What’s it like to bring home a gold medal from the Pan American Games?
Find out in this episode of the Dressage Today Podcast! We caught up with top Canadian dressage rider Lindsay Kellock to learn about her Pan American Games experience and some of her standout memories.
Our conversation took place at Dressage at Devon, where she also happened to be the leading lady of the weekend! Tune in to hear about her family tree of equestrians, a personal best at the Pan Ams, her special relationship with godmother Ashley Holzer, how to jump the line at the airport and more!
Updates leading up to and during the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final are brought to you by Vita Flex. Win a trip for two to the 2020 FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas. Event tickets, airfare and hotel accommodations included! PLUS: VIP all access pass at the show with USEF National Dressage Youth Coach George Williams and USDF Silver and Gold Medalist Roberta Williams. Click here to enter! Sponsored by Vita Flex
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Come along with us, the Dressage Today team, as we mix and mingle with the most inspiring members of our dressage community—from top riders to local legends. We talk all angles of our sport—sharing everything from training philosophies to stories of chasing dreams to horse-care tips.
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[00:00:00] Lindsay P: [00:00:00] When we were at dressage at Devon this past September, I realized that I have a new life dream it’s to be Canadian. I’m only kidding because US dressage has a lot to be proud of, but talking to some of the top tier Canadian riders at Devin was for me, one of the highlights of the weekend. I’m Lindsay Paulson. And I’m one of the hosts of the dressage today podcast.
Today, we’re talking to one of the leading riders in Canadian dressage, Lindsay Kellock fresh off her team, gold medal finish at the Pan-American games. She joined us for a chat during her time at Devon. She was kind enough to take some time out of her very busy and also very successful weekend at Devon to tell us about her experience.
It just so happened that we were talking to the woman of the weekend because in addition to her Pan-Am team gold medal, she also won the grand Prix and grand Prix freestyle at Devon, which was an FEI dressage world cup qualifier. Stay [00:01:00] tuned for thoughts from Lindsay on her Pan-Am experience her most emotional memories, her fascinating family tree of athletes. And what’s next for her? We’re talking boss lady mares, personal bests and tips to get to the front of the line at the airport. Although spoiler alert, a gold medal helps.
Jennifer: [00:01:24] Hey, there I’m Jennifer Malachi.
Lindsay P: [00:01:26] I’m Lindsay Paulson.
Jennifer: [00:01:27] We’re the hosts of the dressage today podcast, where you can find us talking about anything and everything dressage related.
Lindsay P: [00:01:35] Our conversations span the world of dressage from leading riders. To local level dressage heroes,
Jennifer: [00:01:41] we’re talking training advice, horse care tips, and stories to inspire your own dressage journey, tune in, then tack up.
Lindsay P: [00:01:53] Lindsay, thank you so much for joining us today. Why don’t we kick off by talking about. Just your background. I know you come from a pretty [00:02:00] horsey family. It sounds like your sister and your cousins event at the upper levels and Ashley Holter is your godmother. Correct. And your brother is like an international Alpine skier and your family is involved in so many different ways. Can you tell me about that?
Lindsay K: [00:02:14] Yeah I guess I got into the sport because my mother is a dressage rider and her best friend is Ashley Holzer. So that’s how Ashley came to be my godmother. And so basically since I was born, I’ve been in a barn in a dressage barn. And yeah, my sister’s an eventer and my brother did compete internationally for ski racing. So I’m definitely from a competitive family, I guess you could say. And. My mother, she really was the one that pushed me to do the riding I wouldn’t say that I had any pressure to do dressage, but they let me decide what I wanted to do. I did many different sports. I was. Also ski racing. I [00:03:00] actually did a little bit of ballet at a young age, which is shocking, but so I got to choose my path a little bit. And I did a lot of jumping up until I was 14 and then my horse unfortunately passed away and my mom ended up buying a dressage horse for the two of us to share. So that’s how I really got into dressage. And we, it’s a funny story because I moved on to train with Jackie Brooks and my mom was also training with Jackie at the time. It was a very close friend of ours. And we had to share this horse. So I would, my mom would go up in the morning and have a lesson with Jackie and then I would finish school and get a drive to Newmarket Ontario, which is where Jackie’s barn was located. And I would ride the horse in the afternoon. So we would share the horse together, which is cool.
Lindsay P: [00:03:48] It sounds like your horse is probably
Lindsay K: [00:03:50] very fit.
Lindsay P: [00:03:51] So I know you, you said that you didn’t necessarily feel pressured to do dressage. Exactly. But just being in a high-performance family, do you, have [00:04:00] you felt pressure to compete at this elite level? Or would you say that it’s probably just something that’s more innate.
Lindsay K: [00:04:06] Yeah, I don’t. I think I didn’t feel pressure, but I knew watching Ashley growing up and watching Jackie, who was also a big part of my life I just watched them compete and I went to the shows and I was just hungry for it. As soon as I saw the sport at that level, I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
Lindsay P: [00:04:28] Speaking of high performance. Congratulations on your recent team gold medal. What was it like to represent your country on that kind of international stage?
Lindsay K: [00:04:37] Surreal? A dream come true. It was an incredible feeling. Just representing Canada at such a high level. Being a part of the Canadian team as far as even going to opening ceremonies just walking into that stadium for the first time to compete in my first test in the Prix St [00:05:00] George, I just remember walking in and this feeling came over me like, wow, I’m at the pan American games. This is amazing, and obviously wanting to go in and have the very best ride I could. But just that moment in that feeling alone of walking into the stadium and having my teammates there supporting me and my friends and my family was just an incredible experience. I don’t think anyone will ever take that away from me, which is awesome.
Lindsay P: [00:05:30] Did you ever feel like you had moments where you were like overwhelmed with emotion?
Lindsay K: [00:05:35] Yeah, I would say after my first test, I was definitely in tears because we had a personal best. And when I saw the score come up on the board. The feeling was just, and I felt pressure going first for my team because I was first in the order. And, you always want to go out and do your best and, show everybody that you earned your spot [00:06:00] there and, just, yeah, have the best representation first out. And I really felt as though we did that. So that was emotional for me and have. I had so much support there. So many of my friends were there and our team camaraderie was just incredible. We all got along so well. We had a blast together and that was even emotional, just being, supporting one another and seeing how well we got along. It was really amazing. Yeah. It was emotional. Definitely.
Lindsay P: [00:06:31] I was just about to ask, could you elaborate more on what the dynamic was like between you and your teammates? Could you tell us more about who was on the team and what everybody brought to the team
Lindsay K: [00:06:41] I was on the team with Tina Erwin, Naima Laliberte and Jill Irving. And so Jill and Naima are in my barn in Florida. So it’s not my barn. It’s Ashley Holtzer barn. And we all trained with Ashley. So we already had a relationship going in, which is pretty [00:07:00] amazing.
And Tina, we all knew, from the horse shows, but Tina just fit right in. And like with the four of us, it was a blast. Like we did an Instagram takeover for equestrian Canada and we had way too much fun with that. Like we just did. Really fun things and making jokes. And it was incredible.
Lindsay P: [00:07:22] Switching gears from the people to the horses. Tell me about the mare that you competed at the pan AMS. I’ve heard that her strongest quality is really her great work ethic, and she seems pretty unfazed by a big atmospheres,
Lindsay K: [00:07:34] Floratina. She’s one of the most amazing horses I’ve ever ridden because she goes into a big atmosphere and she gets better and better, and she loves to show she loves to compete. I go in there and I feel like she wakes up and she’s if honestly, if any mistake that she makes is on me because she doesn’t want to make a mistake. We, in my I1, I made a counting error in my [00:08:00] twos and that was all me. And to go in for my first major games on a horse that has so much confidence, I think was so helpful for me. Just for my nerves, knowing that I could trust her in the ring. And she’s just the sweetest, like in the barn, she’s so cuddly and she loves attention and she just, she wanted to be like the queen, and since the games we brought her back home to her owner’s Chloe barn and Bedford, New York. And she definitely. Thinks she’s all that. Now we have to still keep her spoiled because she’s ah, what am I doing now? Like, why am I not doing something? Yeah. She’s an amazing horse.
Lindsay P: [00:08:42] It sounds like in some ways she really defies the mare stereotypes.
Lindsay K: [00:08:46] She does for sure. I wouldn’t say she’s mare-ish at all. She’s. In a good way. She’s confident girl, that’s her best trait, I would say.
Lindsay P: [00:08:55] Yeah, she’s the boss lady. We’ll be [00:09:00] back with more from Lindsay Kellock in a minute, but first a quick message from our sponsor.
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Going back to the pan AM’s experience as a whole, how. And you’re obviously an experienced competitor. And you’ve obviously had a really great start to your weekend here at Devon how would you say that competing at the pan AMS is different from your previous competition experiences?
Lindsay K: [00:09:59] Of course, [00:10:00] when we’re competing just on a regular basis, we’re competing as individuals. So for me, I think that I have competed in two nations cup before, but have having the added pressure of representing Canada and also, not wanting to let your team down. That was definitely a different dynamic that you have to get used to. But I was lucky enough to have such an incredible team behind me and we all got along so well. So we, we didn’t feel as much pressure I would say. But it is. It is different. It’s definitely something that you have to practice that I think like riding for a team and dealing with those different nerves. And of course we had to come in top two at the Pan-Am games in order for us to get a, an Olympic birth for the Canadian dressage team. And we did that, but that, that was definitely added pressure in the back of our minds like that we had to perform and come talk to and anything can happen with horses, right? So we [00:11:00] were lucky that everybody was healthy and good and fit and ready to go.
Lindsay P: [00:11:03] So what’s it like coming home and bringing that medal in that Olympic birth back to Canada,
Lindsay K: [00:11:08] actually, funny story, I went to Machu Picchu after the games with my family which was incredible. And we came, we ended up coming back a little bit early because my mom had to catch a flight home anyways. So I decided that I was going to try and get on an earlier flight. And I had a two hour window. We had just gotten back from Machu Picchu. We were in the airport and my flight wasn’t until the next day. And Jackie was also with us. And I had the medal in my backpack and Jackie was like, you need to go up to the jet blue counter and ask them if you can get on the flight, tell them you’re a gold medalist, beg them to get on the flight. So Jackie being, the character that she is, she went up to the jet blue desk and it’s is this girl’s a gold medalist can you let her fly home a day early? She’s not supposed to be flying home until [00:12:00] tomorrow. And they. They were amazing. My like put me right on the flight. No problem. So that was cool. And then I was quite late, so the time was short and I was in the customs line or the passport line. And someone had seen that I was wearing a Pan-Am sweater and they said, Oh, like, how did you do? And, I said, Oh, our team, we won the gold medal. And then. She this group like yelled to the whole customs line this girl’s a gold medalist and they were like, show us your medal and then let me jump to the front of the line. So that was a pretty cool experience. And especially not being at home, even, I’m in Peru and the people were just amazing. Like the Peruvian people were so supportive. Everyone was nice. That was a really cool part. Definitely. Yeah.
And then getting home. Yeah, just having all of the support from everybody is incredible feeling that [00:13:00] love, like from winning the gold. And definitely there is a come down to that I would say. But I am so lucky to have a few good horses that I’m competing and looking forward to the next thing. So I wouldn’t say that I felt maybe. a come down that other athletes, maybe would feel after a major games. I’m just like, I’m hungry now to go to the next.
Lindsay P: [00:13:24] So you’ve touched on the personal best that you had at the pan AMS when you, I don’t know when you think 20 years from now, when you’re reflecting on your pan-ams experience, is there a moment or a memory that’s that you think will stick with you forever?
Lindsay K: [00:13:39] This is a tough one. Yeah, I think the moment standing on the podium, getting the golds, that’s gonna stick with me forever. I’m hugging my teammates. We were all in tears. I was super emotional. I’m looking up to the stand seeing my, literally my whole family came. So that was amazing. That [00:14:00] for sure is one of the best memories. There’s a lot of memories. Even the lead up, at training camp with our teammates, we had so much fun. Just get traveling together, flying to Peru, that excitement and the plane, and, we all got matching shoes and matching shirts to travel with and we just had such a great time. There’s so many memories.
But definitely the feeling that sticks out to me the most is what I touched on earlier. The feeling of walking into that stadium on the mare And just feeling her light up and I just thought, okay, this is going to be good. Like that was one of my best memories. Sure.
Lindsay P: [00:14:37] You’ve mentioned that Ashley Holser has played a really big role in your life. She’s been a huge mentor for you. Can you share more about how your relationship with her has evolved over time, especially, I know you worked for her for, I think seven, seven years. And now you have your own training business. Can you tell me more about that?
Lindsay K: [00:14:55] Ashley has been a huge part of my [00:15:00] career. I would not be anywhere close to where I am today without her. Getting the experience, also managing her barn for seven years, watching how she runs her business, how she trains her horses, how she. Deals with her students and clients. It’s just I soaked so much of that in and learn so much from that. She’s amazing in every way, she’s a hundred percent devoted to what she does. She works. So hard. One of the hardest workers, I know she’s in the barn all day teaching all day, all hours, and she also had a family, to manage as well. I would say our relationship, I don’t know if it’s changed as much as now that I don’t work for her, but we still are in the same barn in, in Florida, all season in Wellington. And she still coaches me as much as possible. And I still help her out when I can, we’re like a family. She’s like my [00:16:00] mother, so she’s been there for me through all of this and, she’s the one that pushed me. And to do this professionally and helped me to, build my business and Get my students and help me learn to train. And she’s just been a mentor through all of it and still is I don’t think that’s ever going to change.
Lindsay P: [00:16:22] Let’s talk about what’s next for you. You obviously have some high-performance horses that are keeping you quite busy and we know that Canada is set to head to will be heading to Tokyo. Talk about what your upcoming plans are.
Lindsay K: [00:16:36] Of course. The upcoming goal would be to. Go to Tokyo, but you know how that’s a long way. After last night’s performance was Sebastian, that is definitely becoming more of a reality now. But we’re just going to keep working at that goal and. Day to day, you never know what happens with these horses and these animals. But if just going to [00:17:00] keep training hard and working with Ashley, as much as I can with him, and I have incredible support of Sebastian’s owner, Melissa Schiff and enterprise farm. We have everything in front of us to get there, but of course we have to perform and do our best, and there’s a lot of good Canadian combinations coming up. So I think it is it’s exciting time for Canada because we have a lot more combinations that are getting over 70% than we’ve ever had before. So it’s exciting and I’m happy. To be on that team or to see my friends also get on that team because Jackie and Brittany are some of my closest friends, so they’re also trying yeah. be a dream if we were on the team together.
Lindsay P: [00:17:44] We’re for those of you listening, we are recording right now at dressage at Devon and we’ve been hearing the Canadian national Anthem playing quite a bit so far. Thank you so much for joining us. Lindsay, it’s been such a pleasure to talk to you and we wish you a lot of luck with everything that you have ahead of you.
Lindsay K: [00:17:58] Thank you so much for having me.
[00:18:00] Lindsay P: [00:18:00] If you’d like to hear more from top riders like Lindsay Kellogg, stay tuned throughout our coverage presented by Vita flex, leading up to and during the FEI dressage world cup final. And here’s a super cool opportunity that you won’t want to miss. You can win a trip for two to the 2020 FEI world cup dressage final in Las Vegas event. Tickets, airfare and hotel accommodations included. Plus VIP all access pass at the show with USDF national dressage youth coach George Williams and USDF silver and gold list. Roberta Williams. Visit dressagetoday.com/worldcuptravelsweeps sponsored by Vita flex.
Thanks for listening to the dressage today podcast. You can learn more from dressage today and read in-depth training articles at dressagetoday.Com or you can visit our new on-demand video site dressagetodayonline.com and for daily [00:19:00] dressage training tips and advice. Give us a follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Happy Riding.
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