Trainer Cassidy Schneider – Canada’s newest rising star
When I began writing this column four years ago the goal was to honor and recognize each and every female who works in harness racing. To give them “a time to shine” for all the endless hours they put in day in and day out caring for their horses.
Whether it is a veterinarian, caretaker, owner or trainer, each and every woman is a superstar. Some of these women are well known, while others you may have never heard of. This is the main reason I wanted to write this column.
This month’s superstar is a young woman who is someone to watch. In 2022 — only two years as a trainer — Cassidy Schneider has chalked up over $1.2 million in purse earnings and a UTRS of .250.
Born and raised in Arthur, ON, Cassidy Schneider’s father, Colonel Schneider, Jr. was involved in the sport of harness racing his entire life, as was his father Colonel Schneider, Sr. The Schneider family name has been a regular participant in harness racing for over 40 plus years.
“My father has been an owner, trainer, and driver his entire life, as was my grandfather, so it came as no surprise when I chose to follow in their footsteps,” Cassidy said. “From a very young age I would go to the barn every day and surround myself with the wonderful standardbred horses. Today, my father and I co-own and operate Schneider Stable. We currently have 30 plus horses, but that number fluctuates as claimers and new faces come into our barn.”
Training on their family farm where Cassidy has lived her entire 21 years, the Schneiders currently own four broodmares: Zealous Seelster, Emerald Rihanna, LH Hollys Cam, and Sugar Shadow. As for the youngsters, the Schneiders have three yearling homebreds, two trotting fillies and one pacing filly.
“Besides breeding we also buy horses,” Cassidy said. “Currently, we have a lot of homebreds. It is very rewarding to watch them every step of the way, from breaking them, to the day they make their debut maiden race. This is what keeps horsemen and horsewomen in the game. We all want one day to own a great champion. I know it’s a long shot, but you never know.
“Look at Canada’s own world champion, Bulldog Hanover. He was the first horse to complete a mile under 1:46. The fastest standardbred ever. Trainer Jack Darling purchased the yearling colt at the Harrisburg Sale for $28,000 in 2019 and when he began his new career of servicing mares, he had banked almost $3 million. Not bad for a $28,000 investment, eh?”
Cassidy and he dad also own some claimers and horses they’ve purchased at yearling sales.
“During the winter months we race at Western Fair and Woodbine Mohawk Park,” Cassidy said. “In the summer we race our horses at Grand River Raceway, Hanover Raceway and Hiawatha Horse Park.”
When it comes to picking a favorite, Cassidy said it would be Maddy’s Credit.
“We have owned Maddy for eight years,” Cassidy said. “She has the biggest heart and wants to do it every time she steps on the track. The fastest horse I have trained is Sir A, who paced in 1:51.2 finishing second at Woodbine [Mohawk Park]. Maybe you think that’s not so fast given horses are going in 1:47 or faster today, but we are thrilled with him.
“This year our horse Derby Dylan was voted Claimer of the Year at Hanover Raceway. He won four races in a row. He’s the barn pet, so winning that was so special. Last year I was nominated for the O’Brien Rising Star award and I received leading trainer at Leamington Raceway and Western Fair Raceway. This year I received leading trainer at Hanover Raceway.”
Cassidy chooses not to drive the horses; instead, she uses several different drivers that pair best with her horses.
“I leave driving up to the professionals,” Cassidy said. “There are so many talented drivers to choose from. I try to match a certain driver who I feel suits that particular horse.
“Some drivers seem to be better at driving a trotter, while others who can’t keep a horse trotting are great driving a pacer.”
For Cassidy racing in Canada in the winter definitely isn’t as much fun as racing in the summer. “Everything takes a lot longer to do such as traveling, shipping on snow packed, icy roads, cooling out horses properly when it’s freezing out, and making sure you put the horse away properly,” she said. “There are just so many more tasks that you have to deal with in the winter. Opposed to the summer.”
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the person Cassidy admires most in the business is her father.
“His passion for horses, the tireless effort he invests in their care and training has taught me the value of hard work and dedication,” she said. “My dad treats our stable not just like a business, but as a testament to the power of pursuing one’s passion, and the profound impact it can have on those fortunate enough to be a part of it.”
Presently, the Schneider stable superstars are Maddy’s Credit, Downstairs Party, Holly’s Treasure, Derby Dylan and Words Escape Me.
In such a short time being on her own, Cassidy has already reached challenging plateaus, such as, getting her first training double at Woodbine Mohawk Park on March 17, 2022 with Sports Jacket, a 6-year-old son of Sportswriter and Peter Poole, a 4-year-old son of He’s Watching, and her first training triple at Leamington Raceway.
For doing all she has done in such a short time, she has been rightfully stamped as a rising star in harness racing.