Aleco: What do you like about teaching clinics?
Stacia: Clinics, for me, are a little bit refreshing, because I don’t know the horses and the riders, and I’m trying to come up with exercises that’ll benefit a group of people, so that they can take those exercise home and custom tailor them to what fits their needs. It’s not as individualized as if I’m trying to coach somebody to get ready for a particular event. It makes me a little bit sharper, in my coaching skills, and having to look at things from a little bit of a different angle.
Aleco: What has been the most memorable moment of your career?
Stacia: Of my teaching career… It was probably when Elizabeth Benson won the Washington finals, at the Washington International Horse Show. As far as my personal career riding… it was winning the 1987 ASPCA Maclay finals at Madison Square Garden.
Aleco: That must have been awesome.
Aleco: How have you seen the sport evolve through your career?
Stacia: I think that, in the beginning, the sport seemed like it was really just a hobby. And the sport has really evolved to being a huge industry, and a huge sport, and a lot of jobs have been provided through the sport. You’ve, now, got professional braiders, you’ve got professional blacksmiths, you’ve got chiropractors, massage therapists, professional grooms. So, the industry has really grown. And I think that we have changed from just being a hobby to being a sport.
Aleco: It’s a huge economic impact.
Stacia: Yes. Agreed.
Aleco: Why is equitation importance?
Stacia: For me, equitation just means good riding. So, even though there’s a certain amount of subjectivity to the judging of equitation, I try to really impress upon the riders, who ride with me, that equitation is just “building blocks” and a stepping-stone to what their future holds for them. Whether that means going on and competing in the junior jumpers, or whether they have goals of riding the new twenty-five classes, or maybe even representing the team someday. You’ve got to start with a good foundation, and I think that’s what equitation is.
Aleco: What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever been given?
Stacia: Oh, I’ve received a lot of good advice, but I think that I would take a rider that works hard, over a rider that just has talent. And I look for a rider who is really open to making mistakes, because I think mistakes are healthy. I think the advice of being able to learn from your mistakes has been very good. And I think the advice of surrounding myself with people with a good work ethic has been very important.