Kristin Counterman FEI Dressage rider and USDF Bronze and Silver medalist, currently competing at the FEI Young Rider level with her 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Three Times. Three Times, known around the barn as “Dutchie” was donated to Dressage4Kids in 2015 by his previous owner, Caroline Stephens, for Kristin to compete. Kristin is also working with her 5-year-old Canadian Sporthorse mare, Delta, who she hopes to train up through the levels to Grand Prix.
Kristin’s love of horses began when she was 5 years old, when her mom showed her a brochure for a horseback riding summer camp. After that camp, she was hooked. In the beginning, she started out competing in eventing. She came up through the U.S. Pony Club levels and learned on many different ponies and horses. She loves eventing, but has always had a special place in her heart for dressage. Something about the quiet communication and harmony between horse and rider lured her. So, around the time she was 11, she turned her focus primarily to dressage.
Kristin made her entrance into the FEI Dressage levels at 13 years old on Bellinger, a 20-year-old schoolmaster that her family leased from owner and trainer Lauren Sprieser. Kristin started out at 2nd level, achieving overall champion at the Lendon Gray Youth Dressage Festival in Saugerties, NY, after which Lendon Gray offered her the opportunity to become a member of the Emerging Dressage Athlete Program. In 2014, “Billy” and Kristin competed at the FEI Junior level. Their accomplishments together included competing at the inaugural USDF National Championships in Kentucky, placing 6th in the open class musical freestyle at 2nd level. They also were named the reserve combination for the Region 1 Junior team for the NAJYRC, and placed 9th at the USEF National Festival of Champions.
While competing with Billy, Kristin was also working with a project pony, a prior barrel racer named Esperanza. Her goal was to transfer what she was learning on Bellinger and teach “Whisper” to be a nationally competitive FEI Dressage Pony. With the help of her trainers, they were successful, and Esperanza competed with Kristin at the USEF Festival of Champions two years in a row, placing 4th in the nation in 2015.
After Bellinger went on to teach a new rider at the lower levels, Kristin met Dutchie. In 2015, Kristin and Dutchie placed 5th in the FEI Junior Freestyle and 9th individually at their very first NAJYRC, and were the 2015 FEI U.S. Junior Dressage National Reserve Champions.
In 2016, Kristin and Dutchie moved up to the Young Rider level, and wintered in Wellington, Florida, where they attended the EDAP Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic and trained with the U.S. Youth Dressage Coach George Williams and Olympian Steffen Peters. They competed in multiple CDIs in Florida at the YR level. They also placed 5th in the YR division against a tough and experienced crowd at the U.S. National Festival of Champions.
Recently in 2016, they have attended for a second year the Robert Dover Horsemastership Clinic in Florida. Kristin and Dutchie plan to compete at multiple CDIs during the winter with the goal of being considered for the U.S. Young Rider European Tour Team.
Kristin’s longterm aspirations are to represent the U.S. in international competitions in dressage, and to continue to work with and train a variety of horses.
Kristin is thankful to Dressage4Kids, Lendon Gray, Caroline Stephens, Lauren Sprieser, her friends, family, trainers, veterinarians and farriers for always being so supportive. It truly takes a village to succeed!