Fashion Designer, Product Designer and Author
How long have you been part of the horse world?
I started riding when I was 8 years old and continued through high school. I took a break through college life in New York City, and riding took a back seat to starting my career and raising my two kids, but I slowly got back into it as horses have always been a lifelong passion. Having said that, I’ve always had horses in my life—I just couldn’t devote every day to riding for much of my early career.
What part do you play in the horse world?
I started foxhunting as a kid, transitioned to lower-level eventing, and now I’m a competitive Adult Amateur dressage rider. At some point, I’d like to do some lower-level eventing with my dressage horse.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
I love that it’s bringing me back to being like an 8-year-old! My horse Lola has all the best qualities of what a mare is: her solid work ethic, she’s a steady partner and she never gives up. I’ve never had a mare before, but she never stops trying.
I’ve also made lifelong bonds of friendship with people in the riding world, and I hold that dear.
I will add that if I didn’t have success or substantial achievements in my professional life outside of riding, I don’t think that I would be able to persist as an adult amateur competitor in my riding life. Those successes have helped sustain me, because riding is so humbling! Thank God I have my children, and a profession that I feel proficient at, because I honestly think my ego couldn’t handle continuously being humbled by horses if it weren’t for that. Everybody needs to be good at something, and maintaining the enthusiasm to keep struggling along as an adult amateur is a real challenge.
What’s your biggest achievement in the horse world?
I’m very much wired to set goals and make strategies to achieve them. Within the riding community there are goals, like the USDF medals. Those are nice to achieve, but I’ll share the story of a personal achievement. Years ago I got around a “three-day” at the Beginner Novice level at Stuart Horse Trials in upstate New York. There were a lot of people competing, the event was televised, and there were a lot of big riders there competing. Even though it was a low level, the atmosphere was far and away my biggest competitive experience. With Lola, I made it to the BLM championships in dressage, but that horse trials really took a lot—I had to use everything I had to get around the cross-country course, and I’ll always remember it as something I’ll consider a big personal accomplishment.
Also, I’m sure many women can relate: I’ve been able to keep horses in my life, raise my children and continue my career, and I would consider that my biggest life accomplishment.
You’ll represent the United States at the Maccabiah Games in Israel this summer. What horse will you be riding?
I’m very excited to be named to the U.S. Maccabi Team. We will be catch-riding horses in Israel and our coaches have been looking at videos for a while, of horses that we’ll be leasing. The first two weeks we’re there, we’ll be determining which rider is a good match for which horse, and then each rider can focus on getting to know their mount.
The U.S. delegation is 1,300 people and the opening ceremony is over 10,000 people in a stadium. Our competition begins on the 17th of July and then we compete for three days, and it will be very hot! I’m honored and very excited for this opportunity to represent the United States.
What are your goals for your life?
At nearly 60 years old, I work with a sort of goal system in my life and have lots of things that I want to achieve. One thing that I enjoy is that I’m in partnership with a small, hand-manufactured art book business called Wrap Books and I’m eager to have this grow and expand in the next couple of years.
What is the best thing about your life?
It’s very fulfilling that I’m still engaged creatively in my work. It feels wonderful to be useful and have things to do every day. I live on a farm, I have foster ponies, I can be there for my sons and I’m happy that my kids are well, and their lives are taking off. I don’t take that for granted. Anything can happen: A pony can get sick or one of my kids needs something. It can easily get chaotic, so I appreciate the moments when everything is going well. Considering current events, I’m so grateful that we are well, and safe. That is really the most important thing.
Best-kept secret about what you do?
A funny thing about me is that no one that I ride with really knows what I do, and people in my working world think that I ride my horse maybe once a week, though I ride nearly every day. I have these two aspects of my life that are completely separate and it’s funny how it’s very compartmentalized. I work crazy, late hours to get my work done because I spend an inordinate amount of time driving and riding. I work almost around the clock to get it all done.
For more information, visit maccabiusa.com
Photos by Adrienne Morella, www.adriennemorellaphotography.com