Practical Horseman Podcast: Caroline Martin

Young five-star eventing phenom Caroline Martin speaks about her business, how her time abroad pushed her to make horses her career, and her love of training young horses.

Below is a full transcript of the Practical Horseman Podcast with Caroline Martin.

Opening quote—Caroline Martin: I know everyone gives the eventers a hard time that we’re all jack of all trades, but our horses are, I think, the best athletes out of any discipline. We ask so much of them every day. And it’s just, it’s crazy when you have a good five-star horse, they’re just the most amazing athlete out there.

The hard thing is, so you have to get them quiet enough to do dressage and show off all of those movements, but then you have to have them so fit to go around that four to six mile cross country course, then you expect them to show jump clear the next day. It’s just insane. They’re such incredible athletes and their minds are amazing. You know, you might get a little bit of a sharp horse, but they try so, so hard every time you ride them. It’s amazing. They’re freaks of nature these, five-star horses. They’re just insane.

[Music fades in toward the end of Caroline’s quote and then back out at the beginning of the introduction.]

Caroline Martin and Spring Easy at the 2018 Great Meadow International. © Amy K. Dragoo

Introduction—Julia Murphy: Welcome to the Practical Horseman Podcast, featuring conversations with respected riders, industry leaders and horse-care experts. The show is co-hosted by Practical Horseman editors, and our goal is to inform, educate and inspire. I’m Julia Murphy and this week’s episode is with Team USA international five-star eventer, Caroline Martin.

From a young age, Caroline made her mark on the world of eventing as a rising star and future asset for US teams. At just 17-years-old, she was named to the USEA High Performance Training List—making her the youngest equestrian to do so. By the age of 18, Caroline had won gold at the 2013 North American Youth Championships and by 2018, she’d been named USEA’s Young Rider of the Year multiple times. To date, Caroline has represented her country on multiple Nations’s Cup Teams and topped annual leaderboards countless times. Now, at just 26-years-old, Caroline balances her time between running her business and competing at the highest level of eventing.

But, prior to all her success, Caroline admits that horses weren’t her absolute focus growing up—she liked to play other sports, she built time for a quote on quote “normal” social life that any high schooler wants, and even studied abroad in Nicaragua to see what life would be like without horses. But, that life without horses was short lived, and in this episode, Caroline shares that she learned during her time away that she needed horses to be a part of her life. From there forward, horses did become her focus. So much so that Caroline now runs her own business, Caroline Martin Eventing, which supports her career as a top player in U.S. eventing.

You’ll hear more on that from Caroline in a little bit, Before diving into the conversation with Caroline, I’d like to thank the sponsor of this week’s podcast, Bimeda, and share their message:

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Julia Murphy: Now, let’s get into the conversation with Caroline. So, we’re going to start with the basics—pretty introductory questions. And, the first question is, how did you get interested in horses and riding?

[00:03:02] Caroline Martin: When I was I think around 3-years-old, my dad actually made a little bit of money. So, my mom’s always wanted a horse. So, he went out and bought her her first horse—an off-the-track Thoroughbred. And, there was a local eventing barn that was about 40 minutes away, and that was the only local barn we have in our area in Pennsylvania. It just so happened to be an event barn, so he bought her horse, she start started riding, getting lessons. And then, she dragged me to the barn every day because I was so young and had nothing else to do. That’s kind of how I got started into the horses. Naturally, she kept riding, and then when I got a little bit older, I think around 7, she put me into pony camps and stuff like that, and I just kind of got the bug that way.

Julia Murphy: Pony camps. I think we’ve all been there. Right?

[00:03:54] Caroline Martin: (Laughs) Absolutely. It was a blast. 

Julia Murphy: So what is it about horses and the sport that has kept you involved for so long?

[00:04:05] Caroline Martin: That’s a good question. So, I actually, when I was 15, I spent a year abroad and I kind of took myself away from the horses. Because, I thought, you know, I had Buck Davidson living on my property when I was younger and I thought everyone was crazy. You know, 6:00 a.m. till 6:00 p.m. every day, all day, and no one really ever got a day off and I was like, “These people are crazy. Why would you want to do this?” And, I took a year off from horses completely. And I missed it so much, like I literally think it’s just a part of me. You can’t take horses out of me.

I got really depressed and just couldn’t handle it. I moved back to the states and I got my Young Riders horse—a 4-year-old, his name was Quantum Solace—and he won the gold medal at Young Riders a few years later. And I was just hooked, I couldn’t do anything but horses. So, yeah.

Julia Murphy: I actually spoke to Doug Payne a couple of weeks ago and he actually was like, “It’s kind of like a drug,” and I was like, yeah, it’s kind of addicting.Once you start, you can’t get out of it.

[00:05:11] Caroline Martin: No, oh goodness, no. I definitely tried to, but it’s just a hundred percent a part of me andI love it. I love the community that eventing has, we’re such a tight knit group of people. Everyone’s there every weekend. We do it because we love the horses and there’s nothing better. There’s nothing better than going out and cross country and going into that start box and having complete faith in the horse and know that you can jump anything in your way. You know, we’ve all sat on this couple horses that you get a bit nervous on, but knock on wood, I have such a great string that every time I got to that box now, honestly, you like almost get this feeling you’re invincible. 

Julia Murphy: And I’m curious, where did you go abroad? Where did you live abroad for a year? 

[00:06:00] Caroline Martin: Nicaragua. It’s actually in Central America. My father does business down there, so I was always going down there as a kid and I actually grew up in Panama. And so, I wanted to spend a little bit more time with them and kind of, you know, get more of a worldly experience. I didn’t want to be completely … not sheltered, that wouldn’t be a good word … but just, the typical upbringing, I wanted to be a little bit more worldly. It was a really great experience. I did a lot of volunteer work. It was an abnormal high school experience, but it was normal in the way that I wasn’t always in the barn. I was able to have a little bit of a social life and kind of do different sports and did that type of thing where normally, when I lived over here in America it was always horses, horses, horses. It was a really, really great experience. I’m very appreciative of it, but I’m very glad that I got back into horses and stuck with it.

Julia Murphy: And, from that age that you started getting really serious into it and now even in your career, who are the mentors and the people who have influenced your riding over the years?

[00:07:16] Caroline Martin: I was brought up to levels with Buck Davidson. He was my coach, I think, about 10 or 12 years. Then I trained with Leslie law for a few years when I was a developing rider. And then as a professional I trained very closely with Anne Kursinski and Betsy Steiner. And then, I have some specialty coaches like Peter Gray when he’s not being a dressage judge. I also take quite a few lessons with whatever team coach at the moment.

So, Erik Duvander and also Leslie [Law] because he is the developing rider or the emerging riders coach. So, between those four or five people, I’ve got a really, really good team. I work really closely with Anne and Betsy. They’re at my farm every week or every other week. It’s great to have them.

Julia Murphy: This next [question] is kind of a broad question, but why is it that you like eventing so much? What is it about eventing specifically of all the disciplines that you just love so much?

[00:08:20] Caroline Martin: It was honestly, it’s just, I grew up with it. So, you know, my mom … It was just chance that we were close to inventing barn. I was just around that and kind of got thrown in that way. I love the cross-country. I love how aggressive it is. I love how you have to ride a little bit by the seat of your pants. I love the scrappiness, but yet, the top riders, you have to ride perfect around that course. It’s such a great feeling when you come off a course, and you know you’ve conquered it, There’s no feeling like that. 

And, it keeps it interesting, having three disciplines. They all, they all fit in with each other. Your flatwork transfers over to your cross-country and your show jumping. But, every day you get to do something different and you just keep learning. You might go to one show and you improve your dressage and show jumping, then the next show you improve the horse’s fitness. It’s so interesting how to become the best in it. It’s so, so difficult.

I know everyone gives the eventers a hard time that we’re all jack of all trades, but our horses are, I think, the best athletes out of any discipline. We ask so much of them every day. And it’s just, it’s crazy when you have a good five-star horse, they’re just the most amazing athlete out there.

Julia Murphy: They are so incredible to watch. I have to admit, I have a hunter-jumper background, and I just started going to events for the first time ever. [The Kentucky Three-Day Event] last week was my first time ever going to Kentucky and just being out there and watching what these horses can do … I always respected the horses and the riders, but seeing it in person, it’s just absolutely incredible. Watching you out there, watching everyone out there, it’s just what these horses can do. It’s absolutely mind blowing. 

[00:10:21] Caroline Martin: Yeah, it is. The hard thing is, so you have to get them quiet enough to do dressage and show off all of those movements, but then you have to have them so fit to go around that four to six mile cross country course, then you expect them to show jump clear the next day. It’s just insane. They’re such incredible athletes and their minds are amazing. You know, you might get a little bit of a sharp horse, but they try so, so hard every time you ride them. It’s amazing. They’re freaks of nature these, five-star horses. They’re just insane.

Julia Murphy: And speaking of conquering like you were before, can you talk about some of the most important wins in your life?

[00:11:06] Caroline Martin: Honestly, my Young Rider win would be really sentimental. I won … I can’t remember maybe it was 2013, something like that, won the three-star long on my Quantum Solace horse. He was the first horse I really produced from scratch as a 4-year-old. It was special because, the week after that, I was supposed to go back to school— go back to high school. And, I remember I was telling my parents, “No, I want to do you eventing as my career. Like, I swear, I promise, I’ll work hard, I’ll be able to do it. Just give me the opportunity. Right now is really important.” And they were like, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll see. We’ll see. It might be just be a transient thing. You might want to end up doing something else for a living.”

And, I remember winning Young Riders and being like, “See? I’m serious. Please, please?” And the next week I had to go back [to school] and they’re like, “Okay, all right, fine. We’ll let you switch to online and then you can do this as your career.” And I haven’t deviated from my plan. I’m still doing it and I love it and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

So, that win was important because that really started my career. And then when I had the win at Carolina International—it was a four-short on horse I only had for a few weeks—the horse was originally produced by Buck Davidson. They were going to sell him and my parents owned him and I asked if I could have the ride on him for a little bit and get to learn a little bit more on the horse. He was a seasoned pro. And then I had the win [at Carolina]. He was not an easy horse, like, he was a horse that would go into show jumping and have five or six [rails] down, especially at the advanced level. I don’t think the horse ever made the time cross country. I don’t know, we just kind of got along really well, the horse and I, so to win that big division really was a confidence builder for me just to prove to myself and prove to everyone that we were able to become fairly competitive at that level. 

Julia Murphy: On the topic of horses, we talked about influential people, can you talk about the most influential horses in your life and in your career?

[00:13:26] Caroline Martin: Quantum Solace would be the most influential horse of my career. He had a heart of gold. He was one of those horses that would try 110% every day, even though he didn’t have the most talent, he was just a freak of nature how much he would try. And he was the sweetest, sweetest animal you could be around. You ride around bare back one day and go ask him to go around a top cross country course the next day. There’s not many horses like that and I don’t think I’ll ever have a horse like him again.

Julia Murphy: What was his personality like?

[00:14:00] Caroline Martin: He was a little bit grumpy in the stall, but he was a sweetheart. It’s kind of hard to explain. He didn’t want you to hold him and kiss him and love him, but he wanted always to be the one that got brushed first or fed first or the most attention paid to. He was just a grumpy old man, but he had the heart of gold.

Julia Murphy: And a little more talk about competition—as far as winning and losing in this sport, you can never predict how something’s going to go with horses. Things don’t always go as planned. So, how do you deal with maybe not winning something or if you had an expectation for a horse or a show and it didn’t go the way that you wanted to, how do you deal with that?

[00:14:47] Caroline Martin: I work harder to be honest. So, Kentucky didn’t go that well for me, I have to say I’m pretty disappointed in myself. And, so, we drove home Sunday night, get to the barn, we get home at like 3:00 a.m. Monday and I’m out in the barn at 7:00 a.m. Monday unpacking, riding, training. I went to the gym. I’ve been to the gym every single day this week, starting at 5:00 a.m. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong, but my philosophy is, I’m going to keep training harder and pushing my body the most I can until I can win. I’m just I’m way too competitive. I wish I wasn’t so competitive. But, I don’t know what else to do. So, just keep working harder and I feel like if I’m working the hardest it eventually has to go my way. So,

Julia Murphy: And then at big competitions like Kentucky, do you ever get nervous or how do you handle your nerves?

[00:15:48] Caroline Martin: I don’t get too nervous. The biggest thing is it depends what you’re sitting on. If you’re not sitting on … Let’s say a horse that you don’t believe that can make it around the competition then, yeah, I’m probably throwing up. Then, I can’t handle my nerves. But, knock on wood, I’ve been really fortunate to have extremely, extremely good horses. I can 110% believe in them. So, I get nervous because I want to do well, but I don’t get stage fright. I try to make sure I’m focused. I do run a really big sales operation. We sell about a hundred horses a year. So, the big thing for me at the competitions is that I’m not dealing too much. I tell people that, “You have to give me the week off and if you want to buy a horse or if you need this or that, that you have to wait till after my competition.” So, that’s a big thing. I just make sure that I’m a hundred percent focused and not being pulled in too many directions at the big shows.

Julia Murphy: This kind of goes along with that theme—do you have any routines before big shows or any superstitions or anything you like to do before you get out in the ring or out on cross country? 

[00:17:01] Caroline Martin: Yeah, so many superstitions. And the funny thing is, every time I break a bone or have a fall or something happens, then I start with a clean slate. [The week before Kentucky] I had two very young horses in a long in Ocala, so I kept the same pants and the shirts—I washed them obviously—but I kept them aside and I re-wore those cross country clothes because I deemed them lucky for some reason. It depends sometimes in my brain if I have a whole bunch of horses in a show, the way I circle the start box … If the horse before that went really well I’d, say, circle the star box twice or something like that, I try to do that with my next horse and keep it in the routine and kind of follow the same path. I don’t know why I work that way. But that’s just kinda how I’ve been. Then of course, if I fall off or have a stop or something, then I’m like, okay, “You’re being crazy, Caroline. There’s no such thing as good luck or bad luck.”

Julia Murphy: (Laughs) That’s pretty funny. And then, as far as training, when you’re home training your horses and training yourself, do you have a philosophy that you like to follow?

[00:18:20] Caroline Martin: The biggest thing is you have to have a plan—long-term and short-term. So, each horse, I look at them and I say, “What level of does this horse need to finish this year? What is this horse’s weaknesses?” and stuff like that. I write a schedule every day but also every six months I write a six months schedule. Right now, I’m just finishing up with everyone’s spring plans and now I’ve got to prepare for everyone’s fall plans. And then, I kind of work the schedule backwards and see, you know, what day do the horses need to gallop. As eventers, we gallop the horses every four to five days, especially going to a big three-day. So, their fitness work is really important. And then their flat work I catch up on with my specialty coaches Anne and Betsy when they have time to help me with the flatwork and the jumping. I plan a lot. I write a lot of schedules, I write a lot of notes, and every horse has it’s own schedule.

Depending on their weaknesses and their strengths, we have some horses that have more Thoroughbred in them, so they might do less fitness work, but they might need more flatwork. And then I have some horses that are great on the flat and need to be on my hill in Pennsylvania six days a week.

Julia Murphy: How often do you get to train with your specialty coaches?

[00:19:48] Caroline Martin: I try to do it bi-weekly. It also depends on their schedule. When I’m in Ocala, and Anne Kursinski comes up from Wellington, so we might do every other week. But when she comes for that day, we’re jumping 15 horses together. She gets there about 10:00 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and we’re jumping all the way until 6:00 p.m.—literally nonstop. We take about a 20 minute break to drag the ring, then for her to eat lunch and me to chug a red bull or something like that, and then we keep training. It’s very intense. 

When I’m up here in Pennsylvania, she’s only about 30 minutes away from me. So, we get to see each other more and I can bring a few horses to her place, and then she’ll come over to my place and train me on a few. That’s a bit easier. And then same with my dressage coaches. With the dressage coaches we actually do more twice a week because and we spread it out. We might do about like four, three or four horses each training day. And then they might ride the horses or I might ride them.

Julia Murphy: Do you teach students?

[00:20:57] Caroline Martin: I do not actually. The way I structured my business is that I do sale horses. I run this whole sale operation, so that honestly takes the time out of my day where I don’t have time for students. Honestly, I’m not very good coach. It’s very impressive what the coaches do. They’re really good at telling everyone, you know, how to tell them how to do stuff. I just, for some reason, I lack the ability to communicate, you know? But with the sale horses, I’ve got really great connections. So, that’s how I financially support myself is finding these horses and working. I work for Paul Hendricks and Emil Spadone. They source the horses and I just find them their new homes.

Julia Murphy: When you are riding [sale] horses and riding your horses, do you have any favorite exercises or type of work that you think is important in your ride?

[00:21:56] Caroline Martin: The most important thing in my ride, to be honest, well, there’s two. Fitness is a huge thing. We’ve got a really great trot path and I do a lot up on the hills. But the second thing is to take your time and to warm up the horses and to actually make them enjoy it. Like everyone, I find that sometimes, everyone gets into a drilling mentality and stuff like that. When you have a day where both of you don’t feel like you’re doing a hundred percent, go for a hack and have a really good plan. There’s tons of exercises that I like to do. I like bounces in the field. I like to make sure I have really small … I love to put all the show jumps really small and go in and out of the lines and maybe put a four stride and a three stride and make the horses really adjustable. Especially for eventing, your horse kind of has to trust you 110% sometimes. Like at Kentucky, you had a few jumps around blind turns and the horse didn’t see it until the last second. So, we have to have our horses so trained that they pick up literally when you tell them to pick up. So, yes, there’s lots of stuff like that. But a little bit, my philosophy is that you and your horse have to enjoy it. So, if either of you having a bad day, go for a hack and be grateful of the little things.

Julia Murphy: And, like you were just saying, that trust out on cross country is such a big deal because, the horses, it could be that last stride before they see the fence. What do you do to build your horse’s trust and to build that relationship with them?

[00:23:38] Caroline Martin: That’s a great question. I can give you an example. So, I got a horse in about two years ago, and it was a super troubled horse. I sold it for a friend of mine, or I was selling it for a friend of mine, and it arrived to me and it wouldn’t jump over crossrail. His name’s Diablo Hit. I remember the day he arrived. I actually had a broken collar bone from a different horse. And, I threw two of my riders on him and the first rider got on him and I said, “Oh, why don’t you go jump a crossrail, this horse is beautiful, I want to see it jump.” [He] slams on the breaks, the girl goes over his head and she breaks her arm. Then the next girl I’m like, “Oh, come on. All right.” So, then I tell the next girl to get on. Same thing happens. She falls off and breaks her tailbone and I’m like, “Come on guys. This horse can’t be that bad.” I remember I’m rehabbing, so we did a lot of just cavallettis and logs and just really brought it back to the basics. And the biggest thing is the basics with these horses.

Then I remember getting on the horse after my surgery and getting fixed up. And I really just took my time. With these event horses, they’ve got to trust you a hundred percent. You’ve got to, every time you ride them, you’re either training the horse or untraining the horse. And every time I got on Diablo, I made sure I explained everything the best to my ability. I never once lied to him or tried to set up something that tricked him or anything like that. I was just always a hundred percent honest with him and just showed him the way he should be. Knock on wood, this horse has been incredible. He was a horse that would get eliminated at training level to horse that won the national championships two-star long last year and has been top in all of his intermediates. So, patience is the biggest thing. And again, not lying to these horses. Just everyday, you just have a small goal. Your goal might be, “I just want to hack down to the field on loose rein and every day you just try 110%.

Eventually, I think they always come around. I don’t think, I’ve maybe only had one horse out of probably hundreds of horses that have come through my barn and that has had an issue that I don’t think I’ve been able to fix.

Julia Murphy: Do you do any type of groundwork with them when it comes to trust and building relationships?

[00:26:05] Caroline Martin: Honestly … I’m no Tik Maynard and I don’t do any of that stuff. I think it’s so impressive what they do, but I’ve honestly never been taught that or never really tried much of that. I’ve just done everything on their back. That’s just naturally where I always go to. We do do a little bit of lunging over cross country jumps and stuff like that. But I found always that I like to fix the horses on their back and try and figure it out that way.

I’m a big believer that on the ground, they gotta be well behaved. They have to stand on the cross ties, they have to behave for the farrier, behave for the vet, they have to behave when you turn them in and out, they have to walk on your shoulder and stuff like that. But, the biggest thing is, when I’m up here in Pennsylvania, I give all my horses, my personal horses, they all have stall guards and I feed them buckets and buckets of treats. That’s a big thing for me. I like to bribe my horses, bribe them as much as possible (laughs).

Julia Murphy: You can’t hear me, but I was laughing on the other end (both laugh). A couple more questions just to wrap up. So, why do you think you have been so successful as a rider in your career? 

[00:27:15] Caroline Martin: Oh, I don’t think I’m successful at all. Every day, it kills me. There’s so much more I need to … there’s so much I need to win. I need to do better. I don’t think I’ve ever been successful. I think if anything, I’ve been lucky and I’ve been on really, really good horses and I’ve had really good training. I’m sorry, I can’t answer your question. I just, I don’t think … I think maybe, hopefully, in 40 years, so I’m 26 now, so maybe, hopefully, in 40 years or 30 years, you can ask me that question and I can answer it. And hopefully I can tell you, “Yes, I’m finally successful.” But I’m nowhere near as successful as I want to be or can be.

Julia Murphy: Well, I think a lot of people would disagree with you, but I also will keep that in my notebook for in 40 years when I talk to you again. I’ll ask you how you’re feeling (both laugh). And then, what is the hardest part of this sport for you?

[00:28:14] Caroline Martin: The lows, to be honest. When the horses get hurt it is so devastating. You know, you put your heart and soul into these horses and when they’re injured, it breaks my heart. If they get hurt, if it’s, career ending, I’m fine with that. At least go live out in the field and maybe get to do something lower levels and that’s fine. But yeah, the toughest thing is the lows in the sport. You put everything into it, then everything can be taken away from you the next day.

I never mind if I’m getting hurt, I’m fine with that. I sometimes joke and I’m like, “Great. I get to finally get a day off,” if I get to break my collarbone and my foot or something like that. But, there’s just nothing more heartbreaking than when the horses get hurt, it’s really sad. But, knock on wood, I’ve got such a great team of farriers and vets and they care just as much as I do about these animals. I’ve been very fortunate. But, it still happens, it’s part of the sport. Any high-performance athlete—any soccer player, football player—everyone eventually gets hurt. That’s the tough part.

Julia Murphy: And speaking of your horses’ care and veterinary health and nutrition, can you speak a little bit more about that? Do you have any specific health care routines that you like to follow with your horses?

[00:29:37] Caroline Martin: I think good riding benefits the most out of everything. You can give your horses all the injections, you can get them all the fancy equipment, and you can do this and you can do that. But, good riding is the most important and doing proper fitness work.

My Islandwood [Captain Jack] horse, when he’s in full work—right now he’s on holiday and he’s getting fat and happy—but, he works six days a week, twice a day. He’ll go for an hour hack in the morning, just up and down the hills, and then I’ll do a second ride on him, either flat work or dressage or actual fitness work like a gallop or trot set.

So, I think that is the biggest thing … making sure that you’re riding them and making sure that they’re fit. That you’re not pressing their body too much, too often. Giving them their breaks is really important and having a really good team. I know I can call my farrier, my vet, my whole team at any point. I can call them at midnight and I know there’ll be here and that they care about the horses just as much as I do.

And it’s really cool. Like, when I went to Kentucky, they’re all there for me. They’re all in start box for me. It’s so cool to have everyone that has your back.

Julia Murphy: I know you are still quite young and so successful for your age, but is there any advice you would think that you would give your younger self, even though that wasn’t that long ago?

[00:31:14] Caroline Martin: Probably just trust the program or trust where you’re going. There were so many times where I was so unhappy because I was wishing I was doing better or wishing I was doing more, doing this, and doing that. And sometimes, I wish I took a little bit of a deep breath when I was younger and just trusted the process. But, I probably will say the same thing for the rest of my life. Just, “Caroline, take a deep breath and enjoy every little part.” I remember when I won Carolina [International], the next day, everyone’s like, “Oh, do you want to go drinking? Do you wanna go party? Do you want to do this?” And I’m like, “No, I need to go work. I need to work more.” Like, I can’t ever seem to take a break and just kind of enjoy it. So, I definitely need to figure out that part.

Julia Murphy: And, last question—What’s next for you? What’s on your agenda for you and your horses?

[00:32:08] Caroline Martin: I have this new, very exciting horse called Vamanos. My friend Kelly Hutchison got him for me. She sent him over from Ireland and I’m going to take him to his first three-short at the Horse Park of New Jersey. That’ll be his second intermediate. And then, I think I’m going to go take him to the three-long at Virginia [Horse Trails] along with the very exciting young horse called Redfield King. He’s owned by Paul Hendricks, Emil Spadone, Gayle Davis and Derek Strine. He won the 5-year-old class last year, so he’s going to go do his first two-long. So, I have a whole bunch of really exciting young horses. My favorite part of the day is riding these young horses and teaching them things. You know, I remember when I got King last year and he jumped his first log. I love doing that type of stuff and then taking them to their first long and seeing how they react after that. I just love it, love it, love it, love it. So, I’m really excited to take these young guys out. That’s the thing I’m looking most forward to. 

And then, my fiance keeps bugging me and telling me we need to plan our wedding. So, I need to take a break and organize that as well.

Julia Murphy: Oh, well, congratulations. I didn’t know that you were engaged. That’s so exciting! 

[00:33:31] Caroline Martin: Thank you! I keep telling him, I’m like, “All right. If I get one week off, I promise you I’ll plan.” Then it’s just horse show after horse show after horse show. Again, like Doug Payne said, we’re just drug addicts.

Julia Murphy: Famous last words—”When I take a day off, when I take a weekend off (both laugh).” 

Well, thank you so much, this has been fantastic. Again, I really appreciate you just taking the time to do this and I know our listeners our going to love it. 

[00:33:58] Caroline Martin: No problem, thanks for having me! I do want to add, I couldn’t have my business without … I don’t know how to describe her, maybe I’ll just call her my work wife, but I have a partner Casey McKissock, and she’s been with me for the past four years. Pretty much ever since I left the left all my coaches and kind of moved out on my own. I couldn’t have this without her. So, I just want to give a shout out to Casey. She’s there all day, every day. She was my groom at Kentucky, she’s here watching me get bucked off one of my young horses this morning. She’s always been my rock. So, just wanted to throw a shout out to her. I think it’s really important, every upper-level rider has to have someone like that. I feel like anyone who has a business has to have someone like that in their program.

Julia Murphy: You got it. Well, thanks so much, Caroline. 

[00:34:51] Caroline Martin: No problem. I’ll talk to you later.

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[00:22:51] Julia Murphy—Conclusion: Thanks for listening to this week’s episode with Caroline and a big thank you to the sponsor of this week’s episode, Bimeda. Learn more at You can subscribe to The Practical Horseman Podcast on Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Stitcher or wherever you listen. While you’re there, please rate and review the show. I’m Julia Murphy and you’ve been listening to the Practical Horseman Podcast.