It is not uncommon for a rider to dabble into different disciplines throughout their equestrian lives, just as is not also not uncommon for a rider to stick with the same riding style. I have been fortunate enough to try my hand in multiple arena’s per say and believe it has shaped me into a better and more understanding rider and member of the equestrian community.
The Early Years:
I was born into a “horsey” family, my grandmother and mother competed locally as kids and had a small breeding farm in Vermont and I naturally followed in their footsteps. You could find me running bareback through the woods on my pony or some old broodmare until I was about 6 years old when it was time to learn properly and get my first personal horse, Comet, a 3-year-old Quarter Horse gelding!
I started taking lessons at a large facility in Vermont where I remained until I was about 15. At this barn, I took lessons in general horsemanship both English and Western and completed in small local shows. There was also a 4-H club which was based at this stable and I was actively involved in 4-H in my elementary and high school years.
During my time here I also dabbled in Barrel Racing. The partner facility to my main lesson barn was one of the largest working ranches in New England where they breed their own cattle and hold professional rodeos. While I never actually competed in a pro rodeo I certainly got a firsthand look at the ways of a working ranch and the rodeo lifestyle. I competed in the National Barrel Horse Association where I qualified for the NBHA Youth World Championship multiple times on one of my other horses, Leo.
It was in high school when I was gifted a 2-year-old Quarter Horse filly out of the famous Hunter Under Saddle sire, The Last Captive. We then began working with a trainer and competing in Quarter Horse Shows. I owned “Cappy” for 8 years and in that time we mastered the all-around events including Hunter Under Saddle, Equitation, Horsemanship, Showmanship, and Trail. We earned multiple all-around and circuit championship titles, top ten Congress titles, and Level 1 Champion in the Trail in 2014.
IHSA and the Hunter/Jumper World:
I was lucky enough to be able to ride on my college’s IHSA/NCAA equestrian team. Stonehill College only had a hunt seat team so I was thrown right into that world head first! The first time I ever jumped was in try-outs my freshman year and I was instantly hooked! I continued to be a member of the IHSA team all four years of college and rose from the walk-trot-canter division all the way to the open division my senior year. I was also named IHSA Nationals 3rd place in the Novice Fences my Junior year, not too bad for a western girl!
After graduation, I decided to stick with the HJ/Eq lifestyle and set a goal to qualify for a local Equitation Final! I obviously made some awesome friends while on the college team that were kind enough to direct me to some exceptional trainers and horses to lease. After a summer away from my AQHA roots in the Eq. ring I was qualified and ended up placing 8th at the final! It was a great experience!
Current Leisure Years
After graduating college only a few years ago I am mostly focused on my career so horse time is a little less than I have been previously used to. I am lucky enough to still have my first horse Comet who is able to still be in full work and compete lightly. We are going to be trying our hand in the Ranch Riding at a few local AQHA and open shows this year. I am very excited to once again try a new riding style and am always up for a new challenge!