After graduating from CU Boulder, Kristen headed to the University of Colorado at Denver to earn her Master's in Information Systems. Staying in the Denver area allowed her to keep riding. After graduation, she landed a good job that provided her with the finances to purchase her first good, young dressage horse – Lordon. She moved back to Boulder and to work with Shannon Barnes-Peters. But a year later, as the IT industry crumbled, Kristen was jobless. "I was unable to find a job in my industry and ended up moving to Parker, Colorado to be an assistant to FEI dressage trainer Susan Halasz."
Photo Credit:Sherri Scott
Kristen certainly found that good things come from what often seem to be bad experiences. Getting laid off gave her the push to make riding her career. Her riding improved immensely while assistant to Halasz. "Her capacity to breakdown the training process for both horse and rider is tremendous. The knowledge I gained working for Sue was immense. My responsibilities at the farm included assisting with the training of advanced dressage horses, riding competition horses for the farm and outside clients, and managing a training program for adult amateur riders."
The full-time job as assistant also gave Kristen the opportunity to ride with a number of leading dressage trainers, including Steffen Peters and Christine Traurig. In 2003, Kristen took the biggest step of all in her professional career when she sold Lordon and moved West to California to begin her own training business. She trained out of a number of barns and finally landed at Marimar Estate Stables at Salmon Creek in Freestone, California.