Canterbury Park, Shakopee, Minn logo

The Great Schindini: Former Rider Became a Trainer

By Rebecca Roush

While some may know Scot Schindler from his days of racehorse riding, most now know him for the horses he trains and owns. Growing up in Fessenden, North Dakota, a town of less than 500 people, Schindler began riding his family’s “ponies” at a local track and slowly moved on to racing Thoroughbreds.

In the mid-80’s Schindler began riding professionally at tracks in the Midwest and Canada before branching out and racing across the country. He made it to Canterbury Park in 1991, where he rode off and on over the years and earned two quarter horse jockey titles. “I had the opportunity to race all over,” Schindler recalled. “I couldn’t stay still most of the time.”

Schindler finished his professional riding career in the fall of 2005 with a lifetime win record of 900 from 8,307 starts. He rode Qs and thoroughbreds, and also had a win on a Arabian at Arpahoe Park in Colorado. He is the third winningest quarter horse rider in Canterbury history. This was not the end of his career in horse racing however.

After retiring from riding, he decided to stick to his passion for racing and purchased “a few yearlings at sales in Kentucky for a bargain when the economy had crashed.” He continued to own horses with his brother, trainer Jeff Schindler. In 2015 Schindler received his training license so he could begin working with the horses himself.

Since taking on the young horses, Schindler has “had to work very hard to get them to where they need to be,” he said. “Even though what I do takes a lot of time and hard work, I have had a lot of help and guidance along the way.” Schindler says that since making the decision to own horses he has learned how important it is to “be humble and realize that this business has its ups and downs.”

The “Great Schindini”, as many call him, currently owns two horses and trains them with the help of his wife, Laurie. His horse, Schindlers Risk is a 9-year-old Gelding that has been with him since the beginning. His other is a 4-year-old Filly named Maria that is owned in partnership with Bob Schwerzler, a long-time friend of Schindler and a former Canterbury Park employee. The partners have seen recent success from Maria when she won a claiming race on June 29 at odds of 29 to 1.

When Schindler is not busy on the backside of Canterbury tending to his horses’ needs or in the stands cheering them on, he enjoys golfing and spending time with Laurie and her children, Aaron and Kaylin. “This job keeps me very busy, but I am lucky enough to live just a mile from the track, making it easy to be on call,” he said.

The horse racing industry has been a longtime passion for Schindler. “I can’t imagine my life without it,” he commented. “The only thing left for me to wish for is to retire healthy and happy someday,” he added.