Each issue, MSEDA will highlight a member who is active in the organization to give other members a peek into their horse-loving lives. Interested in being featured? Email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Xpress Foto
Where are you from?
I am originally from St. Matthews, Ky (aka Louisville). My family moved to Shelbyville, Ky., when I was 7.
When did you begin riding?
I began riding with my twin sister Morgan when we were 8 years old at Harrington Mill Farm in Shelbyville. Harrington Mill is run by Mary Fike.
How long have you been competing?
I went to my first competition at Champagne Run farm when I was 10 on a lesson pony named Nate--and we got second place!
When did you get your first horse?
The first horse we had was actually a birthday present on our 10th birthday. He was a 16-year-old Thoroughbred named Heart. Sadly we lost him later that year to a broken leg.
What horses do you own now?
I own one horse now named Bethel Park, also known as Spiderman. He’s a now 10-year-old Thoroughbred that was given to me in 2009 by Dr. Stuart and the late Christine Brown. He had a tieback surgery in February.
What horses do you compete?
Quite a few! Bethel Park, Ashbourne's Boss, Ashbourne's Cooper, Chapel Hill and Ruud Striker. I just started a new OTTB sales project named Holdupwaitaminute! The horses compete in a range of levels from starter to preliminary. I also fox hunt with the Long Run Hounds, with three of the hunt horses on the farm (Ashbourne Farms).
Photo by JJ Sillman
How long have you been part of MSEDA?
A little over 10 years.
What are your horse’s favorite treats?
Spiderman has always been a carrot lover, but his guilty pleasure has become Red Vines.
What are your horse’s quirks?
Spiderman constantly makes this funny face like he's using his tongue to get something out of his teeth. He also likes to grunt during his daily work like everything I ask is so hard and he'd rather be napping.
Describe your horse in 10 words.
Big, honest, talented, athletic, challenging, handsome, powerful, skittish, cocky and goofy!
What is your favorite show and why?
My favorite horse show has always been Team Challenge--I look forward to it every year. I love the costume ideas and the team names people come up with, as well as the team aspect of getting to be competitive with your friends, not having to ride against them! It has always been the most fun and a great way to end the season.
Do you have any good luck rituals?
I don't, but I love to listen to my music and go over my test or course in my head.
What is your full-time job?
My full-time job is happily training eventers and fox hunters! I love what I do; it pushes me mentally and physically in ways most non-horse people don't understand, and it's very satisfying to bring along all the amazing horses I get to ride. I don't think I chose this path, but it chose me. I am not what you would call a brave person; I am shy and don't always know what to say to people. Horses have made me strong, independent and it's defiantly a conversation starter.
How did you get into this job?
I have to give the majority of the credit to my first heart horse, Sunny Weather (my only other being Spiderman). He and I shared a 15-year-long partnership that put me on this path of the job I love.
photo by Xpress Foto
What are your favorite equestrian brands?
I love SmartPak anything! Fast shipping and returns is the key to many a girl’s heart.
What is your goal this year?
HH: To compete in the 1* at Team Challenge.
With whom do you ride?
Before moving to La Grange, Ky., to start my job working at Ashbourne Farms training Janie and Austin Mussleman's horses, I was being coached by Mary Fike (who owns Sunny Weather). Now that I'm out in La Grange, I get coached my Martha Lambert whose farm in happily and coincidentally across the street!
Where do you ride?
I have worked for Janie and Austin Ashbourne for just over two years. I used to help exercise their horses in 2012, and in the winter of 2013, I was offered a full-time position. I love working at Ashbourne Farms because it is over 1,800 acres of beautiful landscape to ride on and some truly awesome horses to bring along!
What is the biggest obstacle you have overcome with your horse?
Honestly just learning how to ride Spiderman has been the biggest obstacle. He is so talented, but far, far from easy. He is by far the hardest horse I've ridden, but the feeling of accomplishment when we get it right trumps all the hard times.
What is your favorite memory?
I have had so many great memories over the years but I have two favorites: Winning Kentucky Classique on Sunny, and winning Team Challenge on Spiderman. They are my favorite because the feeling I had crossing the finish line was the same for both: It wasn't about coming home with the blue ribbon, but I was just so proud of how far the both of them had come and that both times I got to share it with my friends and family who have always supported me. Winning was just icing on the cake. I love my support team. I won't name names, but they know who they are; they are who I go to or call if I’m nervous or upset, and they know just what to say to give me confidence.
Do you own any other animals?
I own the best dog in the world, Percy Jackson. I like to think he is a chocolate lab/Australian Shepherd mix. He goes to work with me every day and goes on all my rides. I'm pretty sure he thinks he's a horse!