Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at email@example.com.
By Sarah E. Coleman
Christine Siegel is one busy woman: Keeping multiple horses in training, her crazy family schedule running like a well-oiled machine and her own personal farm humming along is enough to overwhelm anyone—but this fast-paced schedule is just what Christine loves.
MSEDA: Where are you from?
Christine Siegel: I am originally from Ocala, FL
MSEDA: What brought you here?
CS: Our business, PM Advertising (owned with husband Jon), brought us to Kentucky. We were expanding rapidly in Kentucky, so made Ocala our secondary office and Kentucky our headquarters.
MSEDA: When did you begin riding?
CS: I began riding at the age of 3, when my mom introduced me to the western world. I ran my first barrel pattern at the age of 3! :)
MSEDA: What is your background in horses?
CS: I've had horses as long as I can remember...my first rides I don't remember because my mom was pregnant with me...does that count? ;) My parents managed a Thoroughbred farm near Ocala when I was young, which had one stallion that I adored. I would go to his barn and play with him. He was much like Super Saver with sticking out his tongue. Such a kind, silly giant horse.
MSEDA: How long have you been competing?
CS: I have been competing for about 10 years.
MSEDA: When did you get your first horse?
CS: I got my first horse/pony (red chestnut PONY mare...yup)when I was about 10 years old.
MSEDA: What horses do you own now?
CS: I have Marley, Steeler, Mews, Conte, Kerjilion and Quinn who are all retired racehorses. Some are in my sales program, some are horses I compete and Quinn is my farm’s mascot...mostly retired. I also have a 2-year-old Super Saver filly in training at WinStar Farm, and a yearling Paynter colt.
MSEDA: How did you get each of your horses?
CS: I rarely look for horses, they seem to find me! I frequently get calls from friends/trainers needing to retire racehorses. Some are too slow, some need a bit of rehab, but they all need a safe place to call home. I am happy to have a place that can provide that for horses in need.
Siegel on Marley
MSEDA: What horses do you compete (and what do you compete in?)
CS: I compete my sale horses as well as Marley and Steeler in dressage and eventing.
MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?
CS: Since I have been doing recognized events, about 2 years.
MSEDA: At what level do you compete?
CS: I am working toward my gold medal in dressage on Marley, will event to Novice with Steeler (I am a chicken) and am comfortable sticking right around 3'3" for jumpers.
Siegel on Kerjillion
MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?
CS: They all seem to love carrots and some like peppermints. Kerjillion loves the carrot/spice cookies.
MSEDA: What is your favorite show and why?
CS: I'd say, Majestic Farm’s (Ohio) Ride for the Roses. It’s over Derby weekend. The Thoroughbred industry is in our blood, so I always love to represent the Thoroughbreds against the fancy Warmbloods on Derby weekend!
MSEDA: Do you have any good luck rituals?
CS: No, just like to hear the voice of my husband before I ride!
MSEDA: What do you do full time? Do you enjoy it?
CS: I own Highbrook Farm. I love it! Wouldn't trade it for anything.
MSEDA: How did you get into this job?
CS: We do so much on the front end of the racing industry. This is my way to give back by assisting retired racehorses transition into a second careers.
MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?
CS: Most definitely Asmar Equestrian and Gersemi
MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks?
CS: Steeler still thinks he is still a racehorse...everything is full of power and speed! Marley will strike if you give her a wrong aid ... because humans are dumb and she will expose your ignorance. Mews will try to kick your heel when you put your leg on her in a rude (to her) way, Kerjillion has a regal "side eye.” He stares at you like a statue if he thinks you are beneath his level of awesome. Conte likes to dunk his face in the water trough and splash the water out, and Quinn tries to be the boss of all ... but isn't. Poor guy.
MSEDA: What is your goal this year?
CS: My goals this year are simple: I would like to get my second level scores on Marley and get Steeler out to one event. There is no pressure on any of it. Last year was so busy with lots of travel that I really wanted this year to be relaxing for them and for me.
MSEDA: Who do you ride with?
CS: I ride with Emily Brollier-Curtis with Miramonte Equine in dressage, and Jenn O’Neill with Lucky Dog Eventing for eventing/jumping.
MSEA: Where do you ride?
CS: Now I mostly ride at my farm, but I have Marley boarded at a facility--she will be coming home June 1st! My most favorite place to ride is Masterson Station Park! We are so blessed to have a facility like that to ride at for free!!
MSEDA: What is your favorite part of your barn/trainer/boarding stable?
CS: The most favorite thing about my barn, besides my awesome ponies, is the creek. It is such a peaceful place and does wonders for the soul!
MSEDA: What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horses?
CS: I have a few that have experienced some type of abuse along the way. The biggest thing to overcome with them is trust. I always give them the most time to settle into their new environment before asking them for anything. Establishing trust with them is my No. 1 priority. I won't even work them until they feel 100 percent safe. There are good days and bad days, but the bad days begin to taper, in time.
MSEDA: Describe your horse in 10 words.
CS: The most amazing gift I never knew I wanted.
MSEDA: What is your favorite memory?
CS: One of my favorite memories was when I was a kid, I would trail ride my horse down to the nearest lake and we would swim...my girl and me!
Peso the donkey
MSEDA: What other animals do you own?
CS: I have a cat, three dogs, and a donkey.
MSEDA: Is there anything unusual about your horses now?
CS: Marley's star is the shape, of Texas so she has followers from Texas! Steeler is named after the Pittsburgh Steeler's football team and was partly owned by Terry Bradshaw.
MSEDA: Do you have active roles in horse-related organizations?
CS: Yes, other than owning my own farm, we have an international advertising agency where we market many of the Thoroughbred breeding farms. We have offices in Ocala, Lexington and Sydney, Australia. I also sit on the board of directors for Masterson Equestrian Trust as Vice President; I am the president of foalphotos.com, and co-producer of Thoroughbred Lifestyle.
Siegel and Dream Steeler
MSEDA: What are you passionate about other than horses?
CS: My family. We are a very busy family, so the time we get together is precious. My children are very active in sports so we travel a lot. We strongly believe that investing in your children is the best investment you will ever make ... they are the future.
MSEDA: What is one piece of advice you wish you had when you were younger?
CS: Don't try to be good at everything. Find on or two things and become unbeatable at them. It's better to be a master of little than just OK at a lot of things.