About Our TeamThe Palladia Farm training team is here to help you achieve and exceed your riding goals while learning, having fun, and enjoying everything the hunter-jumper discipline has to offer.
Margaret Clayton, Owner & Head Trainer
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Margaret attended riding camp when she was 6 and fell in love with horses. Her parents signed her up for riding lessons, and for many years she spent hours and hours at a backyard barn called “Baker’s Acres.” She and the others would spend all day grooming, riding and listening to stories about horses from their mentor. Over time, Margaret worked hard and earned the respect of her elders; in turn, they rewarded her with the opportunity to help out with the green horses and to mentor the younger students.
Eventually Margaret convinced her parents to let her start riding at a nearby show barn, where there were more opportunities. Eventually, got her first pony, Sparkle Plenty. At 13, Margaret moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and began riding at Studio Farms. Under Keiri Kaneps’ tutelage she worked the way up to the junior hunters, where she garnered Minnesota Hunter/Jumper Association (MHJA) year-end titles and won numerous AHSA Zone 6 championships. Her true passion was in the equitation ring, however, where she was extremely successful, qualifying for and riding in the USEF/Pessoa Hunter Seat Equitation Medal Final at Harrisburg, and the ASPCA Maclay National Championships.
After high school Margaret attended Mount Holyoke College where she focused on academics. She majored in religious studies, graduated cum laude with honors, and continued on to earn a Master’s Degree in Ethics from the University of Chicago. Academia ultimately didn’t seem like the right fit, so Margaret gave corporate America a try, working at a Chicago-based marketing firm where she rose to the ranks of Creative Director at Group II Communications.
Then in 2002, a friend asked Margaret to come help her at a horse show one Saturday. Margaret agreed. The weekend was a huge success. A local trainer took note and asked Margaret to consider giving regular Saturday lessons at his barn. Word got out, Margaret’s lesson schedule booked up, and she was having a blast. Those first years working with the kids gave Margaret great satisfaction; she also found that her passion for psychology came in handy. Eventually Margaret and long-time friend Stephanie Skrodzki went out on their own and founded Palladia Farm in 2003. Margaret is a SafeSport-trained United States Hunter/Jumper Association Certified Trainer and an American Riding Instructors Association certified trainer.
Throughout the years, the students and horses of Palladia Farm have won numerous championships and awards. Some of these include: USEF Zone V Championships and year-end awards in the green working hunters, regular working hunters, junior hunters, pony hunters, children’s pony hunters, and hunter breeding divisions. We have won local year-end awards and equitation championships, and have also qualified students for and attended Pony Finals, Indoors, and the USEF Medal and ASPCA Maclay Finals.
Elise Fraza, Rider & Groom Supervisor
Elise rode under the instruction of Richard and Patty Rogers at Branch Hill Farm in Cincinnati from her first pony through the junior hunters. The Rogers and their clients then joined Mindy Darst’s team at the nationally recognized Hunter/Jumper barn, Lochmoor Stables. Elise continued her equestrian education as part of the Auburn Equestrian Team where she won two national championship titles and gained invaluable experience riding top horses around the country. After college, she had the privilege of working with and riding for the late Mindy Darst, before joining the team at Palladia Farm in 2013. Elise has demonstrated that not only is she an asset to have as a trainer and manager at Palladia Farm, but she is also a proven performer in the show ring, having piloted our horses to numerous championship honors throughout the years. Elise is a SafeSport-trained United States Hunter/Jumper Association Certified Trainer.
Honor Beeler, Instructor & Camp Director
Honor’s passion for riding started at an early age. She grew up riding and competing at events throughout the Midwest. She successfully competed on both the Illinois Hunter/Jumper Association (IHJA) “A” Circuit and the Northern Illinois Hunter/Jumper Association (NIHJA) local circuit, taking many top honors along the way.
Honor graduated Suma Cum Laude from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2015, where she majored in Photography. While at school, Honor competed on SCAD’s top-ranked equestrian team. During her years on the SCAD equestrian team she won numerous classes and placed top three at Regionals, helping her team win the National IHSA title in 2015. One of the highlights of both her riding and academic career, Honor won the SCAD female Athletic Director Award, given to the female athlete with the highest grade point average.
Shortly after graduation, Honor joined the team at Palladia Farm. Her responsibilities include running our successful Summer Camp program and teaching the bulk of our Riding School lessons. Honor is a gifted teacher who brings positive energy and much encouragement to every lesson she teaches. She is passionate about teaching both child and adult beginners, but is also knowledgeable enough to provide quality instruction to our intermediate riders as well. She is a fantastic and much valued addition to the Palladia Farm team. Honor is a SafeSport-trained United States Hunter/Jumper Association Certified Trainer.
Stephanie Skrodzki, Trainer & Barn Administrator
Stephanie started riding as a young child. At the age of twelve she earned a position as a working student at a small thoroughbred barn on the west coast where she was able to trade chores for ride time. Thanks to this arrangement, she was able to gain experience with a wide range of horse temperaments and she spent a lot of time working with green horses.
While in high school, Stephanie moved to the Chicagoland area and started riding and teaching lessons for a local hunter/jumper barn. Stephanie continued teaching and expanding her equine knowledge while she attended Loyola University of Chicago where she obtained her Bachelors with Honors in Biology. Stephanie went on to spend some time in the corporate world, where she worked in the training department at a local blood bank, wrote protocols and streamlined quality control procedures. Eventually she became a Senior Account Executive at The Joint Commission, serving as a customer liaison for health care facilities pursing accreditation.
In November 2015, Stephanie’s son Nicholas was born, and she took the opportunity to bring him and herself back to the Palladia family on a part-time basis. She is very excited to join the team as a trainer the Barn Administrator for Palladia Farm.