CAITLYN SOUDAN | Assistant Trainer
Born and raised in New York, Caitlyn began her love for horses from a very young age. Her mom and grandparents were life-long members of the horse community and introduced Caitlyn to the joy of riding long before she was even able to walk. Caitlyn was given her first horse when she was 8 years old and owns her still today.
Caitlyn attended Morrisville State College where she studied Equine Science with a major in Breaking and Training. When asked if she always knew she wanted to be a horse trainer, Caitlyn responded, "I never imagined doing anything else."
Caitlyn discovered a Facebook post for the job opportunity at Sugar Hill in 2015. She describes an overwhelming certainty that the job was meant to be. In an effort to further her education, Betsy sent Caitlyn to work with Dave Weber at D Bar W Equestrian Center where they specialize in developing softness, communication and willing attitude in performance horses. Caitlyn describes the experience as extremely challenging in that she had to reset everything she knew about handling horses. She uses the techniques she learned from Dave every day, with every horse she handles and finds it to be extremely beneficial. "I use what I learned from the program for all the horses I start here at Sugar Hill. It has never failed me. The results are tried and true with every horse. I'm very grateful to Betsy for investing in my education and to Mitch for allowing me to integrate the techniques with his training regimen."
"Having watched Caitlyn's career at Sugar Hill the last two years, I find her natural feel, look and quiet approach remarkable! Her attitude and desire to learn will bring her many accolades in her future. She's a force to be reckoned with!"
— Brian Murch, Judge and Trainer
"Seldom does one have the opportunity to have a hand in mentoring a young aspiring horseman who not only demonstrates obvious talent, but as important, a person of exceptional character and work ethic. With Caitlyns unique feel, timing and style, I'm confident her star has only begun to ascend"
— Mitch Sperte, Judge and Trainer
When Betsy hired Mitch as the head trainer, Caitlyn was hopeful that he'd be a mentor and was excited to learn from him. "To say he's been an amazing mentor is not enough. Mitch has been like a father in his encouragement, trust and guidance. He's taught me so much more than I imagined possible about starting and preparing horses for the show ring. He's the first Arabian trainer that I've had the opportunity to work with and has exposed me to a whole new world of competition." Prior to her employment at Sugar Hill, Caitlyn had not experienced the Arabian show circuit. When she first met Mitch, she didn't have a true understanding of his experience and stature in the Arabian community. She now revels in the fact that her mentor has placed her in a position to ride with, work near and learn from some of the most esteemed Arabian and Saddlebred trainers in the world.
The first Arabian show Caitlyn competed at garnered great success. She showed the Sugar Hill bred Hunter Pleasure mares, SHF Made From Scratch and SHF Random Aftershoc and was named Champion with each of them. It was the first show for each of the mares as well.
The 2019 United States Arabian Nationals was a truly enlightening experience for Caitlyn. She was allowed the opportunity to work with Mitch alongside trainer and judge, Brian Murch. "It was like nothing I've ever experienced. Mitch and Brian and the entire staff of Strawberry Banks Farm taught me SO MUCH! I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to work with so many outstanding horsemen and women at the most esteemed Arabian horse show in the world." The 2020 US Nationals was even more meaningful for Caitlyn as it was her first time competing on a national level. She showed SHF Rolls Royce to a Top Ten award in the extremely competitive Half Arabian Hunter Pleasure Futurity class. She also showed H Barbary Reigns H in the Arabian English Pleasure Jr. Horse class. It was the first time 'Reigns' had shown with other exhibitors, yet she and Caitlyn presented themselves as if they'd been there for years. "On the final walk, I looked around at the horses and trainers that surrounded me, (Joel Kiesner, Jim Stachowski, and Jim Lowe) and thought WHOA these horses are amazing," recalls Caitlyn immediately after the class.