Courtyard Farm: Our Beginnings
11:41 am By: Dana Ramos, April 10, 2019
Originally from Bronxville, NY, Kristen Kissel Carollo’s first horse, Restless Magic, was a Thoroughbred from the racetrack in Saratoga Springs. At nineteen years old, Kristen was already running her family’s floral business with ten stores across Westchester when she inherited Restless from her mother. Although she had no prior horse experience, Kristen refused to sell the mare. She found a home for Restless at Boulder Brook Stables in Scarsdale, where she navigated the cryptic equestrian world with calm determination, building the right team to help her train and care for Restless. There she met, Jerry Carollo, a well-known trainer and professional rider who had originally founded Courtyard Farm in 1984. Six years and seven hundred horse shows later, Kristen, Jerry, Restless, and their two sons, Nicky and Daniel, moved Courtyard Farm to their own property in Bedford Hills.
In 2001, after losing Jerry tragically to a sudden illness, Kristen embarked upon her next milestone; the multimillion-dollar renovation of a condemned 31-acre horse facility in Bedford Hills. Today, Courtyard Farm is one of the few top-level riding facilities that has endured area’s the competitive market under Kristen’s exclusive ownership. In the past nineteen years, she has brought along numerous riders from short stirrup to nationally-ranked horse shows up and down the East coast show circuit. Some of her career highlights include:
- Winner of Pony Finals two times in five years; 3rd overall, 2nd over fences, and 5th overall
- Qualified and ribboned at Harrisburg, Devon, Indoors; all national finals
- Championships at Washington International Horse Show
- Winner of Best Child Rider at Washington International Horse Show
- Championships at WEF, OSF, Vermont Summer Festival, HITS Saugerties, Fairfield County Hunt Club, Ox Ridge Hunt Club, the Hampton Classic, all major East coast shows
Kristen has forged riders, and the riders have forged bonds; with Kristen, fellow riders, the horses, their caretakers, the dogs, and everyone else in Courtyard’s extended family. No rider and no mount is marginalized at the farm, where students return frequently to visit old mates, old ponies, and old horses who, like Restless Magic, found a lifelong home at Courtyard Farm.