Meet Linda Betts

Since I was a little girl I have always had a love affair with horses. There is something so special about their presence and power, along with their sweet and fragile nature that makes them awe inspiring. After years of begging, my parents gave me riding lessons at the age of nine. Every week I could not wait for my lesson. I learned to do everything: clean tack, groom the horse, clean stalls, anything that would allow me to be closer to a horse.

When I was in high school, my father was transferred from Chicago to Louisville, KY. As much as I hated leaving friends and family I was going to the Horse State. In Kentucky I joined Pony Club, hunted with the Long Run Hounds, showed hunters, showed Saddlebreds, started teaching lessons and just galloped from one farm to the next. It was fantastic. At 16 my parents bought me my first horse, an ex-race horse that I loved dearly.

I attended University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY and earned my B.S. in business. When I left for college I sold my first horse but in my junior year I took riding classes through the university and then took lessons from a local hunter trainer. After graduation I moved back to Chicago for a job and since money was tight I did not start riding again for about six years.

When I did start I volunteered at a riding school for people with disabilities in Naperville, IL and then started riding some of the school horses. Eventually I purchased a horse that had been donated to the program but did not work out. He was my first eventing horse. We went from schooling one-day horse trials to Preliminary. Eventing was just beginning to get popular in the U.S. My next horse was amazing and she took me to my first full 3-Day event. She gave me two foals and allowed me to teach my two step-daughters and my daughter on her.

My next horse was not that great for jumping but a fantastic dressage horse. He was sixth in the nation at First Level and I earned my Bronze Medal on him and went to many championships with him. He taught me a lot about dressage. In 2008 I passed my “L” judge certification, the first step in becoming a dressage judge.

In 1989 my daughter Lisa was born. At 18 months she started having seizures and it was determined she was cognitively delayed. She sat on her first pony at two weeks old and began riding at five years old on my retired mare. A few years later she started riding at a therapeutic riding center in Fallbrook, CA. Her biggest thrill was riding in her first horse show and placing 2nd.

In 2013 I had the opportunity to start my own teaching facility here at Hilltop Stables. I teach both beginner lessons to children and to adults who have ridden in the past and are taking up riding again as well as some of the more advanced students. The lessons are private, semi-private and group lessons up to five children.
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