Who We Are
About the Founder: Candy Haasch
I’ve had many different lives, although always with horses. Horses took me from Missouri, where I was born, to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, then up and down the East Coast, on to Wisconsin for thirty years, and full circle back to Missouri.
I was four when I first fell in love. It was an American Saddlebred at a college, where my preschool class had been taken for a field trip. There were two horses there to ride, a small paint pony and then that huge Saddlehorse. I remember thinking, “I hope I get that Saddlebred, and my brother doesn’t.” I did!! That day,
sitting astride that horse, passion was born.
Eight years later, after selling tomatoes from my grandmother’s garden door-to-door and saving all the money I made, I bought my first horse: a Curly Mustang off the Oklahoma range. Previously, I had worked for an American Saddlebred farm, cleaning thirty stalls every Sunday in exchange for just one one-hour riding lesson and the chance to ride a pony for the remainder of the afternoon.
Leaving for college at Cornell, I was really horse sick, and not a minute after arrival I saw a sign for polo tryouts and thought, “I can do that!” And I did, for three years, which led to a stint of training polo ponies.
But polo wasn’t my true passion, so I headed East to work on the racetracks. I eventually passed my trainer test, but in the end decided to move back to Wisconsin because my dad still had horses there.
Despite the winters, I didn’t regret it. I was fortunate to ride with so many top-tier equestrians. I got to study dressage with Chuck Grant, Col. Von Ziegner, and Marie Francois Johnson, and show jumping with Major Paul Lindsay, who is the former Captain of the Irish Show Jumping Team, to name just a few. I’ve also been lucky enough to have amazingly talented horses, with whom I have had such a close connection. Spec will always be one of my favorites. He never met a trail obstacle that fazed him. Ever. My dad could ride him and win, and dad didn’t ride! Unless it was Spec of course.
If you’re still reading this, by now you’re probably wondering: “Why the Sanctuary?” As happens sometimes, life took me on a detour. I developed a benign brain tumor. It was no big deal, the doctor said, we’ll take it out and you’ll be just fine.
Instead, I woke up paralyzed.
Horses helped me learn to walk again. I had a flyer for the summer’s trail rides that I posted at the end of my bed, so every morning when I woke up it was the first thing I saw. The prospect of riding my Ben at those trail ride was what motivated my recovery.
Ironically, being paralyzed forced me to rethink how I was able to train horses and subsequently made me a better trainer in very many ways.
The reason I started Warriors? Horses saved my life, so I decided to start saving theirs.