Early Life & Education
Catherine Haddad was born and raised in St. Louis, Michigan, to a Lebanese American family. She developed a passion for horses at a young age and began competing in 4-H with Quarter Horses and Arabians during her childhood. Haddad continued her involvement with horses during her college years at James Madison College at Michigan State University, where she competed in eventing and served as the top coach for the MSU's Intercollegiate Equestrian Team. She graduated with honors, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations with a minor in Arabic language.
Career in Germany
In 1993, Haddad made the decision to pursue her dressage career in Germany. With limited resources, she moved to Germany with the intention of training with renowned dressage rider Willi Schultheis. Haddad immersed herself in the German culture, learned the language, and shortly after Schultheis’ passing in 1995, established her own training and sales business in Vechta, Oldenburg.
During her time in Germany, Haddad achieved significant success in dressage competitions. She competed at both national and international levels throughout Europe, accumulating over 150 top ten placings and wins at the Grand Prix level. Notably, she rode Maximus JSS to a seventh-place finish at the 2007 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas and Winyamaro to an 11th place finish at the 2011 FEI World Cup Finals in Leipzig. She was Reserve Rider for the US Dressage Team at both the 2006 FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen and 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington. Haddad accumulated her greatest number of CDI wins on her beloved Cadillac who tragically passed away at the height of his career.
Return to the USA
In 2010, Haddad transition back to the United States. She dissolved her German-based training and sales business and, by 2012, established her training facilities in New Jersey and Florida. Haddad continued to compete internationally and represented the USA in various Nations Cups and CDI5* events in Europe and the USA on her mounts Hotmail and Semper Fidelis. She also trained Mane Stream Belstaff to the Grand Prix level and won two USEF Developing Grand Prix classes with him in 2016 and 2017. Belstaff later represented Denmark at the World Equestrian Games with Danish rider Betine Jenssen.
From 2020-2021, Haddad rode Frankie, her self-bred Hanoverian mare in Grand Prix competitions. After securing four consecutive wins in national classes, she and Frankie made their international debut during the 2020/2021 winter season in Wellington, FL. They achieved a second-place finish in the CDI3* at the World Equestrian Center of Ocala. Frankie became the seventh horse trained by Haddad to reach the international Grand Prix level.
Coaching & Breeding
In addition to her athletic endeavors, Haddad is involved in coaching and breeding. She is renowned for her coaching abilities rooted in classical principles and has coached many riders to international levels. Over the past six years, she has coached five riders to achieve USDF Gold Medals and served as the coach of Para Dressage Team rider Katie Johnson for the 2018 WEG. Her current Assistant Trainer, Hope Beerling (AUS), has competed on Australian teams under Haddad’s tutelage and brought the self-bred Vianne, a Hanoverian mare, to national success in Young Horse competitions. Furthermore, one of Haddad's students, Barbie Asplundh, an Adult Amateur, placed third in the USEF Developing Horse Prix St. George in 2019.
As a breeder, Haddad has received top honors. She was awarded the Silver Pin from the Oldenburg Breeder’s Registry in Germany for producing the top stallion prospects De Kuyper and Razzmatazz. In the USA, she has produced foals that have received "best in class" honors at Hanoverian foal shows and have been recognized by the USEF Young Horse program.
Haddad received a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University in 1987. She is a recipient of the BHSAI certificate from the British Horse Society and has been awarded the German Gold Medal for Dressage and the USDF Gold Medal for Dressage. She received the Key to the City from the mayor of Vechta, Germany in 2007 and was awarded the Goldene Reitabzeichen (Golden Riding Badge) by the German Equestrian Federation (FN) in 2006. Haddad acknowledges Willi Schultheis, Rudolf Zeilinger, and Morten Thomsen for her dressage education and is currently coached by Johann Hinnemann.
Haddad is an active member of the International Dressage Riders Executive Board and closely coordinates with the International Dressage Trainers Club on issues affecting the sport at the international level.
Catherine Haddad is also known for co-founding NorCordia Aps in 2021, a company focused on strategic investments in sport horses. NorCordia's operations in NorCordia USA offer a unique investment opportunity by leveraging the value and growth potential of sport horses in Jumping and Dressage. The company distinguishes itself by prioritizing the welfare of its equine athletes and providing top-notch care and training. With a team of experienced professionals and dedicated trainers, NorCordia ensures the physical and mental well-being of the horses under its stewardship. By emphasizing responsible horsemanship and sustainability within the sport, NorCordia pioneers a new frontier for investors seeking superior returns on their investments.