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By Rebecca Walton
Katie Robinson is one of the country’s leading amateur riders,
earning countless championships at the nation’s most prestigious
horse shows. In 2012 alone, she took home championship awards
in the Amateur-Owner Hunters with her mounts Rock Steady and
Arico during the Lake Placid Horse Shows, the Winter Equestrian
Festival and the Washington International Horse Show. Katie
is a mother of four, based out of Bronxville, New York, who
tries to balance riding and showing with basketball games and
class performances. All three of her daughters learned how to
ride and Katie youngest daughter Maggie is now competing in
the children’s pony hunters with the family’s most special pony,
Dawn’s Early Light.
How did your riding career begin?
I’ve been riding since I was 10 years old. I started in the
children’s hunters and the junior hunters at some local shows. I
did the jumpers, too and rode with Geoff Teall, Conrad Homefeld
and Joe Fargis. I also rode a little with Michael Matz. I got married
when I was 25, had my frst baby when I was 27 and then I had
three really fast. I didn’t really ride for the frst 10 years of our
marriage; but I am really happy to be doing it again.
How do you balance riding and your family?
It’s really hard. You jump through hoops everyday because
everyday is different. Somebody gets sick or somebody has a
basketball game. It’s sort of a work in progress. My husband Jim
has been really patient and wonderful and flls in whenever he
can. I don’t do a lot of shows; but I pick and choose the ones that
are important to me. I didn’t do Harrisburg this year because I had
a parent’s meeting at school. I try to make it as much of a family
event as possible.
Lake Placid is a
family thing, we go
up for the two weeks
for vacation and the
Hamptons we go
for all 10 days and
Then Florida, as much
as we can, we do it as
a family. The horses
are at Heritage Farm
in Katonah, New
York. It works out
great because I drop
my kids off at school
and then I can go straight there and ride. My favorite time of year
is the spring and fall, when the kids are in school, my horses are
here and everybody is happy.
What has it been like watching your kids learn to ride and
show, knowing the risk and reward that comes with the sport?
It’s really, really, really stressful. You can see when things are
starting to go badly and you are like, ‘Oh no, this is not going
to work out.’ But it also makes me really appreciate the horses
and the instruction that they have gotten over the years because
I know they are safe. But it is still hard to watch sometimes. You
always want to make the right decision when you are getting a
horse or a pony for your children; you want to be really sure it is
the right one.
Why are your current mounts good matches?
I really enjoy riding them. Rocky is my steady guy and I know
him really well now, so there are no surprises. Arico is fun because
he’s a little young and inexperienced and he came from the jumper
ring. It’s been fun to bring him along and do some different things
with him. Rocky is a real hunter and he’s fun to watch go around.
He’s also super comfortable!
What do you feel is the greatest challenge for amateur riders?
I think it’s signifcant to make sure the division stays important.
You can get lost in the shuffe between the juniors, the ponies, the
equitation and the derbies. The derby classes are great; but you
don’t want the division to become obsolete. There should be some
level of importance.
What is your greatest riding accomplishment?
I retired a trophy at Washington, so that was pretty great. In the
Young Amateur-Owner Hunters I won the Stake class three years
in a row - Al Capone - that was really special.
Katie and Lady O
Photo by SportFot
Super Mom
Katie Robinson
Katie Robinson and
Rock Steady
Photo by Jennifer Wood