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Because of Horses

Jul 26, 2019

The wildly talented 22-year-old rider, Kelli Cruciotti, epitomizes what can be accomplished when you follow your dreams. Her illustrious junior equitation career included medaling on the Young Rider Nation’s Cup Team, winning the Artisan Farms Under 25 series in Wellington, and capturing the blue ribbon in the Encana $50,000 Under 25 Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows. And it culminated with her phenomenal win at the USEF Pessoa Medal Finals in 2015! Not only was Kelli the youngest rider in the history of this class to ever win it, but it was also her very first open Grand Prix. Now, she’s set her sights on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.


But while her accomplishments and dreams are vast, Kelli maintains a down-to-earth attitude and relentless dedication to personal improvement. Training under the watchful eye of her mom, Cindy, and godmother, Kelli Clevenger, Kelli works hard at her family’s facility, Serenity Farm, where she doubles as an associate trainer and resident Grand Prix rider when she’s not traveling the world for competition.


In today’s episode, join Kelli and Elise as they explore the world of international jumping competitions, Kelli’s favorite moments in and out of the arena, her career as a competitor, and the many challenges that come with riding at the highest levels. Kelli also shares her fan-girl moments; how she first connected with her horse-of-a-lifetime, Chamonix; pivotal moments in her career; and gives her advice to other young riders also looking to pursue their own equestrian dreams!


Topics of Discussion:

[:25] About today’s episode with rising star, Kelli Cruciotti!

[1:43] Kelli speaks about her family’s incredible involvement in her career.

[5:15] Kelli talks about her family’s shared devotion to horses.

[7:11] In what ways has Kelli’s life been changed by her competitive riding and her love for horses? And what advice would she give to young competitive riders who are also interested in pursuing their own equestrian dreams?

[9:08] Where did Kelli’s goal for competing in the Olympics come from? And how has that dream influenced her career as it has developed?

[12:19] What is it like to compete in these incredibly prestigious events and come out on top?

[13:53] Has Kelli had any fan-girl moments?

[16:10] What is it like for Kelli to know that others have their own fan-girl moments... with her?

[20:03] Outside of the competitive arena, what is the camaraderie like between Kelli and other top riders?

[23:29] Has there been a point that she has marked as a pivotal moment in her career?

[25:39] How did Kelli first connect with her horse-of-a-lifetime, Chamonix?

[28:02] Kelli speaks about the challenges she faced when she fractured two vertebrae and was told she would never ride again.

[30:52] Kelli speaks about experiencing every equestrian’s nightmare:  the tragedy of a barn fire.

[34:17] What qualities does Kelli look for in selecting a horse?

[37:19] How Kelli’s mother has helped her in every step of her career.

[41:17] Kelli’s perspective on training her horses and knowing when to compete them.

[42:57] How does Kelli keep her mind on the moment while she’s in the arena competing?

[45:04] About next week’s episode of Because of Horses!

[46:15] Kelli shares some of her favorite memories competing in various competitions – including winning over the legendary Beezie Madden!

[47:10] How does Kelli juggle coaching clients and competing at the same events?

[49:21] Where to learn more about Kelli and follow her on social media.


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Mentioned in this Episode:

Kelli Cruciotti

Kelli’s Instagram

Kelli’s Facebook

EquestFile (Use coupon code: BOH10 to receive a 10% discount for two months off your subscription)

A Parent’s Guide to Riding Lessons: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive with a Horse-Loving Kid, by Elise Gaston Chand

United States Pony Clubs

Next week’s episode of Because of Horses


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