Cowgirls and the state of Texas go hand in hand, but sometimes Texas girls turn in their cowboy hats for a riding helmet and take the show jumping world by storm. Meagan Nusz is one of those riders. The 25-year-old from The Woodlands, Texas won the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Jumper Classic Series Amateur-Owner Eastern Division for 2012.
Meagan topped the division aboard her horse Vesuvius, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. With several top finishes over the course of the season, Meagan earned an astonishing 1208.33 points, almost 500 points more than the second-place finisher. Twice she was honored as the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Rider of the Month, in March and again in October.
Meagan started her riding career Texas-style, with a Quarter Horse barrel-racing pony – but as foreshadowing for the rest of her life, she taught him how to jump. “The horses were always my life and they were all I thought about. I couldn’t wait to get out to the barn every day after school. My parents made me try other things such as softball, gymnastics, soccer, cheerleading and art classes, but all I ever wanted to do was ride,” Meagan said.
Who do you train with?
I ride with Kent Farrington. We split our time between Wellington and Lexington, Kentucky. I have been riding with him for two-and-a-half years. He is not only my trainer, but also my friend and someone for whom I have a great deal of respect. He is a great mentor and he really understands how badly I want to be the very best I can be when it comes to my riding.
Tell us about your horse and your relationship with him.
Vesuvius, affectionately known as “Super Suvi,” is a once-in-a-lifetime horse. He is truly the light of my life. He has the personality of a human and makes me laugh every day. He loves to eat bananas—peel and all! We call him the jock of the barn because he has an attitude like “everyone look at me I’m the best!” I have never ridden a horse as passionate about his job as Suvi. Every time I go into the ring I know we are both in there for the same goal…to win!
What was your reaction to winning the Show Jumping Hall of Fame Series?
I am so honored to have won such a prestigious title. I think it’s something that you definitely want on your resume. It really makes the year feel worth it and complete. I thought it was very special to have the award presented in Kentucky at the National Horse Show. Having George Morris, who is an incredible equestrian icon, there to honor us and take a picture was a very special experience. I think the Hall of Fame Series is great and wonderful for young riders who aspire to become like the many amazing riders who have been inducted into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame.
What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
If I had to say one thing was my biggest accomplishment it wouldn’t be something I have done or won…it would be my mind. My view of myself, and my riding, has totally changed. I’ve gone from ‘I wish I could’ to ‘I can,’ and I think that says a lot. A lot of the times I doubted my ability and myself and to be a true competitor that just won’t do. I’m definitely different now compared to when I started this journey and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me.
Do you have a favorite horse show memory?
It would have to be when I showed for the first time in the Spruce Meadows International Ring. It is something I will remember forever and an instrumental piece of my riding career. I remember as a young girl watching Spruce Meadows Television during my summer vacations. I was obsessed. I would sit in front of the television and watch for hours daydreaming about getting to ride there. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would actually make it, but I did. At age 24 (which is considered a late start for some) I finally made it to the International Ring.
What are your goals in life and as a rider?
There are so many things that I want to do but I think my number one life goal is to be the best version of myself that I can be. I want to be a good person and someone that others can look up to. I know it’s cliché but it’s the truth. When it comes to riding I still have so many goals. I was able to check a few off the list after I completed a fantastic indoor circuit this year that ended with me and Vesuvius as national Amateur-Owner champion and champion of the Hall of Fame Amateur-Owner East Division. Someday I’d like to get my red jacket and represent the USA and go to the World Cup Final. For me that would be the icing on the cake.
Photos: All photos by Parker/Russell – The Book LLC 2012