Jillian (Gemmell) Stroh has been working with horses for over two decade. Although she began her training in the saddle, it wasn’t long until she was carriage driving full-time. In her teens she started competing in pleasure driving in the New York show circuit.
Jillian's extensive showing experience extends along the east coast, from Canada to Florida. Out of high school, Jillian became a working student for Muffy Seaton at Shepherds Purse Farm. Jillian learned the ins and outs of combined driving, including travel to C.D.E’s and driving all different types of equines. As a working student, Jillian was able to regularly drive singles, pairs, and tandems, and gained experience driving four-in-hands.
From 2008 to 2012, Jillian was full time navigator and groom for Janelle Marshall. In 2011, Janelle, Jillian, and Janelle's pony Captain Jack Sparrow went to the World Pony Driving Championships in Slovenia and finished 18th out of 31. Jillian is thrilled to say her experience is now at an international level.
Jillian graduated from Morrisville State College with an associate’s degree in agriculture business. Jillian is a member of the Cherry Valley Carriage Association and was a board member and newsletter editor for three years. Jillian has been a member of the American Driving Society since 2003. For many years, she was an active member of the N.Y. West Highland Terrier Rescue, helping with rescue, transport, and fostering of westie's in need.
When she is not working with horses, she enjoys spending time with her husband Derek, their children Emmett and Teagan, and their five horses, five dogs, one cat, two parrots, two guinea pigs and flock of chickens. Photography is passion of Jillian's she enjoys as much as driving.
Jillian is currently training out of Freshwind Farm LLC in Eaton, NY.
Email: [email protected]
Jillian has built her successful show career not only showing her clients horses, but with her beloved pony Nolan One. Nolan is a 2002 registered haflinger gelding. Below are their listed successes;
- 2006 TwinBirch Haflinger Classic Driving champions
- 2006 Barneveld Fall Show Single Horse Driving reserve champions
- 2007 NYSHBA Green driving champion
- 2007 NYSHBA Haflinger driving champion
- 2007 Lorenzo Driving Competition Junior Champions
- 2008 HOPE High point haflinger, junior driver
- 2008 Pine Tree CDE Training level single pony second place overall
- 2009 Lorenzo Driving Competition Reserve Large single Pony champion
- 2014 Northampton Driving Show- while no championships are awarded at this show, the team placed first in reinsmanship, second in working, first in timed obstacles and third in gamblers choice.
- 2016 Walnut Hill HDT preliminary pony champions and overall preliminary champions. Jillian and Nolan had the lowest scores in dressage, cones, and the obstacles- their dressage score was a 40.33!
- 2017 Brookfield Riding and Driving Association dressage show Jillian and Nolan's first time competing at intermediate level, the duo had the best score of all the ridden and driven dressage tests of the day with 37.63
-2018 Lorenzo Driving Competition- Jillian and Nolan won the intermediate single pony division with a dressage score of 41.60.
-2019 GMHA intermediate single pony combined test champions with a 46.94 in dressage
-2019 GMHA ADT intermediate single pony divison, second place overall (no championships awarded for the ADT)
-2019 Lorenzo Driving Competition best intermediate dressage score and winner of the intermediate pony division with a 33.6.
-2019 Lorenzo Driving Competition trophy ladies to drive on the pleasure drive award, winner of the picnic class, and winner of the carriage dog class.
Jillian and her family's dog Angus (a west highland terrier) decided to try competing in carriage dog classes.
- 2009 second place in the Walnut Hill carriage dog class
- 2010 first place Lorenzo Driving Competition carriage dog class
- 2011 first place Lorenzo Driving Competition carriage dog class, and fourth at Walnut Hill.
- 2012 first place Lorenzo Driving Competition
In 2017, the Gemmell/Stroh family said their goodbyes to Angus at the advanced age of thirteen. Angus was diagnosed with GME in 2013 and was retired from showing shortly after. He lived out his years raising their family puppies and children. He is missed so very much!
Now following in Angus' footsteps is Mountain Thyme's Caledonia or Cal, who is one of their 'home bred' westies. Cal is the king of Jillian's parents house and fit the roll perfectly for carriage dog. He encompasses everything a westie should- beautiful conformation, loving personality with a serious attitude when it comes to his work.
In 2019, Cal won his carriage dog debut at the Lorenzo Driving Competition.