Michelle Durpetti’s Cassius Signs On as an Equine Ambassador!

Cassius and Caitlyn Shiels Photo @ Fine Art Horses Photography

When Caitlyn Shiels, owner of True North Stables based out of Chicago, Illinois, got a call from Don Stewart about a six-year old hunter prospect named Cassius, little did her client, Michelle Durpetti, know that Cassius would become a part of her family. Michelle began riding when she was nine years old, and as an only child, her horses became the siblings she never had.

Since joining Michelle’s team, Cassius has brought them to countless derby placings, Derby Finals three times, wins in the amateur owner hunters with Michelle and accomplishments with Caitlyn including top placings at Harrisburg and Washington in the high performance hunters and two top six placings in the developing professionals class at Capital Challenge.

Cassius and Caitlyn Shiels on their way to a second place finish at the Split Rock Jumping Tour Photo @ Winslow Photography

“Cassius has provided opportunities for Caitlyn as a professional and for me as an owner and amateur that we only dreamed of. He is kind-natured, so loyal and so hard working. I could not have asked for a more dependable partner and teammate,” said Michelle.For Michelle, Cass’s heart and willingness to go above and beyond far exceeds his accomplishments.

“Cassius, Caitlyn and I are all thrilled to support the EQUUS Foundation and dedicate a portion of his winnings to protect horses from peril. As we pursue our dreams with our equine teammates we are helping this organization protect other horses. That is the sweetest victory of all. My horses are my family. What a wonderful way to help safeguard the future for horses I am unable to re-home myself.”




Michelle Durpetti riding Cassius

While competing with Cassius in Kentucky this summer, Michelle lost a member of her equine family. Ramon, one of her retired horses, passed away the morning that Cassius competed in the international derby at the Split Rock Jumping Tour and that evening, he and Caitlyn finished 2nd overall.

“Like Cassius, Ramon gave me courage to reach towards my dreams. I like to believe that Ramon was with his brother that day. I could not think of a more appropriate way to honor Ramon and all of my horses than by supporting EQUUS Foundation. Their dedication to teaching people about the magic of horses as well as the need to ensure a safe landing when horses can no longer continue in their careers is something I wholeheartedly believe in.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Cassius as an EQUUS Foundation Equine Ambassador. Michelle’s dedication and motivation to make a difference are so evident when you speak to her. We are honored that she wants to support the work we are doing to ensure horses safe transitions throughout their lives,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.

Photo @ Winslow Photography

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