Becoming a professional dressage rider and trainer hasn't been easy for Kristen Aggers, but she's had much great support, from not only her family and mentors but from clients who have become friends. Kristen gives much credit for her success to many who have helped along the way.
"Robin and Perris have been incredibly supportive of me, not only in giving me Noah, but in continuing to assist me in my career. Perris is the little sister I never had. She is a talented rider and one of the hardest working students I’ve ever had," Kristen said. Robin thinks as well of Kristen as she of them.
"Kristen is intelligent, honest and ethical. She has a strong moral code, which at times in this business can be unusual," Robin See said. She said Kristen not only has a wonderful way of communicating with the horses, but also with people. "Kristen can make me laugh when at times I might feel massively discouraged. She has worked with our daughter, Perris, for five years and I'm sure, it has NOT always been fun, but Kristen cares about her clients. She has a divine love for the horse and it shows." But not just horses, See said. "She also loves her dogs, Riley and Mayday."
Another great example is Pam Mahle. Pam was first a client, having purchased a horse from Kristen, but eventually became an assistant and a friend. "Pam worked for me for two years – five days a week as my assistant, helping groom and ride horses both at home and at shows.” Pam and her husband Pax Mahle own Wind Gap Wines, (www.windgapwines.com) and have become sponsors. “Pam still rides for me when she can but has also helped me to find a continuous string of fabulous working students, without whom I couldn’t imagine,” Kristen said.
Leaving her "comfort zone" of her home in Colorado to take that first step in creating her own business in California wasn't easy, but it certainly paid off. "Leaving Colorado was one of the hardest things I’ve done. If I had to give advice, it would be to seize the moment – sometimes not looking before you leap is the way to do it!" Fortunately, when she leapt, she quickly found friends who provided her with the resources to get her business off the ground. "Building a solid reputation and a good training business has taken time. I’m thankful to Sue Curry for providing me with contacts and training horses that helped me to create the business that I have today," Kristen said.
Kristen also works with Conrad Schumacher, Jane Weatherwax and Lilo Fore. "It is truly fantastic to get the viewpoint of the judges," Kristen said. "And I'm lucky to live 20 minutes down the road from Lilo Fore’s Sporthorse America. I work with Lilo whenever I can."
For her part, Fore has much good to say about Kristen and notes that her success comes not just from talent, but also from a true love for horses and a willingness to keep learning. "Her strength is the dedication and hard work she puts in to improve her horses. She is a talented rider but we know that is not always enough to be successful in this industry," Fore said. "Kristen has the right temperament and is always looking for a good education to challenge herself and to improve herself to help all horses. She is never abusive in her training, but is always looking for more available tools and comes for
lessons to learn more. A good rider/trainer should always remain also a good student and that is Kristen."
And learning is exactly what Kristen says her journey to becoming a professional dressage rider and trainer has been all about. "I've learned so much about life and myself in training horses and teaching students. One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that patience is the key to success and in order to succeed you have to fail. Training horses always brings about surprises – sometimes you end up on a path that you didn't intend. Being flexible in your perspective and approach is the key, both in training and in life. I am extremely thankful that I have a profession that is also my passion."
Photo Credit: Sherri Scott