Kelli began riding at the age of 6. On the day of her first riding lesson, Kelli’s pony tripped and Kelli fell off and broke her arm. Most 6 year old’s would never want to ride again after a frightening experience like that but Kelli was not just any 6 year old. She was determined to get right back on that pony just as soon as her cast came off of her arm.
Kelli’s entire life has been exemplified by this grit and determination attitude. She has spent over 50 years dedicating her career and her life to the world of showjumping.
With the support of her parents and trainer Mary Gatti of Rainbow Canyon Ranch Kelli was quickly recognized as one of the west coasts top junior riders in the early 1970’s. Kelli was known for her extraordinary ability to develop and ride any type and age of hunter, jumper or equitation horse which made her a remarkable talent in all three areas of jumping.
Her ability and work ethic caught the eye of one of the top equitation coaches on the east coast, Victor Hugo Vidal who invited Kelli to come and live with him in New York and train and compete in the prestigious AHSA Medal finals at Madison square gardens and the ASPCA Maclay. Under the tutelage of Victor, Kelli placed in the top 10 of each of these medal finals making her the first west coast rider to ever accomplish such a feat. Kelli then went on to finish her junior career by winning all of the major junior equitation finals on the west coast, including the Barbara Worth and the USET.
After Kelli’s junior career ended she spent 5 years completing a business degree from USC while riding on the college team as well as competing as an amateur. She continued her success by winning the Foxfield amateur medal finals, the LAHSA senior medal finals and earning year end championship recognition on her 5 hunters in both the amateur divisions as well as the open divisions.
After college, Kelli immediately turned professional and was the leading rider and trainer for Mary Gatti’s Rainbow Canyon Ranch for over 10 years. This program consistently produced top hunters, jumpers, ponies and equitation horses as well as many exceptional riders and was on the forefront of the west coasts sales and competitive industry in show jumping. Kelli then went on to open her own training stable, Countrywood Farm in Chino California where she worked for the next 20 years.
Kelli has raised two remarkable boys, James and A.J. as a single parent and was mentor to Cindy Cruciotti and many other young riders. Kelli expected of herself the same attributes that she demanded of her children and of her protegee’s. She felt that respect, dedication, compassion and work ethic were and are all non-negotiable attributes to the success of a person’s life and she held everyone around her to a very high standard of accountability.
In addition to Kelli’s abilities as a coach and a rider Kelli is extremely knowledgeable in equine fitness, nutrition, first aid, lameness’s, and stable management. Kelli worked closely with many top veterinarians throughout her career and became quite proficient at advanced equine first aid and prevention. Kelli, with all of her lifelong skills is an unbelievable asset to Serenity Farm show stables and brings to the team a tremendous level of expertise that is unprecedented in today’s industry.