Beth Stelzleni has always had a passion for horses, which was surprising to her parents considering that they were not a “horsey” family. After years of trying to get Beth involved in dance or gymnastics, Beth’s parents finally gave in and enrolled Beth in riding lessons at the age of seven. She hasn’t looked back since.
Originally from Florida, Beth started her riding on hunter ponies, competing on the A circuit for years before she wanted something a bit different. Stumbling onto a dressage barn, Beth quickly fell in love with the intricacies and finesse at the sport, even though she was still a very young rider. For the next few years Beth spent her time focusing on the dressage discipline, and during this time she competed and achieved top placings as a Junior Rider in USDF Championships at multiple levels with multiple horses.
While Beth loved the dressage work and wanted to pursue riding in this area, she missed the thrill and adrenaline that came from jumping. In 1997, Beth made the move into eventing and discovered her true passion. Her first event horse was an Appendix QH found in the classified section of a local newspaper. “Prince” had never seen the inside of a show ring before Beth, but together the two progressed through Novice level eventing. In 1999, Beth found the horse that would take her to the upper levels of eventing and dressage. Handsome Slew was a green OTTB who could only canter on one lead when Beth met him, but she instantly knew there was something special about him. “Handsome” was a horse of a lifetime for Beth and taught her more than she could have ever imagined. Beth and Handsome competed solidly through the upper levels of eventing, winning USEA area awards and ranking in the top ten on the national leader board at their level every year they competed while also working at Fourth Level dressage.
Throughout her career, Beth has made it a priority to continually seek out instruction for her own riding, as she believes that there is always something new to learn with horses. To further her dressage education, she ha worked with the likes of Scott Hassler, Lesley Eden, and Alex Chertba (former USSR Olympic dressage team coach). In eventing, Beth has had the privilege to ride with Matt Ryan, David and Karen O’Connor, Jimy Wofford, and routinely clinics with Lucinda Green. Beth was also a working student for one year with Henrietta Eppanauer, an Advanced level event rider from Holland.
Beth is currently competing green horses at the lower levels and starting young horses in their eventing careers. Beth piloted a green WB mare to a win at the 2013 American Eventing Championships in only the mare’s third show. In addition, in 2012 Beth decided to custom make her next upper level event horse and bred a lovely Hanovarian mare to Mighty Magic, a talented event stallion overseas. This breeding produced an elegant, leggy bay colt who Beth named Mighty Handsome SQF. Beth has big plans for “Mighty” and is excited about his future career. She also routinely has a few OTTB in the barn being retrained as event horses.
Beth also holds a great amount of knowledge about horse management, breeding, and nutrition. From 2006-2007, Beth managed a Hanoverian breeding farm in Florida that is one of the top Warmblood producing farms in the nation to this day. She also holds a Master’s degree in Equine Nutrition and is currently a Nutritionist with Seminole Feed.
Beth has experience teaching all ages and levels of riders, from children to adults and beginner to advanced. Beth’s teaching philosophy centers on the use of positive, confidence building instruction to build solid fundamentals, both in and out of the saddle. Beth’s instruction emphasizes correct flatwork and safe jumping to produce confident, successful horse and rider partnerships. One of her strengths is her insight into what will work best for each horse and rider, and her skills at communicating these ideas to her students. Beth teaches not only the “how” of riding, but the “why” as well.
Beth’s students range from young children in their first year of riding to successful CCI* level eventing partnerships. Beth is also active in the United States Pony Club (USPC). Her students have won many ribbons, including USDF and USEA area and national awards. They routinely compete in area championships and at the AEC’s. In addition, Beth coached the rider/trainer of Fairways King, who won was the Dressage Champion and voted America’s Favorite Thoroughbred at the 2016 Retired Racehorse Project Makeover. Most importantly, Beth’s students are confident in their riding and horsemanship abilities and enjoy the partnerships they have with their horses.