February 2021 - Tammy Chipko and Shelburne Farms
Written by by Cheryl Erpelding
Tuesday, 02 February 2021 21:10
PDF Print E-mail

Off to Nice Start of 2021 with USEF Small Hunter HOY Award

by Cheryl Erpelding

When hunter/jumper trainer Tammy Chipko received the USEF email saying she had won the 2020 Small Hunter Horse of the Year on Santanita LS, she emailed them back saying, “There must be a mistake.” USEF replied, “We don’t make mistakes.” The struggle to show in 2020 with the Covid19 outbreak curtailed many horses’ trips in the show ring, so Tammy’s successful rounds at Thermal’s hunter/jumper winter shows landed her with the year end coveted top prize. The 13 year-old La Silla mare (a Mexican Sporthorse) whom she had originally bought for the jumper ring from Simon Nizri seven years ago, was intended for the jumper rings, but Tammy soon realized she was really better suited for the hunter ring. Winning champions and reserves in the five weeks of the popular h/j circuit in 2020, it was all that was needed to seal the USEF HOY title. Santanita LS was purchased by the Coopers and Zeppelin Farms this past year.


Tammy has reestablished her professional training status in 2015 after competing successfully as an amateur and she has been riding and working out of her hunter/jumper barn in Hidden Valley just north of Los Angeles since 2002. Before she purchased the beautiful 20-acre farm, she and boyfriend Harvey Kallen were searching for a smaller 4-5 acre place, but the stars lined up and they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy the larger working horse farm, and there has been no looking back. The farm is quite a horse’s dream with all of its wonderful amenities and has been the home for several top h/j trainers for many years. The horses are able to be turned out all day and tucked in their stalls at night in one of the three barns. A galloping track, bridle trails, and four arenas give everyone room to work their horses in an inviting environment for both horses and riders.

Tammy didn’t show as a junior but was hooked on horses from the first time she got in the saddle at age three. She mainly rode her own backyard ponies in Agoura, where she paid $25 for a pen for the ponies and worked hard babysitting and washing cars to pay for the feed and care for them. She took care of their feeding and cleaning and learned the full spectrum of equine care while growing up.

Tammy went on to work at Raizy Goffman’s Camelot and worked under Mike Hebert. She also worked with Mike Edrick and has spent time at a hunter/jumper barn in Virginia. After working for Mike Edrick, Tammy took a 10 year break and worked as a software engineer recruiter. When she came back to riding she bought her first horse at age 30 and at first she rode with Mike Edrick for a couple of years. Then she made the decision to continue her education under Karen Healey. Her accomplishments under Karen’s watchful eye were so many including the World Hunter Championship Rider and a long list of many top awards.

Santanita LS and Tammy Chipko win USEF’s 2020 Small Hunter Horse of the Year. Photo: McCool Photography

Some of Tammy’s successes are as both a professional and amateur rider. She has won: World Hunter Championship Rider both Regional and National; USEF Horse of the Year; USHJA Horse of the Year; numerous Hunter Derby wins and Year End Awards; top placings and winnings up  through the Grand Prix Level including many top finishes in World Cup Qualifiers finishing 5th in Qualifier Standings. Some of her top winnings include: Friends of the Meadows Cup;  RSA Cup;  and Genoa Cup all at Spruce Meadows in Calgary. Tammy also has an accomplished background producing top young horses, bringing home Championships in the 4-year-old, 5-year-old and 7-year-old Jumper Finals. Tammy has great sponsors, Heritage Gloves and CWD Saddles and really appreciates their continued support.

Friends of Tammy that were looking for help with their horses eventually brought Tammy back to teaching and reestablished herself as a hunter/jumper trainer in 2015. Some of her clients shared their thoughts about Tammy and her Shelburne Facility.

Erin Prutow wrote: “Shelburne Farms is an absolutely stunning facility located in Hidden Valley. With decades of experience in the hunters, jumpers and equitation rings, Tammy Chipko is a seasoned professional who is more than capable of bringing your riding to the next level. Equally as adept at training as she is teaching, she brings horse and rider together in a fun and positive environment, ensuring each horse learns not only how to excel in the show ring, but also that each rider learns to maintain and sharpen their skills so that both can level up. There is no equivalent in the Los Angeles area that I would recommend more.” 

Karoline Sauls stated: “It is with much enthusiasm that I am pleased to recommend the training & care services of Tammy Chipko and Shelburne Farms for hunter/jumpers and equitation!!

Tammy was my first hunter/jumper trainer in the 90s when she was the assistant trainer at Camelot Stables, this is where we first met and became fast friends.  I’ve had my horses, sometimes as many as seven or eight, in her care at Shelburne Farms since they opened in 2002.  Needless to say, I’ve known her for a very long time and have trusted her with my ‘boys’ for many, many years.

Tammy is someone of high integrity, who puts the care, health and safety of the horses and riders above everything else and is highly knowledgeable in both holistic treatments, nutrition, and vet care of horses.  Not only are our lessons fun & challenging, but she also offers the most competitive rates in town!  We have several riding rings with great footing, and several large, modern, state of the art barns.

Tammy Chipko on Mini Coupe. Photo: Captured Moment Photography

Tammy is a great rider herself, who will bring out the best in your horse both at home and in the show ring.  She is extraordinarily talented in the hunter ring which is proven by her many championships in hunters over the past several decades, but has also competed in showjumpers to the World Cup level.
I’m happy to recommend Tammy for any level of riding – beginner to Grand Prix level jumping!”

Armita shared: “My daughter started training with Tammy Chipko when she was 13. We moved to Shelburne Farms because we wanted her to have an opportunity to grow, not just as an equestrian but also as a young adult. It was the best decision we ever made. Tammy has been an incredible mentor, she truly has a special gift for helping others reach their potential. Shelburne is an incredible facility with extraordinary people. We are so grateful to call this beautiful barn home.”

Tammy will be at the Thermal horse shows with clients this month showing and she will have some top level sale horses which can be seen at the show or viewed on her website, www.Shelburne-Farms.com. Tammy welcomes all levels of horses and riders and can easily help a rider at the local county shows, have fun at a home barn fun show, or go to the big A shows. She invites anyone that would like to tour the facility contact her and set up an appointment.