Molly Kinnamon has dedicated her professional life to the sport of eventing and is steadfast in her approach to developing horses to the highest level of their ability. Along the way, she’s learned that no big dreams are possible without hard work, humility and determination.
“I started my equestrian journey with Pony Club when I was ten years old on a 20 year old Morgan who my mother found for me. Rosie was all about keeping her rider humble in dressage, maintaining a forward safe pace on cross country and making me diligently ride every fence in the show jumping. By the time I was seventeen, I had received the Pony Club national “A” rating and had learned an amazing amount about horsemanship, training, riding, and all of the little details that make horses happy, healthy and successful in their lives.”
Molly competed on the North American Young Riders (NAYRC) two-star team in 1998. “I had the fortune of working for Jil Walton for three summers leading up to Young Rider competition and while working for Jil I was immersed in the daily responsibilities required to prepare for a full three day event. The NAYRC taught me that excellence comes from the whole group not just the individual; it was ALL about the TEAM.”
Molly attended the California State University at Fresno on a full scholarship, competing with the Varsity Equestrian Team while pursing her degree in Animal Sciences with a concentration in Equine Studies. Being a varsity team member broadened her knowledge of the athletic and mental preparation required to be competitive at a high level in any sport. Regular workouts in the gym with professional trainers, regimented team horse practices, and team strategy planning sessions were all a part of the core curriculum. “We learned how to strengthen our minds and our bodies to have us at our peak performance level for competition. Most importantly, on the team I learned that lofty goals are dreams attainable if you start with short-term goal setting, a lesson that has served both my students and myself very well.”
After finishing her degree at Fresno State, Molly kept her big dream alive and worked diligently at gaining more experience in managing barns, training horses at all levels and of all abilities, and working to perfect her teaching skills giving riding lessons and teaching at public schools. With these experiences she decided to start a more formal business, thus the birth of Havarah Equestrian.
“Soon after establishing Havarah Equestrian, I had a very green Hungarian Warmblood sent to me for training. Charly showed some serious athletic ability and I thought he had potential to be big time event horse. Together with some of my original Team Havarah, I formed the Minyan Syndicate and we were able to secure the purchase of this amazing animal, renamed Havarah’s Charly!”
After some initial training and competing of Charly on the West Coast, Molly had an opportunity to travel to the East Coast to train and compete Charly for a season.
“I wanted to participate in the events offered in Area I, II and III and I knew that riding cross country on the east coast would be an amazing and different experience. I was also keen to surround myself with all of the east coast event riders, and I felt like that would really be a really important piece of my education. I was fortunate to be able to keep Havarah Equestrian going in California while I benefited from the experience on the east coast.”
Molly has been very lucky to work with some the best trainers in the business: Roddy Strang (horse educator extraordinaire), Boyd & Silva Martin, Scott Hassler, Belinda Neirn-Wertman, Anne Kursinski, Michael Matz, Travis and Wendy Kinnamon and Phillip Dutton (her current coach). These incredible horseman and many others have all impacted her deeply.
“Throughout my career I’ve had the chance to break babies, gallop race horses on and off the track, ride dressage horses, and work out of various facilities. I fully appreciate the insight I have gained through other top professionals. All of these things have had an impact on my riding as well as myself as a person. I believe that positive goals and a horse-first mentality is the underlining theme for any successful partnership!”
Molly has experienced great success while on the east coast. In 2008, she and Havarah’s Charly won the 2 star (now 3 star) at Plantation Field, and then just narrowly missed a back to back win at the Fair Hill International 2 star (now 3 star), dropping a rail in show jumping and ultimately finishing 4th. This pair was named to the Developing Rider list for 2009 and got to participate in training sessions with Captain Mark Phillips.
As Molly’s reputation and business began to grow here on the east coast, the decision was made to focus her energy in this region. The east coast business initially grew through free-lance training rides and lessons. “I was then able to rent a few lovely private barns and the time I spent at the Allen’s and then at the Jackson’s facilities really gave me the opportunity to develop. Shortly thereafter the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself when INSPO Farm, then owned by Bill and Belinda Wertman, was going up for sale. They asked me to lease the property for my business while they found a new owner. I was absolutely thrilled and terrified all at the same time as it was a huge step for my business. In 2010 things started to all come together, as a family I knew from my California clinics were interested in purchasing a farm to be their future retirement home. Inspo thus became Principia Farm, owned by the Hulme family and home to MK Equestrian for a wonderful long part of my career.
Molly ran MK Equestrian out of the gorgeous Principia Stables for over 10 years. It was there that her horse first mentality was able to produce multiple successful upper level event horses, many successful junior and adult amateur event riders and helped bring so many horses into a healthy, happy life as sport horses. In Kirkwood, Pa Molly was able to train horses and riders how to be successful in eventing by utilizing a very natural training program.
Molly currently travels to many facility’s to pass along her passion of creating a partnership between horse and rider. In her training sessions she focus’s on ensuring the horses really understand and enjoy their training. To do this Molly believes its important for the rider to be educated about all aspects of horsemanship as well as understanding how the riders biomechanics affect the horses ability to perform.
Young horse training and development will always be a high priority in Molly’s career, seeing sport horses thrive brings her the greatest joy.