Leah Rudy, Equine coordinator
September 21, 2019
Leah came to the Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center in January 2019, after previously working as an equine manager for a humane society. Leah was excited to join the team and was impressed by the Harmony Equine Center’s reputation throughout the national community of horse welfare organizations. Leah has enjoyed the teamwork and friendship among staff members and is always looking to learn from the other trainers at Harmony. The varied background of each staff trainer has made it an incredible learning opportunity, and Leah looks forward to continuing to grow as a horse woman.
Leah started off riding hunter jumpers in the suburbs of Chicago. After falling in love with the Thoroughbred breed, she started working for a Thoroughbred racehorse trainer. She worked with racehorses throughout college, handling mares, foals and riding young horses to prepare them for the track. After Leah earned her degree in Equine Science from Southern Illinois University, she went to work full time as an assistant trainer. Following her position as an assistant trainer for prominent Chicago racehorse trainer, Wayne Catalano, Leah was granted a position in the highly-selective scholarship graduate program, Godolphin Flying Start. During this two-year international program, Leah traveled to Ireland, England, France, Australia and Dubai and spent six months in Lexington, Kentucky. In her travels, Leah studied breeding and broodmare management, stallion management, colt starting, racehorse training and management, racetrack management, Thoroughbred consignment and sales, equine sports medicine, equine law, business management and leadership, marketing and entrepreneurship. Upon graduation, Leah went to work for world-renowned Thoroughbred trainer, H. Graham Motion, based in Fair Hill, Maryland. Highlights during her time working as his assistant trainer was when the Motion team won the 2011 Kentucky Derby and the 2013 $10 million Dubai World Cup with racehorse Animal Kingdom. In 2013, Leah also saddled a “hat-trick” where three of her horses won three races in a single day at Presque Isle Downs Racetrack.
Leah left the Motion team when she got married and moved to Rochester, New York, and she jumped at the unique opportunity to work as an elephant handler for four African elephants. Leah spent two years as a zoo keeper before finding herself back with horses working as the equine manager at Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester. Her experience at Lollypop Farm gave Leah the passion for horse welfare and rehabilitation, which ultimately lead her to Harmony. For anyone looking to become an equine coordinator, Leah advises them to put in the time and hard work, stay humble and soak up all the knowledge they can. Also, Leah says to study the whole concept of horse stewardship, not just training and riding, but also the biology and physiology of the horse as well, so that you can provide the best care for your horse’s mind and body.
Leah lives in Aurora, Colorado with her husband, Mike, their young Rhodesian Ridgeback, Gidget, and her five Guinea Pigs, Picasso, Frida, Panda, Peanut and Butters.