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Meet Joy Caughron

Joy Caughron began taking lessons at 8 years old and joined the United States Pony Club when she was ten.  She comes by her love of horses honestly having two grandparents who rode for pleasure and raced sulky horses in Maine.  Instilled with passionate dedication and a work ethic to match, she has always managed to find horses to ride, even during the lean times.  Joy delights in any opportunity to learn and has 33 years of experience including:  a year spent as a working student under the stable manager for the U.S. Olympic team in Australia, 2000, riding western pleasure, hunter/jumpers, dressage, eventing, fox hunting, grooming and exercising steeplechase horses for Dorothy Smithwick in Middleburg, VA.  In 2001, she added credentials to her equestrian portfolio by earning a United States Pony Club H-A rating.  Currently, Joy competes her beloved Holsteiner x Thoroughbred mare as an adult amateur at preliminary, including qualifying for the American Eventing Championships three times at that level.  


Joy received her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Oklahoma in 2011.  She spent time as a visiting scholar at Virginia Tech University studying bacterial toxins before landing a job as an assistant professor at Radford University in 2013.  Shortly afterwards, she helped organize a new research abroad program that has now taken many students to the Peruvian Amazon.  She is also delighted to be the faculty advisor for the Radford Redcoats Equestrian Team that competes in competitions organized by the Intercollegiate Dressage Association and Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association.  Now Joy is a tenured, associate professor of biology with a total of 20 years of experience teaching undergraduate students and recently assisted three Master’s level students in their theses research.  She translates professional experience with teaching, communication, organization, data analysis, presentation, metacognition, and laboratory management into her equestrian pursuits.  Being a scientist by trade and equestrian by heart, Joy is particularly attuned to the well-being of her equine charges, putting their health and enjoyment of the sport above all else.


Meet Nicole Kmetz

Nicole Kmetz was introduced to horses when she was 5 years old, and they have been at the forefront of her life ever since. Throughout her youth and into her adult life, Nicole has worked at numerous boarding facilities overseeing the care of client horses, maintaining properties, and riding and training. Notably, she spent time as a working student and groom for an FEI level dressage and eventing barn and has brought her horses up to the mid levels of eventing. Nicole enjoys installing a solid foundation of ground work and manners on each horse to create a solid citizen for the future. 

Nicole attended Bridgewater College in Virginia and graduated in 3 years with a B.S. in environmental science. She worked for several years as the lead environmental scientist for a civil engineering firm advising for multi-million dollar projects, coordinating with state and federal entities, and performing data collection and research in the field. Nicole currently manages the education and public outreach department for the Boone County Arboretum, a level IV (highest level) accredited facility located in Northern Kentucky.  

Nicole brings her experience in the professional workplace to the barn emphasizing clear communication, effective organization, and best management practices to ensure safe, happy, and healthy horses and clients.

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