Kelli Marie Wainscott
IHSA Western Coach &
Zone 1.5 Coordinator
Mount Holyoke College
2013 Connecticut Color Breed Queen
Where do you coach and how long have you been there?
I coach the western IHSA team at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. I have been coaching there for three years now.
What makes you proudest about your current team?
There are many things that make me proud. We have an amazing team of strong, intelligent and talented women. These riders come in with a very wide range of horse knowledge and experience. We have riders that have ridden multiple breed circuits, and we have riders who's first time sitting on a horse is during our team evaluations at the beginning of each semester. These women work as a solid team, helping each other improve, always asking questions and looking for the next step to make them better riders and horsewomen. Everything they do is done with 100% effort and the best and most dignified of intentions. Being awarded the blue ribbon is just icing on the cake for these cowgirls. The work it takes to get there, and the goals they set for themselves and for the team are their priority. And I am so proud and honored to be a part of all of this.
Were you an IHSA rider in college?
Unfortunately college riding was not an option for me. I chose to live at home during my college years so I could continue to ride and train my own horses. In order to afford my horses, I worked between 40 and 50 hours every week while going to college full time. I also chose to begin college during my senior year of high school so that I could graduate earlier. Needless to say, my horses became very comfortable riding under lights at midnight. I have shown every show season since I was 9 months old, with a heavy concentration in the stock breeds, 4-H, color breed circuits, AQHA and also cow events. I think because I did not have the IHSA experience as a college student, I try to make sure my riders understand what a wonderful opportunity being on this team is, and to never take it for granted. They will probably never experience something like this again in their lives.
Who was your mentor/inspiration as a young rider and why?
As a young rider, my mother was my mentor, instructor and trainer. I admired what she accomplished with her Arabian gelding and learned so much from her about training and proper equitation. As I grew up, I idolized many of the riders that I rode the circuit with, because everyone was so talented and brought something different to the show ring. My peers were my motivation to learn more and always keep an open mind when working with horses. Every time we put our Justin's in the stirrups, we learn something new. There were many trainers and show judges that I looked up to and respected as horsemen and horsewomen. Each person has made an impact on who I have become.
What has been your most memorable IHSA experience?
So many of my experiences are wonderful memories, and I am sure there are many more to be made. In three years time, I feel like this team is my family and I spend as much time as I possibly can with them, when my full time job with the Massachusetts State Police and my four horses at home are not demanding my attention. I am lucky that I have a very patient husband :) Thank you Matt.
If we are talking about IHSA show memories, my favorite thus far is when one of my riders had come out of a class after drawing a very difficult horse and simply said "I did my best, even though he was very tough. But you know what? These tough horses are making me a better rider." This is the kind of breakthrough I pray that each of my riders can someday relate to. Our team competes, and enjoys doing well, but they also take every experience and make it into a positive lesson learned. And those are the memories that mean the most to me.