About Blackhound Equestrian

Our barn is named after Head Trainer Kate Jutagir's lovely black hound, Mae, who has defined our philosophy:

Be kind. Learn something new every day. And most of all, have fun!


Kate Jutagir

Head Trainer and Owner

Growing up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Kate embarked on a career path steeped in tradition, respect, and the undying support of a large pool of talented professionals. Building on catch rides and project mounts, she quickly learned that the path to success is paved by hard work, determination, and a supportive community.

After her junior career, Kate went to work for two successful sales barns in the Northeast and South. After moving to the West Coast with her husband Joel, she opened Blackhound Equestrian in 2008. Originally designed to be a top-notch riding school to springboard dedicated students into careers in the industry, it has grown into a well-rounded hunter/jumper training program. She never loses sight of the path she took to get to Blackhound and Kate hopes to give back to the sport that has given her everything.


Trisha Chieh

 Program Manager

Trisha grew up in Redding, California where she spent a lot of time riding and working with horses in a ranch setting. She went on to college getting a degree in Human Development and Early Childhood Education. She became acquainted with Kate when she began looking for lessons for her daughter and a few years later joined her in opening Blackhound. Trisha has been instrumental in creating a community environment that welcomes and develops riders of all ages and backgrounds.


Dezraye Choi

USHJA Certified Trainer

Dez began her riding career at Lorimer's Riding Academy in the Oakland Hills and as a junior she competed throughout California in the jumper and equitation divisions under the guidance of Gry and Duncan McFarlane. She has been fortunate to work at some of the top hunter/jumper show barns in the San Francisco Bay Area, gaining valuable experience in teaching, barn management, and as a rider. Having spent time living, riding, and competing in Holland while working at a sales barn, she has ridden and cliniced with many top horsemen and Buck Brannaman has been her greatest influence.

Dez has a particular talent for developing young horses with a proven record of consistent success with all types of horses. A strong competitor in both the jumper and hunter rings, she enjoys showing at all levels while sharing her love of horses with her students. She has coached students to top placings on the West Coast including Medal Finals wins.

Jenn Prendergast

Jenn started riding at the age of 4 after begging her parents to let her take lessons on a neighbor's 18-hand draft cross. Her love of horses started the day she was old enough to say "horse" and that love affair has continued. As a young teen, she was a typical barn rat who would do turnouts and ride any horse she could saddle... and some she couldn't... just to be around horses. This is how she learned to handle horses on the ground and in the saddle.

During Jenn's lifetime of horses she has done everything from competitive Trail Trials, Western Pleasure, Gymkhana, Team Penning, Drill Team and Hunters. With a broad range of riding interests, she has been blessed to work with many great trainers in equitation, horsemanship, working cow, and jumping. With a passion to teach and a love of all things horse, Jenn hopes to infect others with the pure joy that horses bring to everyday life and help students on their life-long riding journey.

Karin Apple

Karin began riding at six years old at Spring Down Equestrian Center in Portola Valley. After learning to ride on lesson horses for a few years, her family bought their first horse named Robbie. The experience of owning her own horse taught Karin to be passionate about horse care and the hard work that goes into keeping a horse at the top of their game. Throughout her junior years, Karin learned under coaches such as Lyn Irving, John Charlebois, and Missy Froley. 

At age 17, Karin took a position as a working student for Jill Hamilton and Nancy Thomas and was fortunate to receive their guidance as the foundation for her career with horses. Karin also helped train sale ponies for Craig Clermont and learned even more about developing horses to be performing at their best. She now loves teaching people of all ages to ride, riding horses of all levels, as well as caring for and developing her own horse.