The horse show world is a small one that becomes even more tightknit as you drill down into the breeds and disciplines. MSEDA is full of kind, generous members, but the efforts that went into helping two junior members attend the Lynn Symansky clinic is nothing short of astounding.
By Sarah E. Coleman
Photos: Sweet Shots
This past December, two unsuspecting MSEDA Junior members were offered an amazing opportunity: The ability to ride in a clinic with international four-star event rider Lynn Symansky.
Ruth Rosendaul, 15, and Eleanor “Nora” Brown, 14, were delighted at the thought of auditing the Lynn Symansky clinic at Majestic Farm in Batavia, Ohio. Though one girl couldn’t go because of lack of transportation and the other couldn’t attend because of financial strain, the eventing community made silk out of a sow’s ear when two already-registered horses were unable to attend the clinic: They gifted their spots to the two passionate junior members.
The Riders Repertoires
Nora has been riding Stone Place Stables since she was 5; she now rides with Debbie Iezzi. She rides her own horse, Leal, who was purchased by her parents on Dec. 6, 2016. Nora competes at Beginner Novice and will begin competing at Novice in 2019. She’s been riding for almost 9 years and has been competing 6 or 7 of those years, says her mom, Megan.
Ruth began taking lessons when she was about 7 years old, though she went to pony camp the two years prior. She currently rides Kaloosh with trainer Angela Ariatti out of Simpsonville, KY.
The story of Ruth and Kaloosh is truly one every horse-crazy kid has dreamed of. “My parents told me for a year we would never own a horse,” says Ruth. “They lied! I got Kaloosh on December 24, 2015. It was their plan all along to buy him as a surprise for me.”
“Now they say I will never have a second horse … I hope they are lying there, too!” Ruth says with a smile. Kaloosh, an OTTB, was sent to Angela’s to be a lesson horse. Though originally scared to ride him, Ruth got to know—and love—Kaloosh. “We’ve worked very hard for several years. He’s turned out to be a great horse, with a lot of hard work from both of us,” Ruth explains.
More Surprises in Store
Ruth has been in the show ring for four years; last year she competed at USPC Championships in Tryon, N.C., and qualified for AECs, but she didn’t attend because of the distance to get to the competition venue. “We currently compete at Training and are having more fun that we should be,” she laughs.
A perfect candidate for the clinic, Ruth is hungry. Hungry for knowledge, hungry for information and hungry to watch good riders ride. “My mom originally told me about the clinic when we signed up for the MSEDA banquet, and I thought it would be a cool opportunity to watch and learn because we didn’t have a ride for Kaloosh up to Ohio,” she explains. “We don’t own a trailer and have to rely on others for rides. My trainer had just had shoulder surgery and couldn’t help me, but I was happy with the thought of auditing the clinic! Just the chance to meet [Lynn Symansky] after cheering her on at Rolex for years was exciting. Little did I know that my dream of riding with her would actually happen!”
Ruth’s mom, Rachael Rosendaul, got a call from Julie Congleton a few days before the banquet, saying another rider in the clinic had to scratch because her horse was hurt and that she wanted to gift her entry fee to a junior rider.
“Julie knew I would be auditing the clinic and asked if we wanted the spot,” Ruth explained. “My mom explained to Julie that we didn’t have a ride for Kaloosh … Julie, my mom and Angela started calling people to see if we could find a ride.”
An Abscess for One is a Windfall for Another
From there, the story gets even sweeter. “We were told by Julie Congleton that Martha Lambert was also attending the clinic and may be able to give us a ride. Julie called Martha, but her horse had an abscess and she was now unable to go,” Ruth recounts. “Martha said that she would gift her spot in the clinic if someone could give Kaloosh a ride to Majestic Farm. This made my mom think about a friend of mine who was also planning on auditing the clinic: Nora Brown.”
And then the rest of the plan simply fell into place. “My mom called Nora’s mom and said if she could drive [she has a trailer] then both of us could go to the clinic! Perfect!!!” Ruth said. “We couldn’t believe how everyone worked together and were so generous to people they didn’t know.”
Both girls learned so many things at the clinic, they say. “Lynn really taught me how to move my elbows and when I should prepare for the fence,” says Ruth. “Kaloosh and I have been working with this for a while; I was so happy to hear Lynn’s tips and tricks--I can’t wait to use them in the show ring and everyday riding!”
“The neatest thing at the clinic was Lynn’s ability to talk and teach a wide variety of people at different skill levels and abilities without even knowing us or our horses,” says Nora. “She was so in-tune with everything. It was amazing.”
Ruth and Nora both have aspirations for their 2019 competition year. “My riding goals for this year include getting more confident at Training,” says Ruth. “We want to achieve better dressage scores by having our tests be more accurate and have him be more supple in the bridle. For showjumping, I want to find a better balance and find our distances at a more open stride. For cross-country, we want to achieve the same goal as stadium, and keep him being confident and having fun as we ride faster over larger obstacles.”
“My riding goals for this year are to not be so nervous in stadium jumping and trust my horse fully,” says Nora. “He will take care of me!”
When asked about their favorite part of riding, neither junior member mentioned the ribbons. “I enjoy so much about riding that it’s super-hard to decide what I like best!” said Ruth. “I think my most favorite [part of riding] is having a connection with the horse and the barn friends I have met. Kaloosh … is my best friend and I feel that it makes riding 100 times more fun. Horses need a lot of care--it’s not just about the riding--and I love that part of it, too.”
“The thing I like most about riding is the freedom I feel,” explains Nora. “I love the wind blowing in my hair and just racing through the open cross-country fields. I’m not very competitive with other people--just myself. I feel the happiest [when I am] at the barn with my horse, just hanging out doing homework or sharing a snack with him.”
With riders as dedicated as Ruth and Nora, the future of the eventing community is bright. Each girl is deeply thankful for the riders who allowed them to take part in the Lynn Symanksy clinic. Leading by example is not new for MSEDA members, but it was especially powerful on a cold day in December, when two girls were given the opportunity to ride with an idol—which neither will ever forget.