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Owner & Trainer
Michele is the owner and head trainer at Well-A-Way Farm. In addition to being a USHJA certified trainer she is in the process of becoming a USEF/USHJA “R” Judge Licensed Official.
Michele started her own riding career at age four upon two, docile draft horses called Bonnie and Raison. Early on she competed in Western Equitation (stock seat) and Pony Club (three day eventing). It was not until later in Michele’s junior years at boarding school that she discovered her true love for the Hunter horse and Hunt Seat Equitation. This occurred under Purnell School’s riding director and coach, Donna Martin.
Later Michele developed her riding, coaching, and teaching skills by seeking out other successful instructors and professionals with whom to work. After making a name for herself by winning and riding in many horse shows all over the east coast, qualifying riders for several national finals, and coaching many of them to ribbons Read more…
Pro-Rider, Assistant Trainer and Away Show Manager
Bobby Blumenthal has been in the horse industry for over 30 years. He had a successful junior show career with ponies, equitation, hunters and jumpers. He recently coached students to wins at the CHJA Medal Finals in 2016 and Children’s Hunter Classic in 2017. Bobby is detail oriented, friendly and has a great sense of humor – all of which are reflected in his teaching and riding style. He strives to instill patience in all of his students and focuses on the unique relationship between each horse and rider.
When Bobby is not working with horses, he is enjoying his accomplished career as a hair and make-up artist. He has worked in television, film and Broadway. Most recently winning the 2017 Connecticut High School Music Theatre Award for Best Hair/Make-up for Guilford High School’s Sweeny Todd.
Riding academy Director, Assistant Professional Rider
Erin McNamara re-joined Well-A-Way Farm’s teaching staff as the Director of the Riding Academy in September of 2017. She started riding as a community rider at Armand and Martha’s Windcrest Farm when she was eight years old and spent the next 19 years training there. Under The Chenelle’s guidance, Erin achieved success in the equitation ring, qualifying for Maclay Regionals (on an OTTB she brought along herself) and as an adult, winning the 2006 CHJA Adult Medal Final and placing 5th in the 2008 23-25 NEEC Adult Final aboard Lan’Dina, a horse imported by Michele Goodrich.
As a professional, Erin has helped bring along young horses and sale horses, showing them on the Vermont and Florida circuits. Students she’s co-trained with Michele Goodrich and Cara Chapel have won the 2011 CHJA Children’s Medal Final, 2011 HITS Non-Pro Hunter Division at Marshall & Sterling Finals, and the 2014 CHJA Children’s Hunter Pony Classic.
In addition to working on the hunter-jumper circuit, Erin coached Yale University’s Equestrian Team from 2009-2013. She also brings with her six year’s experience teaching high school English and a familiarity with students of varying learning styles. Erin has a BA in American Studies & Creative Writing from Skidmore College.
Cara’s beginning in the equestrian world was accidental and slightly later than most riders. At 13 she began taking riding lessons after a slightly embarrassing experience on a cousin’s horse. She immediately was all in doing anything she could for opportunities to ride.
Eventually Cara got her first horse, a four-year old Thoroughbred! After a start that involved some time in the dirt the pair worked up the ranks to compete and the junior and later successfully in the amateur owner division. Later an experienced jumper joined the team and gave Cara the thrill of competing in the amateur owner jumper division.
After graduating from the University of Hartford with a BA in Business Management. Cara went to work briefly in IT services department at Combustion Engineering. Quickly finding indoor work unappealing she took a job running the riding school and riding sales horses at Folly Farm. A group of students were game to do more and there was quickly a large group of show riders. In 2002 Cara leased the property from the owners and started her own business. Riders trained by her and her team won many year-end awards and qualified for state, regional and nation finals. The farm competed up and down the east coast and as far west as Kentucky. Riders were consistently in the top ribbons in large classes. A highlight was a junior rider that started with Cara in short stirrup scoring a 92 in the 3’6″ medal final at the prestigious Capital Challenge Horse Show.
While now spending more time pursuing her two passions of tennis and adventure travel with her husband, Cara is thrilled to be back working with Michele as part of the Well-A-Way team. Cara has participated in the USHJA training program, is Safe Sport certified and has first aid training.
Gayle is responsible for managing the barn and general horse care. Gayle and Michele have a long history together in the industry. They worked together years ago at The Ethel Walker School where Gayle was the Assistant Barn Manager. Gayle currently has her own small farm where she lives with her husband and daughter. In Gayle’s earlier life – pre family – she worked for veteran Olympic and Grand Prix rider Melanie Smith Taylor as her Assistant Barn Manager. Gayle is also the retired Fire Chief for Barkhamsted East Fire – where she was the first female Chief in CT. She is currently Captain and EMR. Gayle showed locally in Adult/Children’s Jumpers.
Lisa is responsible for the day-to-day business management of the farm. This includes managing the books, payroll and vendor accounts. She also leads financial planning and analysis and assists Michele with marketing strategy to help ensure WAWF continues to prosper as a growing business. Lisa was introduced to WAWF in 2010 when she became part of the boarding community with her horse, Jack. In 2012, after spending nearly 15 years working in the investment products/investment management industry, Lisa had the opportunity to make a career change. It was clear that her business experience (focused in finance, marketing and client relations) paired with a strong horse background would be useful to WAWF. Lisa has been riding horses since she was 6 years old and competed at the local level as a teenager. She currently has her horse Sao Paulo, a 9 year old Oldenburg gelding imported from Germany by Michele at WAWF. Lisa has a B.S. degree in International Business from Central Connecticut State University. CPR and First Aid Certified.
Assistant to Michele
Lane Frost, AKA Laneybear, is an Alabama bred but Connecticut raised Yellow (really quite blonde) Labrador retriever. He has not failed the retriever part of his breed. On many days Lane is easily found fetching lacrosse balls for one of the clients – he is relentless about calling it a day. The only time Lane is missing from Michele’s presence is usually food related. Lane, who really replicates Ferdinand the Bull, is also known as WAWF’s chief of security. His daily strolls to the pond, his chasing of squirrels and birds he will never catch and his nosy greeting to new comers in the driveway, results in a day of full work for this loving dog. He is famous for his full, deep bark, his love of sleeping on tables, and his habit of eating pie right off the counter. He especially loves pecan pie!
Winky (named after Winky Wright)
AKA “KP” or “Kitten Pants”. He was adopted from our nearby neighbors at Folly Farm as a kitten. He has assumed the role of Office Assistant and can usually be found bathing or napping on the computer in the office. Otherwise he is helping our Chief of Security, Lane, with guarding the property.
WAWF’s newest staff member. He is a nine year old English Setter inherited by Michele in the spring 2017. He shares several roles with the other farm animals including Office Assistant, Pest Control and Security.