Nineteen-year-old Kaitlin Haining is the newest driver at Century Downs. She is a fourth-generation horseperson and comes from a deep family of horsemanship. Her father is well known trainer/driver Harold Haining.
“The first time I went for a ride behind a horse I was just six months old. I was fussing in the house and mom took me out to the training track and teasingly went to pass me to dad and he took me,” Kaitlin shared.
Kaitlin jogged her first horse, Smokin Aces, at the age of ten and acquired her groom’s license shortly after. She started sitting in the bike for training miles the following summer.
When Kaitlin turned 18, she wrote her trainer’s license within a week of her birthday. Shortly after, Kaitlin rated her training mile with filly Wedding Dance during the warm up for the Super Final Stakes.
Haining’s training debut was a winning one, as her pupil, HF Princess Peach, was up for the task. “It was amazing and a true tribute to the sense of family and community in the backstretch. I will never forget that walk to the winner’s circle, as the other guys passed either from the race or warming up almost every one congratulated me.”
“I currently train five horses, three of my own, one for my brother, and one I share ownership with Denise Andrew,” Kaitlin explained.
Kaitlin passed her driver’s test and completed all her qualifying drives just a week ago. She drove in her first pari-mutuel start on Wednesday, July 24, in rein to a horse named About That Base.
“The best way to get respect in this industry is to put in the time,” Kaitlin said. “You learn fast things aren’t going to be easy, but you can’t let that stop you. If you love the animals and your job, work hard to get what you want.”
Kaitlin is not sure where her future will take her. “Currently I’m not totally sure,” Kaitlin has said.
“I waited a very long time to achieve my goal of being a trainer and driver, but I am going back to school in September and we will see where that takes me. I have never been a very good planner, so I’m keeping as many options open as I can.”
(With files from Orianna Scheck)
Story reposted from Standardbred Canada - original link