Hunter rider and Dover Saddlery employee
How long have you been part of the horse world?
I’ve been riding for fun for about eight years and competitively for about two years. I had a babysitter who had a horse and would take me to her barn when I was 6 years old. That’s when I fell in love with horses. I started taking lessons when I was 8 and stopped at the age of 10, then started back up again just riding for fun at the age of 14. I played softball for 11 years from the age of 5 to 16. I thought that I would be going to college for softball and had just started getting into recruitment and signing up for showcases. My arm had started to hurt a lot and that’s when I got my MRI and found out I had a SLAP (superior labrum anterior and posterior) tear and lots of inflammation. I ultimately decided I had to quit. I immediately switched my focus back to horses and riding!
What part do you play in the horse world?
I work at Dover Saddlery and I love assisting people with everything that they need at the barn such as tall boots, helmets, shampoo etc. I also got my first horse, Ava, in November 2020! I spend every day at the barn with her. It was intimidating switching to a competitive barn where everyone’s been riding for many years. I felt like I wouldn’t be able to keep up, that I was too far behind. I quickly was accepted and we are all like family. I learned that even though I started really late, with a lot of dedication and hard work, anything is possible. I went from jumping 2’ to around 3’ in just a few months! My equitation has never been better and I’ve learned so much more about this sport.
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
My favorite thing about what I do is being able to help people and make sure they get the best products for their horses. I always want to make sure the rider and horse are happy.
What’s it like owning your own horse?
I learned about loyalty, trust and persevering from Ava. Since I was young, I dreamed of owning a horse. I can attest that dreams do come true. At age 16, with hard work, my dream came true. I arranged to trailer Ava from South Carolina for an on-site trial. I fell in love immediately. When I tried her, she was “bombproof and had more whoa than go;” she was also very skinny, so I spent a lot of time with a friend trying to build her top line and improve her health overall. After a month of having her, she did a 180—she starting spooking at everything, was very frantic and just unsure of her surroundings. It took months of bonding to finally get her to trust me. We recently competed at our first AA show where we were reserve champions!
What’s your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement would be how far my horse has come along. Ava and I moved to an “AA” circuit barn with a reputation for having amazing riders, and I was just a novice rider with a green horse. It was intimidating, but I was eager to learn.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the future would be to continue to ride when I’m in college and do more A shows.
What is the best thing about your life?
The best thing about my life is 100% my horse Ava! She really knows how to make my day when I’m sad or upset. Riding is a way to calm my mind.
What’s something you would tell everyone if you could?
It’s never too late to start riding! Don’t think you can’t ride because you’re too old. Everyone starts somewhere, so why not start now?
Photos by Jena Golden Photography