Nicole Loochtan PC: The Book LLC
Nicole Loochtan’s backstory of being a horse crazed kid is somewhat typical. She began riding at 8, competing ponies at local shows near her home town of Hawthorn, Illinois. Eventually graduating from the locals to recognized shows, Nicole began riding with Ronnie Beard and Michael Dorman, who were a big influence her junior riding career, taking her to compete in Wellington.
Nicole acquired her first big show jumpers with them, Carla De Kalvarie Z and Quaterman, stepping up to the Medium/High junior jumper classes and the U25’s at Tryon, Hits Saugerties, Hits Thermal, Vegas and Del Mar. It was during this time period that Nicole realized she wanted a career in the industry, recognizing that improving her riding skills and building a competition resume was going to take work and dedication.
Nicole spent the summer of 2017 riding in Kentucky and that’s when she was introduced to Olympic show jumper Sharn Wordley, once again fine tuning her riding and horsemanship skills as a working student. During her 6 months at Wordley Martin Equestrian, Nicole learned the intricate details of the horse industry at the grand prix level of show jumping. She then continued to ride, train and show with Sharn - with the eventual goal to launch her own professional program in Lexington.
Nicole and her family had previously purchased the 25+ acre property in Georgetown Kentucky, now home to Stone Creek Stables. The facility is state of the art, with a traditional center isle Kentucky barn, a custom made Wordley Martin arena and a professionally designed cross country course, which is open to the region's event riders.
In 2020 after a successful winter campaign, Nicole officially turned professional. Nicole is grateful to all the key players who supported her over the past 15 years, as she worked diligently towards becoming a professional trainer. This was a calculated decision, yet the timing to take the leap didn’t become apparent till this past winter in Ohio - when she formed a relationship with two other talented riders, Kevin McCarthy and Keely O’Hara.
The Upside of Quarantine
These past few months have been difficult for all Americans, but through challenge there is always a ray of opportunity. During this time period, the Loochtan’s have been hard at work getting Stone Creek Stables ready for re-opening. In fact, they are acquiring the adjacent 40 acres so they can expand the facility with more turn out, plans for an additional permanent barn and vision of a future derby field.
Some would argue that going pro during a pandemic is a risk, but that is not part of the mindset at Stone Creek Stables. They envision that their team concept will be beneficial for the clients as well, offering more eyes on the ground to evaluate horses and riders. With complimentary skill sets and established careers in the show ring, having several trainers will create a fun atmosphere for the clients as well.
Stone Creek Stables plans to offer training board, ship in lessons and show coaching for all levels of horses and riders. The cross country course has opened for the season, allowing participants to schedule, sign liability releases and pay online. SCS is also restricting the use of the course to 4 horse and riders during one time slot, thus respecting social distancing protocols.
As the show world begins to re-open, there are immediate plans to travel to Chicago, Travers City and to attend the Split Rock Tour in Kentucky. At the home facility, plans are underway to offer schooling jumper and combined eventing derbies this summer so riders have the opportunity to safely prepare to a return to competition.