Faces Of Racing: Danielle Schedlosky

Danielle Schedlosky with Outlaw Witfit
Published: August 30, 2022 11:01 am EDT

Leading up to the 2022 edition of National Caretaker Appreciation Day events taking place the week of Aug. 29 – Sept. 4, Standardbred Canada will profile caretakers from across the country in our Faces of Racing series. This feature is on Danielle Schedlosky employed by Dave Kelly Racing.

Danielle Schedlosky was born into the horse racing industry and quickly followed her family’s footsteps in being a third-generation participant and established a career as caretaker over nine years ago. She is now currently employed by Dave Kelly Racing. 

Although Danielle’s family is responsible for her introduction into the harness racing industry, some major role models of hers are Rod Hennessy, who she started her career with, and Connie Kolthammer of Outlaw Stables. “Connie is an awesome teacher; from her I learned not only about training, but also about breeding, foaling and farm management.”

When asked to name a memorable horse that she’s worked with, Danielle found it difficult to narrow it down to just one, but her very own horse Outlaw Witfit came to mind. “He’s pretty special to me. I feel lucky to have him as my first training prospect. He’s level-headed and goofy all in one.”

A typical day for Danielle as a caretaker involves the daily tasks of cleaning and jogging, but she always emphasizes taking her time. “I always try to take my time and be thorough. That usually makes me the slowest, but I feel like that time is my opportunity to make the horse feel good and for me to get to know them better.” Along with providing emotional and physical support for the horses throughout the day, on the night of a race, Danielle’s tradition has always been to give the horses a pep talk before the race. 

Danielle Schedlosky jogging Outlaw Witfit

Danielle Schedlosky jogging Outlaw Witfit.

Working as a caretaker is nothing short of rewarding but a challenge that Danielle faces is dealing with the uncertainties and sometimes high costs of racing away from home. Although being a caretaker can be demanding at times, the feeling that she gets when she’s seen a horse that has struggled in the past go on to have success as a racehorse is truly an unmatched feeling for Danielle.

There are ups and downs in any industry, but to be a successful caretaker Danielle speaks of three traits that are important for one to demonstrate: “Patience, observance and instinct.” Not only should a caretaker possess such traits, “they must put the needs and best interests of the horse first.”

For those looking to begin a career as caretaker, Danielle’s advice is to be prepared for the hard work and dedication that it takes. “Be prepared to put in long hours, ask questions and listen.” Although it takes a lot of work, Danielle’s appreciation for the industry is unmatched. “I’m fortunate to be surrounded by hardworking and awesome co-workers and owners. My boss always provides a wealth of information so I’m learning all of the time.”

Events like National Caretaker Appreciation Day make it all worthwhile, Danielle describes. She speaks of how the drivers and trainers tend to be in the spotlight more, so it’s great to see caretakers getting attention and recognition for their hard work. “I think its super important!”

Join us in showing our appreciation for the unsung heroes of our industry and celebrate National Caretaker Appreciation Day at one of the 11 participating racetracks!  

(Photos by Crystal Cole)

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