Brooke domino SkodZinski
owner / horse trainer / instructor
Brooke is the head trainer, instructor, and founder of Valkyrie Performance Horses & Training. She has spent her entire life dedicated to training horses and learning many different disciplines to make her a better all around rider and trainer. Brooke was an active member of the Essex Fox Hounds in Bedminster, NJ at a very young age. At eight years old she started showing in the English ring where she competed primarily in equitation, hunters, and moved into the jumper ring as she got older. She spent over 11 years competing on the east coast in show jumping where she competed professionally up to the 1.5m at AA rated shows. She was also ranked in the top 20 in the nation in Marshall & Sterling Jumpers in 2009. After her primary show jumper came down with lymes disease preventing her from actively competing in the higher levels, Brooke began to focus on training horses. At the age of 16 she purchased a 4-year-old unbroke thoroughbred and turned her into a jumper. She eventually sold her mare to an Olympian eventer where she went on to be a successful eventing mare winning in Intermediate levels as an 8 year old and making it all the way to Advanced. Afterwards Brooke began to ride and train in cutting, roping, barrel racing, and bull riding. From 2008-2010 she helped train cutting horses and competed along the northeast in open bull riding events and SEBRA from 2011-2014, winning women's bull riding finals in 2012 and qualifying in the amateur divisions as well.
During her college years at Rutgers University, she assisted in many equine studies and helped train horses and people for the Rutgers Day horse show. Throughout her 4 years in undergrad, Brooke worked full time as an exercise rider at Overbrook Training Center in Colts Neck, NJ and at Monmouth Park Racetrack where she was training to become a jockey as well as exercise and train thoroughbred racehorses. Brooke became an assistant trainer as well as became partner on some horses and decided not to pursue a competitive jockey career. She rode at tracks all around the northeast including Parx, Penn National, Belmont, Aqueduct, Delaware Park, and Laurel riding for different trainers; some including Kelly Breen (trainer to 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice) as well as Jose Garoffalo (trainer to 2014 Florida horse of the year and 2014 Kentucky Derby Contender Wildcat Red). Graduating Rutgers University with a BS in Animal Sciences; Pre-Vet Option and a minor in Equine Science she stayed at the track part time until following her medical career as an equine veterinary technician.
After graduating college, Brooke began to focus on barrel racing and training her own horse; a former wild mustang known as Indian Outlaw who was taken from the wild as a 10-year-old stallion and pursued her dream of qualifying for NBHA World Championships. Despite many saying a wild mustang would never make it as a barrel horse, they have won many competitions and qualified not only once but four times for World Championships. She now seen competing barrel horse Boo Who Lolli who has been having a successful career so far. Boo has qualified for World Championships four years in a row now between the 2D-5D. Brooke has also captured Top 5 State Finals Titles 3 years in a row.
When she is not at barrel racing events she can be found showing in the Ranch Riding world with her newest addition Love in the Moonlite. The two started showing in 2021 with a successful first season winning three year-end championships at a local ranch show. In 2022 they branched out into the larger association of East Coast Ranch Riding Association where they finished Top 10 in the entire association as well as multiple top 10 finishes in divisions and overall Top 5 Ranch Gelding out of 100+ horses.
Although originally from New Jersey, Brooke is now located in Southern Maryland where she officially began her business, Valkyrie Performance Horses & Training; specializing in many disciplines of training including: hunter/jumper, barrel racing, mounted archery, trail horses, cow horses, basic dressage, desensitizing, and problem horses. She now currently offers lessons and training out of her personal farm Valhalla Farm as well as trains and assists in sales with Fox Lair Sport Horses. She previously was the trainer for Wolf Spirit Sport Horses until her new position as the official colt starter with Fox Lair. Check out our For Sale page to see some of her current prospects!
Mike has been riding horses since he was thirteen. Focusing primarily on western riding, Mike took a liking to ranch work, trail riding, and roping. Throughout high school he worked on a local farm helping break and train young horses as well as selling them. At eighteen, he joined the Marines where he was assigned to the 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion Alpha Company as crew chief. During his active duty in the Marine Corps while stationed in North Carolina, Mike continued to pursue his passion with horses and worked on a nearby farm training and exercising horses. While also riding on the farm he trained therapeutic riding horses for a nearby college in the town of Jacksonville, NC, and found his personal horse, Rackateer's Dandy Jet.
After his service, Mike returned to his home state of Delaware, and continued to break and train horses specializing in 30-day colt starting as well as problem horses. Roping has always been a passion of Mike's and is pursuing the sport of tie-down roping. In his spare time Mike also hauls horses and livestock in the local tri-state area and offers hauling services to shows and events.