Cover Story – Vol. 47, No. 8
A New-Age Equestrian: Kendyl Peters
by KARA LARSON
When you grow up in the Arabian horse industry, it’s easy for people to feel like they know you. They may assume details about who you are, where you come from, and whether or not you deserve the success you’ve accrued. They see you sail out of the show ring wearing roses and a big smile and think that’s the extent of your connection to the horse—the victory. However, in most cases, it’s amazing how little they actually know. In a show world where the outcome can overpower the journey, Kendyl Peters and her connection to the horse stand out in a big way. Through her passion and understanding of horses, she stays grounded and focuses on the promising future that lies ahead. Hers is a journey filled with challenges, triumphs, hope and perseverance—and it is anything but predictable.
Part I: Girl Meets Horse
Kendyl grew up on a horse. In fact, she can’t remember a time in her life that she wasn’t on a horse. “I learned to ride even before I learned to walk,” Kendyl begins. “I competed in my very first horse show at 4 years old.”
From a very young age, Kendyl felt something big and special in her relationship with horses, treating them like family members. She laughs, “I even brought Boots, my Quarter Horse, into our living room one day.” Growing up, she dabbled in a wide array of equestrian endeavors, excelling in the disciplines of dressage, hunters and jumpers, reining, and cutting. She believes that a multi-disciplinary background has helped her tremendously in saddle seat, her main focus at present.
Entering the Arabian world at the age of 13, Kendyl values her early start in this business industry and being surrounded by people who also love the breed. With this immersive beginning, a substantial base was created—a base in which Kendyl could form her own equine identity. In her eyes, starting young in anything is a benefit. She shares, “You have more time to learn the inner workings, learn how decisions are made, learn who the important people are, learn where you fit in.”
In the Arabian community, Kendyl has found a home with like-minded individuals, developing lifelong friendships that go beyond the barn. From her perspective, horse communities are about connecting with people who share in the same passions—and within this community, there is also a shared responsibility to do right by our collective passion. “What we all share is a love for horses. We are the voice for the horse, we are here to protect and provide for them. We are here to make sure good people are in our industry, people with good intentions.”
Time, experience, passion, and a healthy perspective have given Kendyl the opportunity to become the horsewoman she strives to be. “As I have grown, matured and evolved into the person I am today, horses have become my everything. They are a part of me, my better part … they are honest and I appreciate that. They are passionate and I love that. They help me accomplish my goals, and that is priceless.”
Part II: The Magic of Meaningful Connection
“To truly connect with a horse means to become one with them. To know their every intricacy, their quirks, what makes them happy, and what makes them upset. To know what they want and need before they do. To hear them start to whinny as soon as you enter the barn because they know your smell, the cadence of your walk, the sound of your voice. And when you have this with your horse, it’s undeniably one of the greatest feelings in the world.”
These are the words of a horsewoman who listens, understands, and aims to put the horse first. Over the years, each horse that has come into Kendyl’s life has entered for a reason. They have all taught her something, healed something, stole a piece of her heart. “I still have my first pony, Tinkerbell, whom I won West Coast Junior Dressage Rider with. She taught me to ride and is still a feisty little thing,” Kendyl admits. “And then there’s Boots, my Quarter Horse, my love. When I was younger, we got married, him with a ring made from my hair around his hoof, me with a ring made of his mane around my finger. He does not have a bad bone in his body. He is the kindest, most gentle creature I know. We have shared a lot together, from our trail rides through the backcountry of the Santa Barbara Mountains, to racing around the track and jumping on our cross-country course. He’s an unconditional listener and has a heart of pure gold.”
Two important horses that recently came into Kendyl’s life are Davinci Reflection WA (SF Aftershoc x The Davinci Code), “Bailey,” who, “exemplifies beauty, both inside and out,” and a horse by the name of B Loved (Baske Afire x Pro S Fieree). The latter came into Kendyl’s life at a time when she was very close to stepping away entirely from the Arabian horse world. It was just two months after losing her first Arabian, William, but Kendyl chose to go to Scottsdale to see her friends in the hope that being there would keep her mind busy. Kendyl poignantly recalls, “I met B Loved, and I have to admit, it was not love at first sight. As I entered her stall, her ears were pinned back and she did not want to be bothered. We ended up buying her, but it took me a while to decide I wanted to risk bonding with something I might lose. A connection soon developed, and a love that has filled my heart to the brim. She helped me rekindle my passion for the Arabian and still brings joy to my life every day.”
In Kendyl’s renewal with the Arabian horse, she found promise and strength, feeling more determined than ever to create something for herself. Because of her powerful connection to the horse, she now sets out to take care of their every need and then some. She shares, “At shows and at the barn, I’m the one getting my horse out and ready to ride; I brush them, tack and untack them, am with them in the groom stall after we ride, standing with them by their side while they’re in their ice boots. I make sure their legs and feet look good before wrapping them for the night. All of Jimmy Stachowski’s guys know this about me—they know I am there to take care of my horses, that I don’t want anyone else doing it. I want to be a part of the whole experience, not just the ride. I want my horses to know I care about them and am here to protect them as they do for me.”
Kendyl’s goals with the horse find their source in genuine admiration for this special animal’s role in her life. Their wellbeing outshines the potential for success at the end of the road. She sees in them her past, present, and her future—a companion with endless potential and unconditional love and profound depth. “I value the importance of developing a close bond with your horse. A bond that is unbreakable,” she begins. “I would walk through fire for my horses and I know they would do the same for me. My horses have helped me through all the challenges I have faced in my life. They are always ready for a ride and to give me their all. Horses don’t judge. Horses allow you to slow down and be present in the moment. They help me get re-centered and back to basics. They remind me what’s truly important in my life.”
Part III: A Purpose-Driven Horsewoman
It is clear that Kendyl has an innate, unbridled passion for horses—and as such, she is hungry to learn all she can, aspiring to be an equestrian who is, above all, devoted to her craft. “I am dedicated to excellence. I expect nothing short of that. I want to learn and grow in the Arabian horse community. I am dedicated to learning all I can from the best trainers we have. I have had many late nights at Nationals or Scottsdale—late, late nights—what some might call an early morning. I want to be there when Jimmy brings out the hidden gems. I want to learn from him and watch the trainers ride the “special ones.” I want to see how they handle certain situations and then see how I might be able to apply that to my training.”
When the time comes to train, Kendyl has the ability to channel her love and passion into meaningful purpose. Although she loves nothing more than being atop one of her horses, when Kendyl is training, she has goals and expectations and understands the value in her trainer’s input. “When both my horse and myself are trained and ready to hit the ring, we are in it to win. I enter the show ring ready to give it our all and relish in the fruits of our labor.”
In the show ring, Kendyl has accomplished much alongside her impressive horses. One of her favorite show experiences transpired in riding B Loved at Scottsdale in the Arabian Park Open. Though Kendyl was just 16 years old at the time, she explains that because Scottsdale doesn’t have a youth Park class, her only option was the Open. To some, this might have been intimidating; however, Kendyl and B Loved were unfazed and up for the challenge. “I knew B Loved had what it was going to take; I knew she could do it. We went into the qualifier and won unanimously and then had all week to wait for the final.” Kendyl pauses. “I will never forget the emotions that swelled over me when I knew we were awarded Champion. It wasn’t me; it was B Loved. She deserved it. She gave me all she had—I could feel it. She never faltered, even for a step. I will cherish that ride, those feelings, that win, forever.”
This experience in the show ring, along with many other brilliant performances that Kendyl has been a part of, translates into something much larger than the ribbons and trophies. She expounds, “Every day we are faced with challenges, some greater than others. Every day we have to make a decision about whether we are going to push through our fears and conquer our goals or let our fear get the best of us. That’s the same thing we do when we enter the show ring. Are we going to rise above the fear and let our self and our horse shine, or are we going to cower and stay hidden the whole class? When I think about challenges and struggles I face in my day-to-day life, I am able to muster strength by drawing upon the feeling I have when I walk down the barn aisle, only to come upon Bailey lying down for a nap. As I enter her stall, quietly, carefully, as not to disturb this precious creature, she allows me to settle in right against her neck. Our breaths’ become one. All is right in the world for this moment and I am free to dream.”
With tenacious intentions and inspiring perseverance, there’s no doubt that Kendyl’s future with the horse will be a bold, honorable endeavor. As she strives to learn as much as she can, she plans to continue to show and train. And with such dedication, Kendyl has taken what naturally becomes the next step, forming Kendyl Peters Arabians, Inc., breeding for the next generation. She feels honored to have three babies by B Loved—one Half-Arabian and two purebreds, and has also recently acquired Movin on Heir WA. Kendyl is beyond excited about her future with him and looks forward to their upcoming show season.
Through her profound connection to the horse, Kendyl Peters enjoys a harmonious, mindful existence few get to experience. She is awakened by the depth of beauty, the quiet power of the horses she loves so much. She is present in all her ventures, looking to the horse for inspiration. She aims to work for the good of the horse, the good of the industry. She is the tomorrow of the Arabian world—a new-age equestrian that deserves to be heard. “My wishes, hopes, and dreams have come true through my horses. I have achieved goals I thought were unachievable,” Kendyl humbly reveals. “I have felt feelings I didn’t know existed. I am living my dream. When my stars align, magic happens, and I am so thankful that I have the support of so many people I love and respect to help facilitate in making my dreams a reality. I know life is truly about the experience. I feel blessed to be given experiences on amazing horses, with amazing people, and have a bright future full of shining stars.”