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Meet the Schmitt Training Center Team

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Owner, Trainer, Instructor

Rick Schmitt
 

Much of Rick's life in his early years revolved around riding and driving his family's horses and raising hundreds of steers as a business for about 25 years with one of his brothers. While still a teenager, he acquired his own horse, a mare who was known to be "difficult."  What he was able to accomplish with this mare resulted in attention from the locals and quickly led to establishing a client list.  Developing a reputation for being able to help with "difficult" horses directed him to a number of competitive dressage riders who were searching for assistance with their own equine partners.  This motivated Rick to figure out a program where he could blend what he knew of natural horsemanship and dressage.  
 
From the very beginning of his professional career over 20 years ago, he chose to never use gadgets or artificial aids in his work with horses.  Besides knowing the negative effects these have on a horse, he always believed that horses are smarter and more intuitive than they are often given credit for.  That is why it has been so important to him to involve the horse mentally in his program's exercises that naturally improve the horse physically, too. 

With a physics background, and just the way his mind works, Rick likes to make sense of things.  This is evident in his ability to problem solve, how he teaches, and how he tends to see situations from the horse's point of view.  While Rick spends a lot of time continuing his own education, he truly has a natural talent for reading the horse and situation, for timing and feel with the horses in groundwork and under saddle, and for being able to teach his students through clear and thought-provoking lessons.  He enjoys his work with the horses, as he always learns more from each and every one, and guiding those students who really show the desire to expand their knowledge for the well-being of their horse.

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Kari Schmitt

Owner, Trainer, Instructor

Kari grew up living a young girl's dream of riding her family's horses bareback on the trails in California, where they lived for many years.  Being that a couple of their horses were Arabians, Kari's

4-H leader/trainer introduced her to Arabian shows. She eventually had the opportunity to apprentice with a wonderful and gentle trainer who taught her the ins and outs of showing Arabian trail; a path that led her to multi-Regional Championships and Canadian National Top Tens.  From the breed shows to the open shows, she was able to venture into a variety of disciplines, gaining great experience in different areas of riding.  After earning a couple of WSCA (Western Saddle Clubs Association) Championships in hunt and tandem bareback, she was proud to represent the large horse association twice - as Miss Horsemanship and later as Princess - with her long-time Arabian partner, GF Raushana.

 

In 2003, as a recently purchased family horse (a Half-Arabian) proved to be a bit of a test for Kari, she decided to pursue the suggestion by a friend to meet a trainer who might be able to help.  That trainer was Rick Schmitt, and what she learned from him changed everything.  While she always had a great love for horses and devoted her life to them, Rick's approach to working with them gave her an entirely new understanding and appreciation of the horses' mind and body.  Throughout the years, with Rick's guidance and assistance, Kari has ridden her own horses (including that Half-Arabian), as well as client horses, to many Arabian (US and Canadian) and USDF Regional and National Championships, Reserves and Top Tens in every level of dressage from Training to Intermediare I.  She experienced the proud moment of winning a USDF Midwest Championship with her Arabian, and has had the great fortune to earn four trips to the USDF Finals with four client horses (including one started by Rick) from Training to Third Levels - winning a place in the Top Ten award ceremonies five times.  As quite a thrilling endeavor, she earned her USDF Bronze and Silver medals on a client's horse whom she and Rick carefully brought up from First Level over the years and is only two scores from her Gold.

Kari is extremely grateful to have had so many positive influences and diverse opportunities in her life in a world that she is passionate about. While showing had been a large part of her horse life in the past, she has made it her focus to continue adding to her education.  She enjoys sharing what she has learned with her students and horses, and taking the time to help them become the very best they can be.

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