ABOUT THE TRAINER
Jennifer Cassidy was officially bitten by the horse bug at age twelve, when she began volunteering at Shannondell Farm after having spent a week at horse camp. Her passion was strong, and it didn’t take long for the Breyer model collection to take up most of her room, and in a few short months her closet was converted to a fully operational stable. Throughout the years she graduated from volunteer to staff member, and quickly became an integral part of the daily barn operations. By the age of sixteen, she ran the forty horse facility while the manager was away and filled in for the staff instructor when necessary. She also showed green ponies and hunters for clients, and was given several catch rides from the late Pat Lockhart as well as a filly to break and show from the barn manager, the late Mary Kirkpatrick. It was Mary who inspired Jennifer to be a well-rounded horsewoman and not just a rider. “There wasn’t anything Mary didn’t know. Whenever a horse was sick or lame the barn girls ran to her and she always knew exactly how to treat it. I admired that and wanted to be just as knowledgable.” Jenn continued at Shannondell until she left for college, at which point having shown successfully in the CCHSA and local ʻAʼ circuit, as well as the PJA and in several breeding classes including some at Devon. Always trying to improve her riding, she supplemented training at Shannondell with clinics from Babsi Clark, Ann Gerrard, Titi Mills, and Kevin Babington.
Once she decided the dedicate her life to horses, Jenn attended Delaware Valley College and graduated with a Bachelors in Equine Science, specializing in Equine Training. During her four years, she fell in love with all aspects of riding and competed successfully in sidesaddle (thanks to Audrey Bostwick), carriage driving, dressage, and represented the college at IHSA regionals for Intermediate Western Equitation. She was chosen in 2005 out of a list of 80 eligible students to represent the college in the Hartpury Exchange, a semester spent in England at one of Europeʼs most prestigious riding schools. There she studied under BHS masters, and was given such opportunities as walking the Badminton course to taking the BHS exams.
Once Jenn graduated, she took the part time job she held throughout college at Phoebe DeMott’s Cedar Ridge Farm and turned it into a full-time management position. While there Jenn was responsible for show set up to the home care of the horses and everything in between. Phoebe was a great supporter and mentor of Jenn, and even gave her the opportunity to compete her gelding ʻGoodfellaʼ, which she did successfully in several professional divisions. Over her five years at Cedar Ridge she gained knowledge of national competition and management for top show hunters, and learned more about being a horseman from one of the best.
In 2009 Jennifer was presented with an opportunity that could not be ignored - to manage Irish Olympic rider Kevin Babingtonʼs barn. She jumped at the chance, and accepted the job, which consisted of everything from riding Kevinʼs sale horses to running every facet of the 30+ horse grand prix facility. There her riding and teaching skills grew exponentially while observing Kevin and his assistants Diana Babington and Patrick Dwyer, and was also complimented by international clinicians John Leningham and Albert Vorn. She topped off her knowledge of managing top grand prix athletes by working with some of the best farriers and vets across the country, and mastered show turnout for some of the nations largest competitions. She was trusted to run the Pennsylvania barn solo while the Babington team went south for the Florida circuit, which depending on the winter weather was sometimes not an honor!
In 2014 she began work to complete her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Temple University and finally took the plunge into freelance teaching and coaching full-time. She was given the chance to start her business out of Peace Valley Equestrian Center in Doylestown, and grew from having one student to several happy clients and having horses in training. The show team had a successful first year with several champions and a few qualified to compete in the Colonial Classic and traveled to rated shows like HITS Saugerties. Jenn also committed to continuing her own riding education, and was lucky enough to be paired with SwingTime S to continue gaining mileage in the jumper ring, and had opportunities to ride with some of the greats such as George Morris and Chris Kappler, and Kevin Babington. “You can never stop learning. A great teacher, has a great teacher, who also has a great teacher, and so on.”!
2015 proved to be the official launch of a dream Jenn has had since childhood - Knock on Wood Farm. Named after her horse she cherished as a teenager, Knock on Wood Farm strives to create a new generation of not just polished riders, but also of educated horse people. “Anyone can be a passenger in the saddle and take home pretty ribbons, but it takes commitment, dedication, and skill to be a horsemen. To recognize colic, to hear the loose shoe, to be able to set a proper distances, to show off to the judge how you have schooled your horse for competition - that is horsemanship. Above all else, it needs to stay fun and safe.” Jenn is available on a limited basis to select individuals who wish to train for local to rated competitions, and is willing to travel to whichever location is best suited for the client and their horse.
If you wish to join the Knock On Wood Farm family and would like more information, please call Jenn at (215) 954-9062 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org! HAPPY RIDING!!