. And. Yeah, I’ve. Probably. And then the first time I jumped around one of the ranking classes and it was, I had a jump off. I remember looking at Geoff in the warm up area going, Geoff, I’ve never done a jump off in a ranking class. This is like huge. I’m a little nervous. He goes, good. You ride better when you’re nervous. So I was like, okay. And yeah, it was it was it. She’s amazing and she’s so easy. Which is the best part. I’ve never I only have ever had a horse like her where she’s sweet, she’s easy in the barn to deal with, whether it’s handling her or tacking her up. Like anything, she’s easy. And then riding her at home. She’s actually quite lazy, like a pony. So I have to make her work. And then when I take her to the woods, she lightens up a bit. And then once she gets to the show, she’s in like a game mode. She just. I’m ready. And she’s actually a little bit fresh. And yeah, she’s she’s unbelievable. 

Piper Klemm [01:13:03] So growing up in Florida and stuff talked to us about learning to ride inside and, you know, were you prepared for that side of things in Europe from doing WEC Ohio a lot? Because I’m always interested watching both like the hunters at indoors and, like the Las Vegas Horse Show and some of these other ones, you know, you’re like, oh, that rider does it. Hasn’t really learned how to ride inside yet, right? 

Taylor Kain [01:13:27] Yeah. No 100%. No. It’s definitely I will say doing WEC Ohio definitely helped a lot because I will say when I did indoors as a kid and doing the equitation, I remember my first indoor is doing Maclay Finals. I bounced off those walls so fast I had no idea what was coming towards me. And then, you know, it got better, but not great. And then I yeah, I never really rode indoors until we did WEC Ohio, and it helped a lot, actually. I like riding indoors a lot better because I kind of have no choice. And you just kind of, you know, stay in off the wall and it all kind of comes up easily. As long as you have a horse that, you know, is. I, I, I think it’s a little easier if you have one. It’s a little light little caddy a little. You know, good in smaller space. I think some horses that are really big and slow, I think it gets hard. But I’ve actually quite enjoyed indoor season. And I think Geoff was surprised at how. Well. My horse. Herenza and I both, acclimated to the indoor season because we weren’t really sure. You know, being our first year, jumping her in the bigger classes, how she’d be indoors because she’s so good outdoors and it just sort of clicked. But I, I really like riding indoors. It’s great. 

Piper Klemm [01:14:56] I find that, like, less. I don’t know if distracting is the right word, but I like, I, I feel like I can focus so much better. 

Taylor Kain [01:15:02] Yeah. Like you’re in a dome. Like a little bubble. I, I yeah. 

Piper Klemm [01:15:07] So what are you looking forward to for this year? What are you excited about in, in 2024? What are some of your goals? 

Taylor Kain [01:15:14] Yeah. So we are going to Spain, in January and February for two tours. I have taking six horses there, a really good group, some young, kind of all in the middle, six year old. That’ll be seven, actually, an eight and nine year old. And then her ends, and then my older mares, Shudder gold. So we have a really fun group going and then and I’m really excited because I’ve never done it before, and I’ve always said how I would always, you know, see on social media and be like, I want to really want to do Spain, I really want to do it. And now I’m actually going, so that’s pretty neat. And I get to step up to the three stars, with Herenza and the other ones that I have. So I’m excited to see how we both do with that. And then my big goal, I would say, is I would really like to do some of those three Star Nation Cup teams next summer, if all goes to plan. 

Piper Klemm [01:16:23] Okay, so Taylor, I, I look at a lot of this stuff and I, I sometimes wonder, like instead of importing horses, should we be exporting riders. What do you think about that? 

Taylor Kain [01:16:34] Yeah, I completely agree. I will say. Moving here is the best decision I ever made. And. I wasn’t sure. And I’m not an adventurous person by any means. I would. I do not like flying. I don’t like traveling that much, like I’ll travel for shows. But like within my comfort zone, I’m not big on leaving things at home. Like. But for me to get on that plane and basically was going to be living in a hotel for like a month. When I moved here, it was actually two months, and I came with my suitcases and I was like, really unsure and. Yeah, I kind of just dove right in and made myself at home, and it was the best decision I ever made. And I love living in Europe. I absolutely love it. Yeah, I highly recommend it. I think that if anyone ever. Thanks at once. I think they should definitely take the leap and do it, because it’s not as scary or different as everyone makes it out to seem. It’s very friendly, actually. I think the horror shows are really a lot of fun. Everyone’s super nice to each other. You know, they all. Everyone helps each other out. They. It’s it’s. Definitely. And it’s really laid back, actually, because I used to like when I would jump the CSI’s, it was always like, oh my God. And now it’s like I find it very relaxing. At least now I can show, take, you know, my four horses to a CSI and I can jump them for less than it costs for me to jump in America. Granted, I’m not jumping for the same amount of money, but. If I want though. If the worst thing if I don’t win any money that week, it cost me $1,400 to show four horses with, you know, my lorry parking and everything. You know, it makes a really big difference of how am I going to pay my show bill. Because, you know, for us it’s I don’t have we don’t have the luxury to just be like, here, go jump the two star, three star. And, you know, hopefully you. Have, you know, a clear round and you end up 20th and you still don’t get money, but that’s 3000, $4,000 just poof, gone. You know, that’s a lot of money for us. And I can show, you know, three shows here basically for that. That makes a big difference of the pressure, I will say the pressure of the money, because that was always really hard. Also the pressure with the horse’s mistakes, too, in America, I think is really hard here. The horses can be horses. People don’t. They don’t hold it against them as much. I feel like here at least. You know, people aren’t afraid to to be like, oh, my horse made a mistake. If you ask for horse, they’re like, everyone seems, you know. So far, everyone has been really honest. And it’s just it’s it’s very. It’s very friendly. Like I have a different view of the sport over here. 

Piper Klemm [01:19:52] I really agree with that. People act like horses can’t change in a weird way. And so, you know, it’ll be like, oh, here’s this video of it bucking five years ago, or, you know, or horses can’t have an off day or something like that. And I think it’s part of, our society being so litigious and, you know, and, and that’s part of why I try to be I mean, I know I’m owning Reuben for his whole life, and that’s why I try to be really honest about his. You know, my Facebook is just Reuben’s diary and, but be honest about all that stuff because it’s it’s scary and it’s hard. And when horses are for sale, you’re not able to to talk with the same frankness it feels. 

Taylor Kain [01:20:36] Yeah. Yeah. For sure. 

Piper Klemm [01:20:38] Absolutely. Thank you for joining us on the plaidcast. 

Piper Klemm [01:22:25] To learn more about anything we’ve discussed on today’s show, visit You can find show notes at Follow The Plaid Horse on all the social medias. You can subscribe to the print edition of The Plaid Horse Magazine at Please rate and review the plaidcast anywhere you listen to it, and if you enjoy this episode, please share it with your friends. I will see you at the ring!