About Cindy Foster
Cindy grew up in Gates Mills, where horses were a family tradition. Her Grandfather was a pleasure rider, her father rode Tennessee Walkers, and her mother was an avid foxhunter all over the United States and Ireland. Cindy spent part of every week foxhunting with her mother before school and devoted her weekends to training in hunters and jumpers.
Cindy's hunter/jumper riding began with Eddie Davis and Lutz Andahazy. At 13, Cindy began her formal training with Howard Lewis. "I was fortunate enough to not only train with Mr. Lewis, but also to gain work experience and develope horsemanship skills," she said. Under the tutelage of Mr. Lewis, Cindy competed up through the junior level hunter, jumper, and equitation divisions.
Directly out of college Cindy began her professional career at Hurdle Hill Farm in Lockport, NY. As horse show manager, Cindy traveled the indoor circuit and worked alongside top riders and trainers. Cindy then worked with Jay Golding in Gordonville, VA., prepping young horses for sale. She later worked with Patty Heuckeroth in Southern Pines, NC. Working alongside Gene Cunningham, Cindy rode young horses at home and helped out at shows.
"Having an opportunity to learn from well-rounded and legendary people, I was then able to launch a successful, independant career," said cindy.
Cindy returned to Cleveland from North Carolina and began her independent career training at Halali Farm in Chagrin Falls, which was owned by her parents. After traing there for 15-years Cindy trained at local barns. In 1994, Cindy began a training partnership with Sergio Jimenez and in 2002 they purchased their current facility, in Newbury, and began Foster Jimenez Show Stables.
Foster and Jimenez have a very successful business partnership. Cindy focuses on training and coaching, while Sergio focuses on riding and training, and they both work together to manage the business. "Having us both available to all of our clients makes the business very accommodating to everyones individual comfort levels and training styles," said Foster. Besides training and coaching, Cindy is also a USEF licensed judge.
Cindy is one of the few trainers who has successfully worked with every level of rider, from 3-year olds to grand prix riders who show in Florida. Cindy said, "It is a thrilling job, no matter what level I'm working with. Everyone has the same love for the sport. Everyone has a goal. I love to help them reach their goals, no matter how big or small. I feel a sence of accomplishment when an adult beginner overcomes their fears and canters for the first time. When I see how proud they are of themselves I know there is no goal too small."
Although Cindy usually does not teach the beginner level anymore, she personally knows every student who comes through the barn and keeps a close eye on everyone's progress. The lesson program is very individualized and accommodating to every riding level and financial status. "Every rider with a strong desire to ride should have the opportunity. Kids being involved with horses, in any way, shape, or form, is the best. Being a member of a barn family gives them a sence of belonging and riding and caring for the horses teaches them a great deal of responsibility, " she explained.
Cindy attributes the longevity of her career, 28-years, to the fact that she has been part of a tradition from the time she was born. "I cannot imagine doing anything else," she said. Riding is a tradition in Cindy's family that she has passed on to her own daughter, 22-yearold Kaitlin, who has been riding since age 4.
Cindy's advice for other people in the horse business is to be correct and fair in every aspect of their business. "Respect yourself, respect your colleagues. Be professional. I hope that all young trainers will go to the more experienced trainers for help, advice, and mentorship. I encourage all young trainers to take advantage of any learning opportunity, including going to college and participating in USEF and USHJA training clinics," she said.
Cindy wants to do everything she can to promote the love, support, and tradition of the local horse industry.