True North Stables’ Caitlyn Shiels rode Cavalier II to the win in the $25,000 Maffitt Lake Grand Prix on Saturday, May 12, a mere 24 hours after winning the $2,500 United States Hunter Jumper Association (USHJA) National Hunter Derby riding Cassius.
Shiels’ back-to-back victories in both the jumper and hunter rings marked just two of the many highlights from True North Stables’ successful two weeks at the Maffitt Lake Spring Gathering I & II, held May 9-13 and May 16-20 in Cumming, Iowa.
“Our whole team had a really great two weeks at Maffitt Lake,” said Shiels, whose True North Stables is based out of Zion, IL, in the summer months. “We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our summer show season, and hopefully it’s a sign of the things to come these next few months!”
Shiels was particularly happy with Cavalier II’s performances at Maffitt Lake, as the 11-year-old warmblood gelding won not only the $25,000 Maffitt Lake Grand Prix during week one, but also the $5,000 Hott Horse Shows Welcome Stake during week two.
Making their victories even more rewarding was the work put in to get there, as Shiels purchased Cavalier II as a six-year-old and has brought the gelding along herself ever since.
“Between a lot of sweat, tears, time, and hard work, the reward of it all coming together is really amazing,” said Shiels of her grand prix win. “After stepping out by myself to launch True North Stables in January, there’s a great boost of confidence that comes with winning on your own. Not to say that I don’t always have great mentors, but there’s something special about bringing along your own horse and preparing yourself to walk in the ring and going in there and winning.”
In addition to her success in the jumper ring, Shiels topped the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby on May 11, riding Cassius for owner Durpetti Equestrian LLC, and she finished third in the same class riding Cakewalk, owned by Elise Ledsinger. The following week, Cakewalk also returned to finish second in the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby held May 18.
“Cakewalk was amazing!” said Shiels of the 12-year-old mare who earned scores of 86 and 88 in the derby and is proudly offered for sale. “She’s a really neat horse and such a good girl that’s going to make a great horse for a lucky junior or amateur.”
Not to be outdone by their trainer, True North riders Michelle Durpetti and Katie Hawkins claimed winning accolades of their own.
Durpetti earned multiple wins in the Amateur-Owner Hunters riding Cassius and Lucca, both owned by Durpetti Equestrian LLC, throughout the two weeks, and she claimed the division reserve championship on Cassius during week one and repeated the reserve championship win on Lucca during week two.
“Michelle was awesome. We came home from the winter in Florida, and Michelle went right back into her very intense, non-stop work,” said Shiels of Durpetti, who owns and operates her own Michelle Durpetti Events, along with serving as a managing partner of her family’s Gene & Georgetti restaurants. “Amidst all of that and her hectic schedule, for her to come out and do as well as she did was great. She was able to really focus on her riding here, and she was really in the zone. She rode fantastically, and she picked up right where she left off from in Florida!”
In their horse show debut together, Hawkins and Gray Street topped both of their over-fences classes to win the Modified Adult Hunter championship during week one, as well as earning wins in the Adult Hunters throughout both weeks.
“Katie had just started leasing the horse, and she did very well,” said Shiels. “To see her progression in just the two weeks of the horse show was awesome! It’s a great feeling to know that she was able to get set up for success in a short period of time and go right into the horse show and do that well.”
True North Stables will head next to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, for the Country Heir Horse Shows, beginning June 6.
To join the team at True North Stables or to learn more about lesson and training opportunities, please contact Shiels at email@example.com.
For the most recent updates and photos, find True North Stables on Facebook and Instagram, or learn more at www.TrueNorthStables.com.
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About True North Stables
Founded and led by Caitlyn Shiels, True North Stables offers horses and riders top-class hunter/jumper riding and training services. Following more than a decade of experience working with highly-regarded professionals including Greg Franklin, Jonathan and Christine McCrea, Ken and Emily Smith, and McLain Ward, Shiels launched True North Stables to cater to goal-oriented equestrians of all levels. With bases in Illinois and Florida, True North Stables provides the highly-individualized training and opportunities that allow both horse and rider to excel in the sport. Learn more about True North Stables online at www.TrueNorthStables.com.