Karin Schmidt started riding in a high level dressage barn in Germany and was a member of a vaulting team from age 7-13. After high school she became a jockey apprentice at Fritz Drechsler’s gallop racing stable (German champion jockey). She has raced on every track in Germany, was a guest jockey in Peru; raced in Kentucky and Arizona. Karin has exercised horses in Switzerland, England, and Canada. Professionally involved with thoroughbred race horses for 9 years in 3 continents. Experience with breaking and training green horses. Holds German Master Trainer License in training gallop race horses as well as training and mentoring apprentice jockeys. Later she worked as a Stable Manager for a European trail riding barn.
Since she moved to Michigan in 1999 with her family she became a Therapeutic Riding Instructor with "Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.)" She added several certifications in Vaulting, Riding, Therapeutic Riding, and Longeing over the years, and was/is affiliated with* AVA American Vaulting Associatio * USEF United States Equestrian Federation* FEI Federation Equestrian International* CHA Camp Horsemanship Association* 4H / PEP Proud Equestrian Program * MIHA Equestrian Team
Grace Peterson/ Program Director Grace started working for Karin as a Riding Instructor in the fall of 2014. In the spring of 2016 she became the Program Director and helps Karin oversee all that goes on at Legacy Stables. She started riding as a five year old and showed in 4-H all the way through high school. At age six she got a horse named Diamond and the two have been together ever since. In her high school years, she trained ponies, gave lessons and cared for her family’s herd of ten horses. During college she worked two years at a summer camp as an riding instructor. She has extensive experience teaching and working with children through camps, Sunday schools, riding lessons and being the oldest of nine. Horses have had a huge impact on Grace’s life and she loves having the opportunity to share horses to improve the lives of others.
Hannah Stark/ Riding Instructor has been riding horses for about fourteen years. She started riding and volunteering at a local YMCA camp before moving on to show in the hunter, jumper and dressage rings. She finally got her own horse, Trillium, a Trakehner paint cross, when she was eighteen. She recently earned a bachelors degree from Michigan State in nutritional sciences. While in high school and college, she also worked on several horse farms as a stable hand and farm manager's assistant. She has worked with a variety of horses and absolutely loves sharing her equine passion with new people!
Olivia Johnson/ Riding Instructor & Vaulting Coach started riding and showing horses 6 years ago, but she has had a love for the sport and horses for as long as she can remember. She has been involved with 4H for 5 years and says it is her true passion. Olivia recently got a new project horse, a bay paint mare named Lyric, and is excited to start a new journey with her. She has been working with us for a little over a year and loves it! Giving riding lessons is her favorite activity and she is always willing to share her love and passion for the horses and the sport!
Kaitlin Mazer/ Riding Instructor & Vaulting Coach has been riding horses for over 17 years. She became hooked on horses after attending a riding camp at the age of eight, and began taking lessons shortly thereafter. She initially started riding and showing at a hunter/jumper barn, and later trained and showed dressage as well. At the age of 13, Kaitlin got her first horse, an off-the-track thoroughbred. She still has him today, and credits him with much of her learning and continued passion for horses. Kaitlin loves to share her knowledge and passion of horses with everyone who comes to the stables!
Lisa Groeneveld/Office Administrator came to Legacy Stables as a beginner Leisure Rider in 2014. One month of lessons turned into several and she has not looked back. Lisa considers herself a late blooming Horse Crazy Girl! She wanted to contribute to such a great program, but not having the horse knowledge to do so, the office administrator job was the perfect alternative. Lisa has a business degree and a day job in accounting. She says, "The barn is definitely my happy place and don’t tell my husband but my boyfriend’s name is Charley (Karin’s first horse!)".
Jeanne LaFontaine/Barn Staff always wanted a horse ever since she was a little girl! At 46, she got her first horse, an OTTB named Blanc. Jeanne has been doing barn chores and caring for up to 34 horses five days a week for seven years. Feeding and caring for horses has turned out to be her favorite job and has only served to deepen her love for such magnificent creatures. She joined Karin's Horse Connection/Legacy Stables in 2017. She says, "Life is good...but it's certainly better with horses!"
Mandi Freund/ Riding Instructor As a young rider she spent many years in the 4-H program in northern lower Michigan. As a teenager she began taking dressage lessons. She was fortunate to have been exposed to natural horsemanship as a teenager as well, and her interest in this discipline grew and continues today. She attended college at Lake Erie College where she received a degree in Equine Science Facility Management. While Mandi was there she had the opportunity to ride several different disciplines, with many wonderful instructors. Upon graduation, she moved to Montana and worked on a guest ranch as a wrangler. It was at this ranch where she was able to expand her knowledge and practice of natural horsemanship. After returning to Michigan, she had the opportunity to ride with natural horseman clinicians Buck Brannaman and Bob Blackwell and dressage instructors Maryal Barnett and K.A Von Ziegner. Starting in 2008 she worked with a hunter/jumper barn on the A circuit where she was able to work with several Olympic level trainers and riders.
Kim Dittenber/Vaulting Coach Kim and her family had gone horse back riding at another barn in the fall of 2015 and loved it so much that they wanted to find a way to get "horse time" more regularly. This is when they learned about vaulting through Kentwood Parks & Recreation. Since then, Kim's passion for the sport has grown and she joined us as a coach. She has many skills to offer the team! She has eight years in education teaching individuals of various ages including at risk youth and young adults. Kim is very health conscious working as a diabetes prevention coach, eating a vegetarian diet, and participating in many fitness activities including hiking, yoga, kayaking, and Zumba. Kim has been actively learning more about vaulting in order to improve her coaching. She says, "As a vaulting coach I try to incorporate a variety of fun strengthening and stretching exercises. I'm enthusiastic about the sport and excited about learning more. Legacy stables has felt like home from day one and I'm so impressed by the fact that it is accessible to EVERY one regardless of age, gender, experience, ability etc."