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 Sandra Oliynyk and this week’s episode is with top hunter rider and trainer Louise Serio.
Louise and I spoke at the U.S. Hunter Jumper Association International Hunter Derby Finals in August. She was there helping professional rider Jennifer Ritucci. I loved all of our conversation, but I especially like the part near the end where Louise shares her enthusiasm for the derby finals. Specifically, she talks about how beautifully the horses went and how it’s cool that hunter riders can strategize to earn extra points in such a competitive field.
Additionally, earlier in our conversation, Louise’s love for horses shines through. For example, she says, “I’ve had so many wonderful horses and each one has taught me something. I think that’s one thing as a trainer, you learn that your horse’s teach you way more than you teach them.”
Louise Serio: Early Years and Wins
Meanwhile, to fill you in on Louise’s background, she had an early start in Pony Club, which became the basis for a decades-long career as a top circuit rider and trainer. Her mother, Mary Warner Brown, founded the Hillendale Pony Club in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. There she taught legions of young riders. Mary taught Louise to ride based on classic training from legendary horsemen such as Capt. Vladimir Littauer, a proponent of forward riding in America.
Louise has consistently trained and ridden champions in every division at the most prestigious shows on the East Coast. In addition to being a two-time USHJA WCHR Professional Rider Champion, she won the WCHR Palm Beach Hunter Spectacular and been Leading Lady rider at the Devon Horse Show. Louise won the 2009 Old Springhouse Trophy for Lifetime Achievement at The Capital Challenge Horse Show. She represented the United States as part of the hunter defeating the European Team at the 2009 World Cup Finals. Additionally, she was a member of the hunter team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. In 2012, she was inducted into the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame.
Louise Serio: Giving Back
In terms of training, her students, clients and horses have qualified for Devon, the Indoor shows, the USEF Junior Hunter National Championships, the USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals, the ASPCA Maclay National Championships and the USEF Pony Medal Finals for the past 30 years.
Louise has also committed herself to the growth and future of the equestrian sport. In 1991 she helped found and create the World Champion Hunter Rider Program and the American Hunter-Jumper Foundation, now part of the USHJA. Having served on multiple committees to improve the sport over the years, she won the USHJA’s Committee Excellence in Service Award in 2012.
Horses are a family business for Louise. She lives at her Derbydown stables in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and Loxahatchee, Florida. Her daughter, Chrissy, is a riding professional and her son, TR, is a farrier. Her granddaughter, Mary Jo, splits her time between the English and Western worlds of riding.
Podcast Sponsor: Horse Week
Before getting into the conversation, I’d like to share a word from this episode’s sponsor, Horse Week. Don’t miss a minute of the Horse Week action including profiles of incredible equestrians and equine athletes, like Boyd Martin, Bliss Heers and Doug Payne’s Vandiver; storytelling that celebrates the horse-human bond, heartwarming tales of horse heroics, advice from world-class trainers and more!
Horse Week, brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim, airs October 9-15, 2023. Tune in from the barn, office, or the comfort of your couch—Equine Network is making it easy to watch. Just visit HorseWeek.TV.