Do you have a minute?
This seems like an innocent enough question with a most likely positive answer, but it has an entirely different meaning to students of Susie Beale. “Susie loves her work, and to that end, squeezes every second out of each and every minute. In fact, if you ask her, ‘Do you have a minute?’ she’ll often raise her eyebrows with a look that asks, ‘a whole minute?’” described Chris Adair who has been part of Beale’s team since 2006.
Beale is an international Event rider who runs a training facility out of her own Cairn O’Mount Stables in Malvern, Pa. Originally from Scotland, Beale has dedicated her life to horses and Eventing. She has ridden through the CCI4* level and has attained many impressive accolades in her own riding. Despite this, those close to her say she is most proud of her student’s accomplishments. Each year Beale produces numerous students who receive annual awards and sit atop the USEA leaderboard. She has crafted a training program with a clearly successful recipe for success.
In 2015 Beale coached the leading Training Rider, Novice Rider, Beginner Novice Rider, Beginner Novice Master Rider and Pony of the Year. “There’s nothing accidental about the success. What Susie gives to her students is hard to describe, though I wish I could bottle and sell it,” continued Adair. “She has achieved that special balance of strict and forgiving, firm and kind, always honest, always brave and wouldn’t ask anything of anyone she isn’t prepared to do herself.” Beale has mastered the balance between disciplined instruction and hand-holding leaving many students with a mental toughness which they carry with them both in Eventing and in their personal lives. “The ribbons and accolades are great, but watching kids grow into teens and ultimately graduate and move on, better because of their time with her - is what it's really about,” Adair remarked.
2015 USEA Awards Luncheon. From left Bailey Yablonovitz, Julie Wotrig, Susie Beale, Megan Loughnanne and Olivia Hayes. Photo Courtesy of Jodi Hayes.
In addition to her outstanding instruction Beale is also a successful matchmaker, pairing many of her clients with their perfect horse. “She excels at matching horses and riders,” explained student and owner Lesley Collins. Beale introduced Collins to Eventing and matched her with her first horse, Cricket. Cricket took Collins around her first Events which she describes as “the most fun I’ve ever had!” Beale was also the matchmaker of 2015 Novice Rider of the Year, Olivia Hayes, and recipient of the Theodore O’Connor Trophy and 2015 Pony of the Year, Beaujeste. “The interesting thing about the search and where Susie is invaluable is tempering [my daughter, Olivia’s] emotions,” described Jodi Hayes, mother of Olivia. Jodi told the story of her daughter falling in love with the first horse she tried, but Beale, keeping her focused on finding the most promising horse she could grow with, steered the search to Beaujeste, or “Beau.”
Beale’s program has evolved in the last few years into a machine for success anchored by an emphasis on team. “She has developed a cohesive sense of team. The girls are incredibly supportive of each other without politics or favoritism,” said Jodi. “They all celebrate each other’s wins, even when they are competing against each other.” Leading by example, Beale instills this into all of her students with her selfless attitude. “Over the years I have seen her repeatedly prioritize her students over her own personal gain without a second thought,” Adair acknowledged. With a full trailer and entries submitted, Beale has been known to scratch her own horse in order to let a student compete. Adair continued, “Don’t get me wrong, her achievements make for a very impressive resume, however some of the most impressive entries are the ones she passed up.”
Beale’s minute-by-minute training program keeps each of her students looking ahead. “Susie is not only a forward thinking rider, but a forward thinking trainer and business person. She is always asking ‘what's next?’ It's a way of life around her,” Adair noted. “The kids are always working towards something, and when they achieve it we celebrate it and make a new goal.” This goal-focused environment is one component of a much larger, more intricate program and family Beale has created at Cairn O’Mount Stables. Collins summarized it appropriately saying, “The success of her students who have lead the USEA leaderboard over the years speaks for itself. She has a great program and it works.”