HOW I MOVED UP DIVISIONS PART TWO
When you ride at Beacon Hill Show Stables, the expectations and goals for your riding are discussed regularly between you and your trainer(s) and at meetings with your trainer(s) and your parents. When I started riding at Beacon Hill in December of 2000, my parents leased an equitation veteran for me named, Archie. We started in the three foot equitation division (mini-equitation) but Frank and Stacia Madden, my trainers, encouraged a move-up to the Big Eq at the Lake Placid Horse show in 2001. Being the youngest and newest Big Eq student in the barn meant watching other accomplished Beacon Hill students, another invaluable experience, such as Krista Freundlich and Kristy McCormick while they had lessons. Krista Freundlich took me under her wings during my first few years, just like an apprentice of sorts, and showed me all she could. In 2001, Archie and I qualified for the Pessoa Medal Finals at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Harrisburg, Pa. It was an awesome first experience! When Archie's lease was over in late 2001, I was riding mostly sale horses in the equitation with an occasional catch ride in the children's jumpers.
In 2002, I went to WEF for one or two weekends and at home that winter, Max Amaya, a trainer at Beacon Hill, spent many hours teaching me all that he could. His work ethic is an inspiration to many and he is a great horseman. I showed at Devon, for the first time in 2002, and was able to qualify for the ASPCA Region II competition, Medal Finals and the USET Finals East.
During 2003, I catch rode Whimsey and several other horses and later that same year, my parents purchased him with the help and generosity of a family friend. Although Whimsey had been a jumper, he adapted to the equitation rather quickly. We were second at the HBO Medal finals in Worcester, Mass. and eighth at the Pessoa Medal Finals that year. Whimsey is a great teacher and partner.
In 2004, my first full winter competing in Florida, Whimsey and I received the Christy Conard Trophy - the award for the high score equitation rider at the WEF circuit. Looking back, that was the year that I started showing consistently. Whimsey and I were 3rd at ASPCA Maclay Region Two qualifier in September. Unfortunately, he was injured at Capital Challenge in early October. Whimsey and I had qualified for all the Eq finals; Medal, Maclay, USET and WIHS. At USET finals, only a week after Capital Challenge, I rode a six year horse that John & Beezie Madden generously lent to me, and for not knowing her, we had a reasonable show. At the Medal and WIHS finals, I rode a jumper that was fresh out of quarantine from Europe. Given his new introduction to the equitation, it went well. At the Maclay Finals, the Goutal family generously lent me Clementine's horse, Crusader, and we were eighth that year.
In 2005, thanks to Frank and Stacia Madden, I went to WEF as a catch rider and Whimsey spent the winter on stall rest. I was lucky to have catch rides in the hunters, jumpers and the equitation and was fortunate to meet and be trained by some really great horseman. When the Wellington shows ended and we moved on to Tampa, my parents leased a sale horse on a month to month basis, an equitation veteran named, Amigo. He was a talented horse with a quirky, sometimes nervous personality and I learned quite a bit while I adjusted to riding him. After the WEF circuit, my trainers allowed me to show their horse, Marga, in the low junior jumper division. She is a strong yet talented mare and she has taught me a great deal. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to ride in the junior jumper division. In 2005, I qualified for all the equitation finals and was first at the ASPCA Region II competition and fourth at Medal finals on Amigo. For the USET finals, I was lucky to ride another Goutal horse named, Orion, and we were Reserve Champion. Amigo was sold after the WIHS Equitation classic and I returned to catch riding in the equitation.
In 2006, I went to WEF with the hopes of showing Whimsey but he wasn't quite ready, although we did show in a few classes during the circuit. Luckily, with the help of my trainers and the generosity of many, I catch rode again. The Wellington circuit ended quite well when I catch rode a wonderful horse, Nelson, generously loaned to me by the King-Kaplan family, and we won the Ronnie Mutch Equitation Classic. In June, 2006, my trainers encouraged a move up to the High Junior Jumper Division on Marga. At the Beacon Hill Classic in 2006, Marga and I were third in the Open Speed Derby, our first class with the professionals. In 2006, Whimsey and I were 2nd at ASPCA Region II qualifier, 4th at the Capital Challenge Equitation Championship, and eighth at the WIHS Finals. On another catch ride provided generously to me by King-Kaplan family, I was eighth at the USET East finals in 2006.
In 2007, I was asked by James Toon, to show a six year old mare, I Toon, in the Big Eq during the Wellington Circuit. I also catch rode a beautiful hunter named, El Raymond, as well as some other Junior Hunters throughout the circuit. For the Ronnie Mutch Equitation Classic, I had a catch ride on a fabulous horse, Aaron, owned by the Polle family. It was a dream come true to win the class for the second year in a row! At Devon, I was fortunate to ride two different horses, Cobblestone and Versace, owned by the King-Kaplan Family. Another dream was realized when I became the equitation champion at Devon. This June, with the encouragement of my trainers, I competed in my first Grand Prix on Marga at the Beacon Hill Classic. It was a great experience and I hope to continue riding at the Grand Prix level in the future.
When I look back at my "moving up" experiences, I am truly grateful and thankful for all that I have had along the way and realize that the tough times taught me as much, if not more, than the times when I achieved my goals. With new aspirations and the desire to achieve all that is possible, I look forward to the future.
Catch up with me later this week for an update on the HITS Saugeurtis show.
Talk to you later!