Sixteen year-old Nicole Kuklinski of Ironwood, Michigan and her new mount, Dancin In My Sleep, are fresh off a finalist placing at the AQHYA World Show in the hunter under saddle. The duo is ready to better their performance at this year's Congress.
Kuklinski got involved with horses in the fifth grade when a teacher invited her out to her farm to ride. Like many girls this age, she was hooked and started taking lessons, got her own horse, and showed at the local fairs until she progressed up to the point where she is now. GoHorseShow loves to find out about riders in our industry and we asked Nicole some more questions about her background and love for horses.
Q: Hi Nicole! So tell me about your current horse?
A: I am showing a 2005 black gelding by Too Sleepy To Zip and out of Ready To Dance. Dancin In My Sleep, a.k.a “Karl” and I became a team in early May when we purchased him from Jeff and Linda Moody. I show him in hunter under saddle and performance halter geldings. I am hoping to start add equitation in the near future. Karl is truly an amazing horse and has a lot of heart--he always gives me one hundred percent. Karl has a very laid back and loving personality. He was Reserve Congress Champion in hunter under saddle along with many top tens. I was a finalist at the 2012 Youth World in the Hunter Under Saddle with him, and he has also won many Grand Champion Halter Gelding awards and he has superiors in Open and Amateur Hunter Under Saddle.
Q: Your favorite equine accomplishments and memories?
A: My favorite accomplishments would be making the finals at the Youth World, being Reserve Champion at the Tom Powers, making the finals at the Congress, and being an AQHA Champion. As of right now, my favorite memory would be placing at the 2012 Youth World. This is very important to me since this was my first time to compete at the Youth World.
Q: Do you have a trainer?
A: Yes, I train with Mark and Judy Zeitler from Abrams, Wisconsin. They are amazing trainers and have taught me so much. Without them I would not be where I am today.
Q: What do you like about showing horses and the horse industry in general?
A: I enjoy meeting new people and making new friends. I also like the atmosphere at the shows. I really enjoy the competitiveness of showing; it makes me work and train harder to reach my goals.
Q: What do you do for work and or school?
A: For work, I help out at our family business in the winter months when I’m not training or showing. I am a senior this year, and I take school online through a virtual academy. This way I can show and train year round without getting in trouble for missing too many days.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges you have faced showing horses?
A: Learning patience was a big challenge for me. I had to learn that winning doesn’t come over night. I had to work hard for what I want. Trust was also a big challenge. I had to learn to trust my horse, and by learning to trust him, we were able to make a great team and achieve many goals.
Q: Future goals in show arena and career?
A: My future goals in the show arena would be to win the World and/or Congress. I will be attending college in the future and hopefully will be studying criminal justice.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: I would like to say thank you to my parents for making this all possible and for always being by my side. Also I would like to thank my trainers, the whole Zeitler show group, my friends, and family for all their love, help, and support. You all have made a huge impact in my life!
Q: Thanks Nicole and good luck at the Congress!
A: You're welcome!
Click here to view Nicole's ad in the Congress issue of GoMag.