Catherine Zimmerman (Cat Z) began riding at Seaton Hackney Stables right before it officially opened and when she was only three years old. Her passion for horses began truly before she could walk. She became a permanent fixture at the barn and even “bought” Elvis the pony from the owner, Marc, for a quarter and a dime when she was five years old:
In 2015, at the age of 12, Cat was accepted into the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition, a national program where young trainers are given a wild mustang to tame and train and, after 90 days, they compete. She began working with her first mustang, Comancheria (“Monche”) and went on to place fourth overall in the competition.
Since then, Cat has continued working with mustangs. She has won numerous Youth Extreme Mustang Makeovers (Massachusetts, Kentucky, Texas, Nevada, Georgia), Open Mustang Competitions (Georgia, Kentucky, Texas), won Fan Favorite for her Freestyle Performance (Midwest Horse Fair), and was Reserved Champion in numerous makeovers. She won her first Adult TIP Mustang Challenge (Georgia) and came in fourth in her first Adult Extreme Mustang Makeover (Oklahoma). Today, she resides in Florida and trains horses full-time. People send her horses to train from all over the nation. When she isn’t training, she travels the country performing with her mustangs and conducts clinics. In 2019, her dedication to mustangs was recognized when she was named the first ever Official Youth Ambassador for the Mustang Heritage Foundation. She also co-founded the CZ Mustangs Rescue & Sanctuary.
To say that learning how to ride horses at Seaton Hackney Stables changed her life is an understatement.
You see, horses saved her.
On the outside, Cat might have appeared like a privileged young girl. However, unbeknownst to many people, she was a typical teenager facing many of the same hardships that other young people encounter but often hide from others. Her parents had just gotten divorced, her mother was fighting breast cancer, another family member was battling addiction, and her world felt like it was falling apart. Her time with horses helped to heal those wounds and keep her grounded.
In 2016, at 13 years of age, Cat created this inspiring video that describes her own struggles and determination to overcome many of the social obstacles and life hardships that other young people are forced to deal with: school or cyber bullying, lack of self-esteem, parental divorce, disease, substance abuse, and depression. Her video shows the power that horses have to heal people. It just takes a dream and hard work to overcome the hardships that so many of us face.
Both Cat and Seaton Hackney Stables dedicate this video to all young people and adults who might find themselves in a similar place. It is our heartfelt hope and mission to be able to help anyone, young and less young, overcome adversity, find comfort and joy in our environment and achieve their potential. Let the healing power of horses help you find who you can be.
You can now watch Cat and her progress through 501c3 non-profit mustang training and rescue facility, CZ Mustangs Rescue & Sanctuary and see how many Mustangs are rescued, retrained and rehomed thanks to Cat and her mother’s efforts, the support of Seaton Hackney stables and friends and customers like you.
Video: Rewards of Working with Mustangs
VIDEO: Cat Z won the Las Vegas 90 Days TIP Challenge in2019, with Indie, a yearling filly from the Nevada Mustang Range:
T E S T I M O N I A L S
Dear Marc and all the team,
Our daughter, Selda, loves her experiences at SHS. Riding first in PEP, then in troop sue has many encouraging, confidence-building instructors. In shows she feels proud and capable. As a volunteer, she enjoys the feeling that of responsibility and solving problems. Now as a CIT she loves the nice people, the responsibility and the appropriate level of challenge. She has become so independent, in part because of the trust and mentoring everyone their gives her: from the office, to the ring, to the stalls, and now at Lake Rickabear.
We applaud you all for the encouraging, safe, positive culture you have nurtured. We are also grateful for all the opportunities for self-development, learning and job skills you have offered Selda. I can imagine you might have some stress and hard days. Hold on to this screenshot and know that you are doing a great job! 7/2022
I would like to thank you and your staff for the time you dedicated to our kids. It was such an incredible day all around and you just topped it off for them. They loved the horses. Your staff and your kindness is so greatly appreciated. We will be sending an email to all the parents of the students that participated to give them your name and phone number of your stable. Thanks again and if there is ever anything we can do to help you as a organization please ask. The Lions club and Leos club would gladly help.
Looking forward to it! Jillian is proudly riding in your groups for children with special needs and we continue to be very grateful of your support and for giving our daughter a place where she feels like she belongs!
My son Anthony “AJ” Laska attended pony share camp at Alverthorpe Park in Abington, Pennsylvania from July 7-10, 2014. I have to tell you how impressed I was with the program and the staff. Fernando was very organized and kept the program moving at a good pace. I loved how he taught them the basic safety rules, which is not easy with younger children. Emily, Luisa, and Hector were FANTASTIC too. They really made the activities enjoyable and fun. My son was one of the youngest children there, and they were so kind and patient with him. The staff demonstrated their knowledge of the horses and took good care of them. They also made sure that each child had time to ride. As a mother, I was just so delighted and thrilled with the program that I can’t wait to enroll him again next year! So a big “thank you” again to Fernando, Emily, Luisa, and Hector for a wonderful week.
I was one of your first Equishare riders back in the mid ’80s. My horse was DJ. I am still thankful for the training you gave me. I still ride for pleasure and enjoy watching my daughter ride who is starting to show and is part of the USEF High School Equistrian Athlete Program. Looks like you are doing amazing work with children in NJ. Wish you all the best for a great 2015.
My daughter has always had a wonderful experience at Seaton Hackney, the staff have never been anything but welcoming, the horses are wonderful and Kaylea loves them all. We have tried other barns, but as a beginning family we were not welcomed at other barns as much as we have been at SHS. Thank you for all you do for your riders and horses!
Seaton Hackney has helped me become the rider that I am today, especially Gillian. Gillian is fun but focused on my safety. My daughter has ridden at Seaton Hackney Stables since she was four-years-old. She always enjoyed participating in the horse shows at the facility and enjoy the Barn shows in the fall and spring. I also had fun at Seaton Hackney at camp this past summer.
I have learned responsibility of taking care of the horse and the tack. Riding has helped me learn about competition and both winning and losing.
I love the stables because I get to ride my horses and it’s fun. I also like grooming the ponies. Elvis always remembers who I am and licks my hand. He’s fuzzy and cute.
As the dad of a young lady that rides at Seaton Hackney, I could not agree more about the quality of the facility and of the instruction they provide.
Seaton Hackney Stables has changed my life. I can honestly say that without the joy of horses, I would have gone through life with an emptiness that I didn’t even know existed. The horses and the staff are part of my family. It’s an amazing facility with quality instructors and horses.
Two friends and I decided to go horseback riding and we were looking for a stable in Northern NJ. While there were a few in the area, we chose Seaton Hackney and had a great time. When you call to set up your ride in advance, they prep you extremely well and set great expectations. It didn't feel commercial what so ever, and we always felt we were in great hands. Our instructor Jen was AWESOME, always making sure we were good but also empowering us to ride. Price was pretty decent for a group, less expensive than other stables in the area. The trail was pretty and actually public, so a bunch of people were so happy to see us. Every point of contact was very welcoming, and I will definitely be coming back here.