Stacey "Kanga" Staudt is the head instructor and trainer for Knights of the Grail with 25+ years of riding/training experience. Her passion for horses stemmed from having grown up around horses as a small child. She has trained, shown, and competed in Western Pleasure, Barrels, Team Penning, English, Hunter/Jumper, Dressage and Equitation. By the time she was 8, Stacey had a pony of her very own named Snuffy. When Stacey was around 11 or 12 she asked her parents for riding lessons, but lessons were costly so her parents gave her an idea: perhaps she could receive riding lessons in exchange for daily barn chores at the local barn. At around age 12, and after many lessons, her parents helped her pick out her very first horse, a Standardbred Pacer named Mikey, whom she owned for 11 wonderful years. Stacey has extensive experience in training and instruction to include Bear Creek Stables' Behavioral Modification Trainer (exercising and working daily with difficult/problematic horses in order to rehabilitate them), as well as a volunteer junior counselor for the summer camp program at Bear Creek. During college Stacey spent summers at Tahoe Donner Equestrian Centre in the Sierra Nevada mountains as a trail guide, wrangler for students ranging from novice to advanced riders. In 2002 Stacey founded the community service sorority XBD at Texas State University, providing volunteers for various programs and organizations such as A.W.A.R.E. (Always Wanted a Riding Experience) out of Kyle, TX which is an Equine Therapy program for Special Needs children and adults. When asked what drew her to the Knights of the Grail program, she said, "I have several family members that served in various branches of the military, including my favorite uncle who served in the Air Force during Vietnam. My boss at TRF "Rondini" served in the Navy. My best friend of over 20 years was a Captain in the Marines and served 4 tours in Afghanistan. I have so many close friends that have served in the military that it makes me wish I had gone into service. I have also lost several dear friends that were Veterans due to PTSD and suicide. My love for veterans comes from knowing so many and the immense amount of respect I have for America's true heroes."
Katrin Hawthorn is one of our instructors/trainers and our designated carriage driver. Katrin began her formal riding instruction when she was in fifth grade. She competed in hunter/ jumper and dressage. During the summer of her eighth grade year, Katrin’s instructor and trainer began dating a cowboy, so naturally the whole barn switched from English to Western riding. Katrin rode briefly on the rodeo circuit competing in team penning and ranch sorting. She says she always enjoyed running barrels at home, but the frilly shirts which were a requirement of the dresscode were too much for her to bear, so she never wanted to compete in barrels in public. During her highs chool years, Katrin worked at the barn to pay for her horse lease and then later as a way to board her horses. Katrin was also a camp counselor when her barn offered summer camp. When Katrin was a senior in high school where marching band took over her life and consumed all her time. That was also the year that her horse developed navicular, so he became a lesson horse. Katrin took the loss of riding and her horse really hard and stopped riding alltogether for a while. It wasn’t until 2010 that she started working with draft horses and driving carriages in downtown Ausitn, Texas and at Sherwood Forest Faire. Katrin also drove carriages during the 2012 season at Scarborough Renaissance Faire. When asked about her involvement with Knights of the Grail, Katrin said, “The rest, I guess, is history. I’ve been driving ever since and I’m absolutely obsessed with drafts. I have aspirations of driving competitively but I’m poor and don’t live in the north so that’s probably never going to happen. I’m looking into working towards getting the P.A.T.H. training certification someday so I can be of more service and value to the veterans that come to our program.”