Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives, as well as find out what they do when they are not in the barn or arena. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sarah E. Coleman
Like many Kentucky transplants, Stephanie Calendrillo came to the Bluegrass state for school, but fell in love with the area and simply couldn't leave.
A rider and trainer who is the owner of Graystone Stable in Georgetown, Stephanie is passionate about all things Thoroughbred: She has her sights set on the Retired Racehorse Project's 2018 Thoroughbred Makeover in the fall with her OTTB Robbins. Placing young horses into great homes is Stephanie's specialty.
Read on to learn more about Stephanie, Graystone Stable and just how quirky her personal horses are.
MSEDA: Where are you from and what brought you to Kentucky?
Stephanie Calendrillo: Plainsboro, NJ. I came here for college; I graduated from UK in Animal Science -Equine.
MSEDA: When did you begin riding?
SC: When I was 6 years old; I got my first horse when I was 7 or 8.
MSEDA: Did others in your family ride or how did you get the horsey gene?
SC: My mother grew up on a chicken farm and always wanted a horse, but her mother wouldn’t allow it--when I was old enough, she bought a horse for the family.
MSEDA: Were your parents supportive of riding?
SC: Very--my mom still enjoys a ride!
MSEDA: Did you have to give up other things to ride (sports, school dances, etc.)?
SC: I personally did not. I rode, played basketball, ran track and went to school.
MSEDA: How did you get your first horse?
SC: My parents bought us a 2-year-old OTTB (LOL). I learned to canter/jump on her and still have the very old mare, Chauncey, to date.
MSEDA: When did you begin competing?
SC: I started competing in jumpers when I was 10 or 11.
MSEDA: What horses do you own now?
SC: Too many... 6 right now! My main horses that are not sale horses are Chauncey; Night Watch, a dark bay OTTB who is 13; Pepper, a 6-year-old OTTB chestnut mare that was Shawn's horse (my fiancée who passed); and Robbins, my Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover horse for this year, he’s a 4-year-old, dark bay OTTB. All of them were acquired from the racetrack.
MSEDA: What horses do you compete (and what do you compete in?)
SC: Night Watch (“Nico”) has been retired from eventing and is now competing in dressage; Pepper just started her career in eventing; and Robbins will start eventing soon.
MSEDA: How long have you been a MSEDA member?
SC: Just this year! I had a couple injuries/issues the past few years.
MSEDA: What is your favorite event or horse show and why?
SC: Oh gosh... anything Thoroughbred-related, really. I am looking forward to the Makeover because it has such a good mission!
MSEDA: Who is one person you would not have met without the horses?
SC: Shawn Lee, my fiancée and boyfriend of nine years. We met at a boarding farm when I was right out of school. We bonded over our love for horses.
MSEDA: What horse are you most thankful for?
SC: Honestly, I am thankful for each of them. Each horse is different and every horse teaches you something new; you can never stop learning. But I am really glad I bought Pepper for Shawn, who later became Shawn’s therapy horse during his cancer struggle.
MSEDA: What are your horse's favorite treats?
SC: All the things!
MSEDA: What do you do full time? Do you enjoy it?
SC: I run Graystone Stable (in Georgetown, KY) and I love it. I have always loved bringing up young OTTBs and competing or finding them their forever homes.
MSEDA: What is your specialty?
SC: Training/restarting the young horse.
MSEDA: How did you get into this job?
SC: I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated college, but I knew I loved horses. With not much money, I decided to start a boarding/training facility and with a ton of long days and a ton of luck it panned out!
MSEDA: How long have you been doing this?
SC: I have been riding and training for 20-some years; I have had Graystone Stable for nine years.
MSEDA: What are your favorite riding accomplishments?
SC: Every young horse placed in a great home in an accomplishment for me!
MSEDA: What are your favorite equestrian brands?
SC: SmartPak, Absorbine and Devoucoux
MSEDA: What are your horse's quirks?
SC: Nico enjoys being smacked in the face frequently He also will buck/rear before all phases of eventing, causing giant scenes--once he’s in the arena rides like a pro!
MSEDA: What is your goal this year?
SC: RRP Makeover 2018!!
MSEDA: What is one piece of advice you would give someone, related to anything?
SC: If you want something bad enough and put in the work, you can achieve it.
MSEDA: What would be the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?
SC: Make sure my daughter is set for life!
MSEDA: What is your favorite book?
SC: All the books! I love to read.
MSEDA: Do you have other hobbies? What are they?
SC: Can I say wine?
MSEDA: What do you feel makes a horse person “successful?”
SC: You must have extreme patience and the ability to always learn something new because you’re never done with horses.
MSEDA: What other animals do you own?
SC: A mini donkey named Flower, a goat named Bud, two dogs and two barn kitties.