Shelby Serritella, a Westosha Central sophomore, showcases her hardware before a western pleasure contest at the Wisconsin State Fair. Serritella, of Bristol, won Grand Champion to continue her success on the state circuit. Shelby later learned she received two more ribbons to go along with her four (Submitted/The Report).

Bristol resident excels at state level

By Jason Arndt

Shelby Serritella is not only a Westosha Central High School honor student, varsity volleyball player and a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Pleasant Prairie, she is also an equestrian state grand champion in the western pleasure competition.

Shelby, the daughter of Julie and Bill Serritella, of Bristol, earned the title at a competition held on the Wisconsin State Fair grounds in West Allis last week.

To qualify for the state expo, a competitor needs to earn a blue ribbon at the county fair level, Julie said.

In the last five years, Shelby won eight grand championships, four reserve grand champions and finished in the top 10 on different horses.

While Shelby is thrilled with the personal achievement, which came on a 25-year-old quarter horse named Lacey, she acknowledged there was fierce competition.

“Winning this week felt amazing. There was some really stiff competition, and I knew I had to work extremely hard to even have a chance,” said Shelby, who is a sophomore at Westosha Central. “We stayed calm and collected, and it paid off when I won Grand Champion.”

Like most winning teams, Shelby said, the achievement would not have been possible without a positive rapport with Lacey, who is owned by Colette Krupinski of Hawkspur Farms.

The winning duo, combined with Krupinski’s direction, has been instrumental in her grand champion crown.

“I feel that Lacey and I work very well together, as we have been a team for a few years now. She understands me and I understand her. It was just awesome to have all the hard work pay off,” Shelby said. “Colette lets me ride her horse, use her equipment, gives me lessons, trailers the horse places, and does this for many others as well. She is amazing.”

Shelby also credits her parents for offering unconditional support, including transportation and vocal support at area shows.

“My parents have woken up early, driven me to lessons, helped me at shows, and always have been extremely supportive,” she said. “Without them, I know that none of this would have been possible.”

Early passion
Shelby, who also has a brother, Dean, started riding horses when she was a 9-year-old and instantly became friends with them.

The instant friendship, Shelby said, is because horses show grace and poise.

“I love the gracefulness and beauty of the horses, but they also can always seem to make me laugh, whether it be messing around in the paddock or making a funny noise or facial expression,” she said. “If I’m having a bad day, I swear she can tell and will put her head on my shoulder.”

As she exhibited a passion for equestrian activities, involvement in a 4-H club only intensified it. Shelby learned leadership skills along the way.

According to Julie, her daughter started with the Mustangs before it dissolved due to low membership, and later joined the Kenosha Trailblazers 4-H club.

“She has served in a variety of positions within her clubs and within the county as a club secretary, club president, club historian, county youth board member for four years and state representative,” Julie said.

Through her leadership positions, Shelby had an opportunity to share her passion with younger members, Julie added.

“Beyond riding practices, clinics and shows, she has also been a buddy to younger members, teaching them the ins and outs of how to care for the horse, riding skills, showmanship skills, and what it takes to prep and show a horse,” Julie said.

Some of the skills Shelby learned were through Krupinski who has a boarding facility where she teaches 4-H club members the equestrian craft.

Shelby, who started as a horseless club member, rode on three of Krupinski’s horses in the last six years.

“(Colette) is a huge supporter of 4-H and has had many horseless horse members of 4-H get their start with her and continue their career of showing,” Julie said. “After you are a horseless horse member and understand the commitment it takes to care for and learn the sport, you can graduate to a managerial horse project member.”

Along with self-discipline and leadership, Shelby learned another trait, self-confidence, through her 4-H involvement.

That trait, according to Shelby, is a crucial part to winning equestrian awards.

“Confidence is the most important characteristic in a good showman. No matter what, you always have to look like you know what you are doing, even if you don’t know,” Shelby said. “The horse can tell how you sit and feel. If you are nervous and timid, the horse will act the same, but if you are confident, the horse will follow your lead.”


1 Comment

  1. Just as pretty, talented and smart as her mom!

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