We took some time with Kelly to ask her a few rapid fire questions with added commentary.
1. How long have you been riding?
More than 29 years
2. How long have you been teaching?
More than 18 years
3. What is your biggest riding strength?
Being able to see all sides to find a solution
4. If you could switch disciplines, what would you pick?
Kelly uses dressage as a foundation to create fantastic hunter/jumper horses. Similar to football players learning yoga or ballet, teaching a horse dressage fundamentals helps the horse gain coordination, balance, and strength.
5. What is your favorite breed of horse?
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the appaloosa is believed to have originated from North American horses bred by Nez Perce Native Americans. The name appaloosa is derived from the Palouse river. Known for their spotted coat, they are used in many disciplines because of their temperament, soundness, and athleticism. A revival in the 1930s of this breed ensured its continued existence, since it almost went extinct due to cross breeding and lack of interest.
6. How high have you jumped?
Kelly riding Echo during a high jump competition last winter
7. How would you describe your barn?
Kelly (right) with her sister and dad
8. If you could train with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Skelton is best known for winning individual gold in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and for successfully jumping 7'7", says Horse and Hound. A competitor for four decades, his career was almost cut short - he briefly retired due to a serious fall that broke a vertebra in his neck. He miraculously recovered and went on to compete in multiple Olympics. He, and his mount, Big Star, retired in 2017.
9. If you could ride any famous horse, who would it be?
Show jumping's first millionaire horse, he was ridden by John Whitaker. During Milton's career in the 1980s and 90s, show jumping was at its peak, and Milton was a celebrity. FEI calls him a "horse of a lifetime" and mentions that you can check out Milton's jumping rounds on Youtube.
10. What has been you biggest challenge to your success? What got you through it?
Through love of horses. There wasn't anything else worth doing.
11. What is your favorite part about showing?
Seeing the hard work at home pay off in the ring
12. What is your favorite part about teaching?
Seeing the progress in the riders
Competitions, like any other sport, are a way to measure what you've learned. But, they also teach humility, confidence, good sportsmanship, teamwork, and dedication.
13. What is your favorite thing about horses?
Stress relief; fun to ride
Left to right: Kelly, her sister, her dad, and Lauren
And that completes our short interview. Feel free to ask a question!