Brian Walker, a dual Canadian and American citizen, has trained, worked and ridden alongside the best in the world over the last 25 years. As a junior, Brian won the Maclay Medal Equitation Championship in 2001. Brian has made a name for himself by developing quality horses into successful competitors in both the hunter and jumper arenas, earning accolades for himself and his clients. Do you have a question you want Brian to answer? Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your short- and long-term goals for 2017?
When I think of the year ahead, I have set some short-term goals. While one year can seem like a long time, when dealing with horses, it’s not that long. I also like to set goals two to four years ahead in terms of my riding. Plans obviously need to be adjusted when you sell or buy new horses, but those should be minor detours from your end goal. Short-term goals would be picking a few important horse shows throughout the year and making a plan on how to have your horses best prepared to be the most successful at those shows; competing at smaller shows for training purposes and at a few big shows to make sure you and your horse are familiar with the dimensions of the bigger courses. Hopefully you time it all right and make a recipe for success at the most important shows of the year. My long-term goals are to improve my standing and have my horses become more successful at the larger shows.
What have been your biggest riding achievements?
My biggest achievement isn’t necessarily one particular win … what I recently realized is that my biggest achievement has been overcoming adversity. Even though it’s still a daily struggle, I’m proud that I’ve continued my career with my head held high. After I was knocked down with the passing of my wife and good friend, I had every excuse to quit and stay in bed in the morning, but that would have been quitting. Quitting was not an option in my mind. With the help of my friends, I got out of bed every day, put one foot in front of the other and stared fear and sadness in the eye. I managed to get myself back in the ring. Looking back to where I was a year ago to where I am now, that’s been my biggest achievement in life.
Do you find it difficult to maintain friendships when you’re traveling the world and competing all the time?
I have many friends all over the world. Obviously, growing up the United States means my best friends are all there, but after years of traveling the globe I’ve made friends everywhere. Like many other horsemen, we all do a lot of traveling to and from shows. With a common passion, horses unite many of us, so making new horse friends is easy when traveling to new shows even though you might not know many people there. I like knowing as much as I can about my competitors, so when I’m at a horse show, I try to make new friends. As far as friends back at home in the United States, I have some really great friends that I stay in touch with as often as possible. I’m guilty of not keeping in touch enough when I’m Europe, but whenever I’m back with them in the U.S., it feels as if I’ve never left.
How do you choose what competitions you’ll attend? Why do you choose those particular shows?
There are many factors in picking shows: location, types of surfaces and prize money, just to name a few. As mentioned before, there are certain shows that prepare you for other shows, which is an important consideration when determining your show schedule. I take all of these factors into consideration when deciding what shows to attend. If possible, I’ll always try to pick suitable shows that are closer to me so I don’t have to travel as often, but I’ll travel as far as I need to if a show suits my horse better and is better for my needs.