Amateur rider, taking a gap year before college
How long have you been part of the horse world?
I started riding at 12 years old. A family friend rode at a local barn near my house and invited me to go take a lesson with them. I wasn’t familiar with horses at all, although my mother rode when she was a child and always told us stories of her horses.
What part do you play in the horse world?
I ride at Windsor Stables located in Alpharetta, Georgia. It’s only about 10 minutes from my family home where we have lived for the past seven years. My trainer is Michael Britt-Leon. He works so hard and never gives up on anyone. He doesn’t ever seem to let the difficult days or rides get to him. He always pushes through and keeps working hard. I hope to have that same work ethic and perseverance as a rider and as a man.
What is your favorite aspect about the hunter-jumper world?
The beauty and art of the hunters. While I also compete in the jumper arena, hunters are my passion. There is something so special to me about watching or riding a beautiful horse cantering around the hunter ring with style and grace. I love creating these moments.
What are your goals?
This year I’m enjoying being a new Amateur in the ring and improving my riding. Without school to focus on, it’s giving me the extra time to be at shows and at the farm to lesson and learn new things. I’ve really enjoyed getting to ride younger, green horses and learning different parts of the business. In the next five years, I hope to be an assistant trainer and riding professionally. For now, I just want to soak in as much as I can and spend as much time with our horses as possible!
If you could go back and change anything up until this point, what would it be?
I waited until my last Junior year to make the change to Windsor Stables. If I had done that sooner, more goals could have been met. I’m very grateful, however, that I was able to qualify and compete at Indoors and Junior Hunter finals with success.
Do you have a favorite horse?
I recently sold my horse that we imported a few years ago and I’m now looking for my next mount. I’ve been lucky to have leased some wonderful horses to show in the Adult Hunters and Jumpers. Picking a favorite would be hard as they are all so special in their own way, but True Story, owned by Kelly Sims, would probably be the top of my list at the moment. He is so fun to ride and so kind, he makes you feel like you can do anything and do it well!
What’s your biggest achievement in the horse world?
My biggest accomplishment to date would have to be winning Overall Grand Junior Hunter Champion in Kentucky aboard Quoted, owned by Kelly Sims. It was one of my goals and dreams as a Junior, so it was super exciting to have met that in the short time I had.
Describe your riding style in five words.
Relaxed, soft, slow (I hate going fast), fluid and pretty (or so I’m told…)
What’s something people should know about you?
I am truly passionate about our sport but mostly about the animals. I love everything about horses. I love spending time with them, watching them, grooming them, grazing them, playing in the turnout with them, really anything that lets me be close to them.
What’s your state of mind when competing?
When going into the show ring, I tend to get nervous because I want to do well and do right by my horse and trainer, but the people around me help me control most of my nerves and conquer most of the fears I face.
Do you wear anything for good luck?
I have a lucky blue tie I wear for big classes on days I feel anxious. I always seem to do well in it so I think it’s pretty lucky!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a rider?
I would be playing lacrosse. I loved playing with my team but couldn’t continue due to my busy riding schedule.
What do you do in your spare time?
In the very little spare time I have, I try to catch up on sleep and spend time with family and friends.
Photos by Melissa Fuller, msfullerphotography.com