Head Western Coach Kelli Wainscott

In October of 2010, Kelli Marie Wainscott joined the Mount Holyoke Barn Family as the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Western Team Coach.  Although she had never coached a team before, she quickly learned under the guidance of Carol Law and many other coaches at the Equestrian Center.  Coaching has become a passion for Kelli as every year brings a new team and fresh faces.  The challenge of leading some of the most educated, intelligent and powerful young women and men in the country has been one of the most rewarding experiences of her life.

Kelli began riding at the young age of nine months old.  Able to hold herself up in the saddle, she was entered into her first horse show by her mother, Linda Jones.  She had the honor of riding Niggotto, an Arabian gelding that her mom trained herself.  From that moment on, it was clear that horses were going to be a passion for her.  They still have the green ribbon and article written about Kelli and Niggotto in a frame after they were interviewed at The Blandford Fair.  As Kelli grew, her mom made sure that she always had a horse to ride.  Many wonderful horses have graced the property on Stage Road, living their lives in comfort once they were retired from competing.  Kelli remembers her first youth pony “Gypsy” and how much she learned from a little Morgan Quarter Horse cross that was so kind and patient.  “Princess” was her brothers Arabian mare that took care of everyone that sat on her back.  There are fond memories of team penning with Niggotto and Princess.  You wouldn’t think of Arabians as being cow horses, but boy did they love to chase and pen the cattle at the team penning competitions.  For several years, Kelli and her brother spent their weekends at horse shows, team penning events and gymkhanas.  They also would love to saddle up on a hot summer day and go trail riding around town, galloping down the dirt roads to see who could make it to the other end faster.  How they grew up, and what they learned working with horses, has carried over into how they live their lives today.  4-H was also a major part of Kelli’s life and shaped who she is as a person.  Any chance she gets, she is giving back to her community and the youth she interacts with.

Once Gypsy was retired, the search was on for a horse that would be able to carry Kelli to the next level of competition.  Her mom found “Muffin”, a quarter horse mare that came from New Mexico.  This mare would not only surpass expectations, she also ignited Kelli’s desire to show in breed shows and in different disciplines.  Muffin was the definition of versatile.  She could do it all, and was so willing to try anything.  Muffin helped Kelli gain confidence and made learning fun.  She was such a special mare that refused to get old.  She was still winning halter classes at 30 years young!

Her pride and joy, and once in a life time journey, began in 1994 when her mother found a yearling Appaloosa named “Plenty O-Plaudit”, and he just happened to be for sale.  When Linda bought the little colt for Kelli, nobody knew what kind of adventures would take place over the next 27 years.  At age 13, Kelli began training and showing her new best friend and spent countless hours in the barn and stall with him for many years to come.  Showing at the 4-H, Open and Appaloosa level, Poppi taught Kelli all about patience and love and determination.  He taught children how to ride, and did everything from western to hunt seat to trail rides and even tolerated Kelli doing flips off of him and performing dance routines at events.  He was an amazing animal that will never be replaced, and Kelli is grateful that her two children were able to spend time with him and sit on his back in his retired years.

Kelli owns and operates Triple R Ranch, in Chesterfield Massachusetts.  She shares her home with her husband Matthew, their son Kayden and daughter Autumn.  Three horses are part of the family on the Ranch and they also have a house and yard full of cats, dogs, chickens and goats.  The three R’s in the farm name stand for Rescue, Revive and Reward.  Kelli enjoys rescuing animals and giving them loving homes.  The animals either stay with them, or they find new homes once they are rehabbed.

Although horses are her passion, Kelli works full time for the Massachusetts State Police.  This job is also very rewarding in that she has the privilege of helping to save lives everyday.  When she is not at that job, she can be found at Mount Holyoke.  Since her time as coach, she has led the team to four consecutive Regional Championships and qualifying riders every year since 2011 to compete at the IHSA National Horse Show.  Her goal is to not only make sure her riders are successful in the show pen, but also in all aspects of life.  A blue ribbon is nice, but a ribbon will only get you so far.  The team is very active in the community and in many public events and also works as a unit to create an educational and welcoming atmosphere to all levels of riders, not just the riders that have a background in horses and showing.  The moments when Kelli is the most proud is when a rider realizes her/his strengths and weaknesses and sets realistic goals to improve as both a rider and a person.  The western team is unique in that it accepts all riders who are willing to work hard to show they want to improve and be involved in the equine world.  The team has had riders from the Beginner level all the way to the Open level make their way to qualifying for and competing at Nationals.  Every Beginner rider that has made it to Nationals has started their riding career at Mount Holyoke on the western team.  One of them even won the Championship at the IHSA Semi Finals at the University of Findlay, beating out many riders that had been riding most of their lives.

Kelli is also very active in the horse industry.  Her resume’ expands from being a 12 year member of her 4-H club, a club that she is now the leader of, to winning the Massachusetts Quarter Horse Association Queen Title in 2006 and competing at the AQHA Congress in the Queens competition finishing out Top Ten overall.  She also holds multiple judges cards for many different associations and has had the opportunity to judge all over New England since the year 2000.  She has held officer positions and sat on many Board Of Directors for numerous associations as well and is currently a certified AQHA and APHA Professional Horseman.  In her spare time, she enjoys showing her own horses on different breed circuits and show circuits as well.  All three of her horses hold titles in numerous events including Halter, Showmanship, Horsemanship, Western Pleasure, Trail, and Hunter Under Saddle.  One of her proudest accomplishments is breeding her mare, Playgirl Premonition, and having her foal born and raised on the farm.  Kelli has been showing him since he was a weanling and he has been very successful in many events.

Early on at Mount Holyoke, it was apparent that Kelli had a strength for managing and organizing.  Beginning in 2010, she has been running and managing a variety of horse shows from the 4-H and open level to the Regional level.  She was appointed the Zone One IHSA Western Coordinator in 2011 and is honored to hold that position.  It is clear to anyone that if it involves horses, Kelli will gladly jump in and be a part of it!

Kelli would like to encourage anyone thinking about trying out for this team or any other riding team to please explore the opportunities that a team will offer you.  As you build your resume’ and prepare for the “real world”, being involved in any type of group or organization will help you land your dream job.  Every team member holds a team job title, and that job will teach you valuable skills that can be put to use in everyday life.  If you enjoy leading or organizing, there are officer positions available as well.  The possibilities are endless at Mount Holyoke and at the Equestrian Center.  Please do not hesitate to contact Coach Kelli with any questions at kwainsco@mtholyoke.edu