Born into an equestrian driven family, Catherine Pasmore has been passionate about horses and the sport of show jumping from a young age and dreamed of competing at the top level. Over the years, Pasmore has made a name for herself not only as a rider, winning an individual silver medal at the NAJYRC Young Rider Championship during her junior years and riding on several winning nation cup teams for the USA all over the world, but also as a business woman with her equine sales business, Pasmore Stables. After closing out a successful year competing in Europe, she returned to the US for the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) and rode on the women’s team at the 2023 Battle of the Sexes, brought her mare ‘Curious Friday’ into her first Saturday Night Lights competition during WEF Week One, and won the Wellington Equestrian Realty 1.45m Jumper Classic with her horse Kellano Degli Assi. Read the full article to learn about Pasmore’s equestrian beginning, what a day in the Sunshine State looks like for her, and her business, Pasmore Stables!
How did you get into riding?
Horses have always been in my family. My grandmother rode dressage, and my grandfather was master of his hunt club. However, my mother was the one who started riding show jumpers. I was very lucky to be exposed to top professionals from a young age because of her. So, once I made the decision to ride full time, I really only had my sights set on the highest level of the sport.
What does a day of training look like for you?
A typical non-show day for me starts with walking my dog (I have a Westie named Izzy) and a big cup of coffee and a podcast playing. I’m usually on my first horse by 8 am. Here in Florida, I have four horses to ride so I am finished a little earlier—when I’m at home with all the young horses I usually ride between seven and ten horses every day. I give myself an hour per horse because I like to let them walk a lot before and after working them, so that often brings me close to the end of the day! After riding, I go to the gym three to four days a week and on the other days that time slot is filled with doing the paperwork that goes along with running a stable. My favorite way to end the day is going to dinner with friends. It might sound boring, but the horses sure have a way of keeping every day interesting!
What was the transition like going from being a rider in the sport to running your own farm and sales operation, Pasmore Stables?
Well, I was never just a rider. When I wasn’t in charge of my own business, I was going to school still. Now, I focus mainly on finding younger talent, taking time to bring them up to their highest potential, enjoying a few good results together, and then matching them with the best new home. That process normally takes several years and when it all goes as planned, there’s really no better feeling. It’s so rewarding when it all comes together.
You spent much of last year competing on the international circuit, what is the key to keeping your horses in shape for international travel?
I have been living in the Netherlands full time for the last five years now and this is actually my first winter competing at WEF in a long time. I think it’s really important to prepare correctly for any competition, no matter how far away it is. I don’t jump very much at home, mostly cavaletti exercises a few times per week. I like to do my jump school for a class a few days in advance, that way their muscles are not sore while traveling and they are fresh and ready to go when we arrive. I believe keeping the horses happy is key, so I try not to do the same thing two days in a row. I also spend a lot of time riding outside of the arena. There are incredible trails where I live in Europe and here in Florida, I spend a lot of time riding down the canals.
What were some of your favorite show moments in 2022?
In 2022 I spent some time getting to know my mare, Curious Friday. I don’t do as many shows as most riders throughout the year, but I’m really impressed how we started together in the 1.40m/1.45m level and by the end of the year we jumped our first 1.60m together. I have been told it takes a whole year to really know a horse and I think that’s definitely true, so growing to that level together was definitely a highlight. I’m excited about the future with her, and she's given me high hopes of putting on the USA team jacket again. I’m equally proud of the young horses I have coming up and I can’t wait to get back to continue developing them and see what they might be capable of in the coming years.
What are your goals for the rest of WEF 2023?
That’s an ever-changing answer for me! I was supposed to wrap up my time here soon – I have been here since November already – but it looks like I might stay a little longer. I'm really hoping to be able to compete in the four-star Grand Prix during week ten. It’s hard to leave the sunshine when you’re getting pictures of snow back home!
Who is the horse you credit the most for your success?
I’m not sure if I can choose a single horse because every single one I’ve ridden has taught me an important lesson and made me a better horse person one way or another.
For sure I was the most successful on Bonanza. Although that was a long time ago, I’m so grateful that he gave me the opportunity to compete at some of the biggest shows in the world and represent the USA on many winning nations cup teams. Without that confidence as a rider, I don’t know if I would have the resilience to keep pushing though the harder times that come along with any sport.
Curious Friday (Frida) has taught me the most in a short time. She has quite a quirky personality so telling her what to do is a little bit of taking and a whole lot of giving. As someone who wants to make sure everything is perfect before I walk into the arena, she has really taught me to trust her natural talent and in return I have gained more of her trust as the rider. And that lesson has helped me with other horses as well.
What is a piece of advice you like to carry with you?
I believe it was Jos Kumps who told me, “Experience will always beat talent.” There is no way to rush the process, especially with horses. So, I try to enjoy the successes when they come but also learn something from every ‘failure’ and add that lesson to my toolbox for next time.
Keep an eye out for Catherine Passmore and her team here at WEF for the rest of their time in the states!