Eventing, just like any other sport, requires dedication, commitment, hard work, and sometimes a sense of humor to get you through the times when nothing seems to be going right. Ever since I started riding, twenty-two years ago, I knew that my ultimate goal, the big dream, was to ride for the United States Equestrian Team someday. Along the way, I’ve learned that no big dreams are possible unless you build on the smaller experiences that come your way.
I started my eventing journey with Pony Club when I was ten years old. My mom helped me find Rosie, a 20 year old Morgan who taught me some fundamental skills about my sport! Rosie was all about keeping her rider humble in dressage, maintaining a forward safe pace on cross country and making me diligently ride every fence in the show jumping. By the time I was seventeen, I had received the nationally-ranked “A” rating and learned an amazing amount about horsemanship, training, riding, and all of the little details that make horses happy, healthy and successful in their lives.
After Pony Club, I was lucky enough to have a chance to compete for the North American Young Riders (NAYRC) two-star team in 1998. I had the fortune of working for Jil Walton (Area VI’s coach at the time) for three summers leading up to this and learned a lot about all the preparation that goes into competing in a full three day event. The NAYRC gave me a real life experience on team work and taught me excellence comes from the whole group not just an individual.
Following Young Riders, I attended California State University at Fresno on a full scholarship competing with the Varsity Equestrian Team while pursing my degree in Animal Sciences with a concentration in Equine Studies. Being a varsity team member broadened my knowledge of the athletic and mental preparation required to be competitive at a high level in equine sports, especially as it relates to a team. Regular workouts in the gym with professional trainers, regimented team horse practices, and team strategy planning sessions were all a part of the core curriculum. We learned how to strengthen our minds and our bodies to have us at our peak performance level for competition. Most importantly, on the team I learned that no large dream is possible without short-term goal setting, a lesson that has served both my students and myself very well.
After finishing up my degree at Fresno State, I kept my big dream alive and worked diligently at gaining more experience in managing barns, training horses at all levels and of all abilities, and working to perfect my teaching skills with a great bunch of students. With these experiences I decided it was time to start a more formal team and business, Havarah Equestrian.
Soon after establishing Havarah, I was lucky enough to come across Charly, later to be named Havarah’s Charly, who at the time was a very green Hungarian warmblood that showed some serious potential as a big time event horse. Together with some of my original Team Havarah, I formed the Minyan Sindicate, and we were able to secure the purchase of this amazing animal. After some initial training and competing of Charly on the West Coast, I had an opportunity to come to the East Coast to compete Charly for a season. I wanted to participate in the many quality events and various terrain offered in Area I, II and III, as well as utilize the amazing facilities located in this region. I was also excited at the prospect of learning from all the other great riders back East so I jumped at the opportunity to expand Havarah to the East Coast while still keeping my business, my students and my clinics going in California.
Since I’ve been back East, I have been very lucky to work with some amazing riders and horse people. Everyone has impacted me deeply, and I’ve learned so much. Some of the people I’ve recently come in contact with are Roddy Strang (“horse educator extraordinaire”!), Boyd Martin (an extremely talented event rider), Silva Martin (a phenomenal dressage rider) and Michael Matz (an Olympic medalist show jumper and now very successful race horse trainer). I’ve had the chance to break babies, gallop race horses, ride dressage horses, and work in many other barns of all shapes and sizes. I appreciate every day the insights I learn on how to get the most out of my horses, the most out of my students and the most out of life in general. All of these things have had a very positive impact on my riding as well as myself as a person. Positive goals and a horse-first mentality is the underlining theme for any successful partnership!
The big goal is still there, which is hopefully a little closer now, getting to ride for the United States Equestrian Team! Just this past Fall of 2008 Havarah’s Charly and I won the 2 star at Plantation Fields, and then just narrowly missed what would have been back to back wins for us at the Fair Hill International 2 star, dropping a rail in show jumping and ultimately finishing 4th. We were also just added to the Developing Rider list for 2009. I’m extremely thrilled and honored to have the chance to train with some of the top riders and coaches in the world as we hopefully prepare for the World Games in 2010 and possibly the PanAm or Olympic games following. It’s really a most exciting time right now!
Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to read this. All this would never be possible without my sponsors, supporters like the Minyan Syndicate, family, friends and many others. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! If your not already a member and would like to help out please make sure to check out the Join Team Havarah page on this site and find out how you could also become a part of the Havarah. We’d love to have you along for the ride! Join Team Havarah Link