Schneider Picks Harnesses Over Hockey

Published: April 1, 2020 12:18 pm EDT

“We’re still quite busy, with a stable of 15 horses,” says young horse owner Cassidy Schneider. “The only thing that’s really changed is the fact that we don’t race now. We still jog and train them. We’re still doing our thing week in and week out.”

Schneider, at just 18 years of age, can almost remember becoming a racehorse owner back in 2007. “I do know it was Arizona Gem,” she says. “He was the first horse in my name, because (at that time) I wasn’t allowed in the paddock, so my dad bought him and put him in my name. From that point on I could go into any paddock because I was an owner. I still have a win photo of that horse with my dad driving and I was sitting on the race bike in the winner’s circle. So that is what I remember about him.”

A midget hockey league player with the Grand River Mustangs, Schneider has always enjoyed the competition on the ice, but it’s safe to say now that she’ll pass on any hockey game to race her horses. “I remember when I first signed up for hockey and went to my first practice. My dad had to race that same night at Grand River and our horse, Count Strike, would end up getting claimed that night. Another time I missed the races was when I went to play hockey in Guelph and ended up breaking my arm during the game. Well, my dad raced and came straight to the hospital to see me on his way home, but I knew then, after those two experiences, that I’d not be missing any more races for a hockey game.”

At least a fourth-generation harness racer from Arthur, Ontario, Schneider gets her love for the sport honestly. “My dad (Colonel Schneider Jr.) had a stable long before I came along,” she says. “He was also born and raised into the business. His dad and my grandpa (Colonel Schneider) had horses and before that his dad and my great grandpa raced horses, too. I can remember jogging my first horse at the age of eight. It was PL Dangerous and I’ve had this love for the horses ever since.”

Looking back to her earliest memory of a race night at The Raceway at Western Fair District, Schneider recalls paddocking Emerald Rihanna with her dad. “I didn’t know it at the time, but my dad had made a deal with Ricky Moffat on a grey horse named Hudd,” she explains. “We stopped on our way home from the races and picked up Hudd. I was asleep in the passenger seat, so I wasn’t even aware we had stopped and put him on the trailer. When we got home I helped unload and it was only then that I discovered we had another horse – this big grey horse and we still have him to this day.”

Reb The Raider, Maddys Credit, Kinmundys Stryker and their most recent addition, Foxton Road, are just some of the horses that have campaigned in London for the Schneiders in recent years. Cassidy mentions that she does get attached to the horses that come and go from their barn, but when it comes to a favourite she’s very quick to admit that it’s Reb The Raider. “He’s my all-time fave!” she says, proudly. “We bought ‘Reb’ almost six years ago. We raced him for a while and then he got claimed, but we claimed him right back for the same price of $5,000 (March of 2015). It was then that he won four in a row – from London to Woodbine to Flamboro to Mohawk – there was even a Preferred win in there too and we’ve had him ever since.”

Reb would also provide Schneider with a few more memorable victories during his racing career, and her favourite driver, for this particular horse, would be aboard for those wins. “The first time Natasha Day drove for us was at Hanover in 2017 and she won – she won with Reb! It had been almost two years since he’d won a race, so that was very special for me. ‘Nat’ would be his driver from then on. She was on Reb for my all-time favourite win at The Raceway, too – a Preferred 3 win (January 29, 2018), which was the last time we made it to the winner’s circle with him. He’s just been an all-around nice horse on and off the track – we’re happy to still have him with us!”

The recent story of horse owner Kelley McNiven shows that Standardbreds are pretty keen to go on under saddle, and the same deal goes for Schneider. “I have, pretty much, the majority of my racehorses broke to ride, but Reb has been my favourite for that as well. I wasn’t surprised that he took to it so quickly and enjoyed it. Again, he’s just an all-around nice horse.”

And with this current downtime away from the racing action, Schneider says, “I’ve missed being able to socialize and see my friends at the races. Hopefully we can all get back to doing what we love sooner, rather than later.”

(Shannon ‘Sugar’ Doyle for The Raceway at Western Fair District)



I remember Cassidy using the cross ties as a swing when she was a very young girl. Her father, Colonel Jr has been so good with my special-needs nephew, Kenny, at Hanover Raceway for over twenty five years. Great story and hope to see everyone at Hanover this summer.