A lot of people boast extensive resumes with horses, but few have the varied accomplishments that STRIDE member Paulette Stoudt touts. Her equine abilities landed her in the Guinness Book of World Records three times. As a fund raiser for handicapped children, she rode a string of horses at all three gaits and over fences those three times in a ride-a-thon, besting her record each year for a final record of 100 hours 10 minutes non-stop on horseback.
She has trained racing Quarter horses and gone on to turn those ex-race horses into world champion jumpers, like Rio Toro, who won the 2005 Quarter Horse World Championship Open Jumper title. This is just icing on the cake. Her horses won open jumper titles for six years at Quarter Horse Congress
She even trained and rode a massive bull before a crowd of thousands prior to a Blue Angels flying exhibition.
Most recently, she guided a Gypsy Vanner stallion down the center line and through fourth level in a matter of months in order to secure the scores needed to advance to part two of the L judges program.
Still not impressed? Well, there’s the 2019 Rose Bowl Parade that Paulette rode in. She was hired to be an outrider for the Wells Fargo parade unit, which consisted of the famous Wells Fargo stage coaches-– two of them, along with sixteen horses. And then there are the numerous rodeo queen titles that Paulette won in the 1980’s. Clearly, she has never stopped. Never. Not when she was earning her Bachelors degree in Animal Science at Penn State, not when she was attending Kentucky Horseshoeing School (yes, she shoes and trims her own horses), not when she was attending auctioneers school.
Visit Paulette’s farm and you will be immediately impressed by the activity. As a matter of fact, you’ll have to be careful, or you’re liable to be swept up in it! She works with about 10 horses a day, and given that she is a one-woman operation, she moves from task to task like greased lightning. However, she always has time to offer a thorough, thoughtful explanation to an owner who may be observing a training session or a student taking a lesson. Her clients rave about her. “She is the most phenomenal woman I have ever seen,” said Michelle Stuck, a winter resident of Stuart, Florida, a Friesian enthusiast, and a client of Paulette’s.
Every single inch of her property is covered by a designated riding area for one equestrian discipline or another. There’s the hunter area, beautifully populated with jumps, a super obstacle challenge, complete with teeter totter bridges the width of a tightrope that I personally watched her maneuver a Friesian over, her dressage area, and an area for driving. The list goes on. Paulette has built the whole facility from the ground up.
What drives a person to keep up such a pace? A clue can be found in the name of her farm. Wild Heart Stables. Paulette is clearly driven by an inner passion to share. What she does comes from the heart. She loves freely sharing her knowledge with people, and she loves instilling the trust and skill sets in horses that will allow them to gain status and security in the human world.
What’s her secret to success? “Keep an open mind. Don’t have an opinion. Observe without pre-judgement. The horse has to show who they are.” Paulette explains that too many horses are stereotyped because of breed or conformation.
Paulette methodically breaks down each job or movement into baby steps and teaches the horse incrementally so that he can build on previous success and move forward with confidence.
She also appreciates different horse and rider combinations for who they are. “No two are the same,” she says. “Each are like a fingerprint—individual and unique together.”
Says Paulette, “At the end of the day, be thankful for what the horse gives you. Whatever you can give, that’s what it’s all about.”