In between the organized chaos of the 22nd Kentucky Dressage Association (KDA) and inaugural CDI* show stands a quiet figure who is contently watching rides, enjoying the culmination of years of hard work and dedication.
Sheila Woerth, KDA Show Chairman, Rolex Three Day Event volunteer extraordinaire, a cardiothoracic nurse, wife, mother of two, lifetime horsewoman and Bluegrass transplant is a visionary leader who has lived a life by example.
“Honestly, I'm blessed,” says Woerth, “But I'm only a small piece of the puzzle. I couldn't be doing what I'm doing if it weren't for the phenomenal camaraderie and fellowship with the people I've known along the way.”
Born in New York, Woerth's family was deeply involved in the thoroughbred industry. She spent summers at her aunt's 250 acre farm in Virginia which was responsible for breeding the dam, granddam, and of 1996 Jumping Hall of Fame inductee Jet Run ridden by Michael Matz.
“When you live out on a huge farm and you're responsible for it, you develop a connection, not only to the land, but to the people and the community. It teaches a person how to read situations, plan ahead and eventually, give back to something that has supported you. I still carry those lessons to this day”
Despite having deep roots with the thoroughbred racing industry, she rode hunt seat and was originally introduced to dressage at an early age by Conrad Fisher.
“The first words to me where to sit up straight and put my brain in my seat,” laughs Woerth. “Then next thing I know I'm being told to do apply certain aids at certain times and I'm half passing across a diagonal, I never felt a horse move like that before.”
After taking a hiatus from the sport for several years to raise a family and explore her nursing career, she became re-involved with dressage when she purchased the Thoroughbred/Trakehner mare, Madonna, for her daughter.
"I didn't tell my husband, Knute, about the purchase,” she says with a smile. “He found out when I handed him the papers around tax time and said: 'congratulations, we're in the horse business'.”
Purchasing the mare was only the beginning. Woerth quickly became involved in raising breeding and raising young horses out of the same TB/Trakehner mare. She also expanded in the community, starting with the Rolex Three Day Event.
[#26594 override="Sheila Woerth Adds Color to the Kentucky Horse Park" title="Sheila Woerth Adds Color to the Kentucky Horse Park"]