Introduce yourselves, and tell us about your riding as a junior!
Hi! Our names are Mathilda Kunz, Julia Cataldo, and Katy Munn. We grew up riding at Quiet Run with Mo and Mel and were fortunate enough to lease and ride a variety of horses that exposed us to all three rings.
Mathilda: I leased a thoroughbred named Kipling when I was in middle school and we competed in the optimum time jumpers together. In high school, I moved to Wilbur, who showed me the ins and outs of all three rings until junior year of high school. Then, I purchased my first horse, Cecilia, a green thoroughbred mare. Cecilia and I worked our way up from the hopeful hunters to the children’s hunters, and she is now at college with me.
Julia: I was 8 when I started riding. During my freshman year of high school, I started working at the barn and shortly after, I started leasing a warmblood named Stryder. I rode Stryder right up until leaving for college and we competed locally in the optimum time jumpers and modified equitation!
Katy: I started riding at Quiet Run when I was 7. In middle school, I leased a paint named Kaden who I competed locally in the special hunters and modified equitation. In high school, I leased Lola, a warmblood mare who I rode in the low children's jumpers. We ventured to Northampton, Massachusetts and the Vermont Summer festival to show a few times, but mainly stayed local.
What school(s) do you go to, and what year are you? Do you have a declared major or area of study?
Mathilda: I am a freshman at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York and I am planning on majoring in psych and minoring in public health.
Julia: I am a freshman at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. I am majoring in biology.
Katy: I am a sophomore at SUNY Geneseo in Geneseo NY. I am majoring in Special Education with a minor in natural sciences.
What was the college search and application process like for you? How did riding play in to your search?
Mathilda: I knew going into my college search that I wanted a school with a riding team. I was hoping to take Cecilia with me, so finding a school with student boarding was a high priority for me as well. I ended up making a list of several schools with the pros and cons of each, and when it came down to St. Lawrence, the only con was the cold winters. SLU had a riding team, a barn with student boarding, all the academic programs I was looking for, and was the perfect size and distance from home. Obviously academics was my highest priority, but riding was close behind that.
Julia: Looking for schools, I knew horses had to be a part of my college experience. That narrowed my search quite a bit. My plan was to go on a pre-med track. Le Moyne offers a great nursing program as well as a club riding team. I knew then that Le Moyne was the school for me and applied early action.
Katy: After spending just about every day after school at the barn in both middle and high school, a college with a riding team was definitely something I had in mind. I was looking for a school that had the best of both worlds: a great education program and a riding team. SUNY Geneseo fit both of those needs and I applied early decision.
What has been/was your biggest adjustment coming to college?
Mathilda: Riding was the thing I was most nervous about but it turned out to be my favorite thing about college. I was afraid of having to learn the new rules and teaching styles of different coaches and I was worried that having Cecilia with me would interfere with academics. However, all the upperclassmen and coaches were very welcoming and helpful and the barn is the perfect destresser after class. I was also very nervous about making friends. This was a little difficult for me at first because before the team started, I had trouble finding people that I clicked with. The team has really helped me find people with common interests as me.
Julia: My biggest adjustment was not being able to see my family as often. We are very close and that was not an easy thing for me to go through, as well as having to do a lot of things on my own. Also, starting at a new barn was stressful, you have to adjust to the way they do things, which was a little difficult for me in the beginning since I have been doing it the same way for the last 10 years. But after a couple weeks you get the hang of it and it starts to become the best part of college.
Katy: Most importantly, not having my dogs at school!!!! As for the team, after riding at one place for 12 years, it took a bit to get used to the different training and teaching styles my coach has.
Tell us about your riding team(s) or club(s). How did you find out about it, and join?
Our teams are all in Zone 2 Region 2, so we get to see each other at every horse show!
Mathilda: The first time I toured St. Lawrence, I also did a tour of the riding facility with the head coach where I was able to ask her questions about the team as well as bringing Cecilia with me. After being accepted into SLU, I was in contact with both the head coach and barn manager about bringing Cecilia with me. She arrived at SLU a few weeks after I did because I wanted some time to adjust. I signed up for the lesson program at SLU at the club fair and they had us take lessons for a few weeks before they held tryouts so they could get a feel for how everyone rides beforehand. For tryouts, we each tried out for our specific divisions and we were given a different horse for jumping and flat and most people were assigned a horse they had never ridden.
Julia: The Le Moyne website has a page for the equestrian team, where I was able to get my coach’s contact information. After contacting her, we set up a tryout time for when I got to school. At tryouts, I rode and jumped one of my coach’s horses, and that day I found out I made the team.
Katy: Geneseo has a website for their equestrian team which has the teams schedule, roster, contact information for my coach, and a little bit about the team. At accepted students day, I was able to meet my coach, see the barn, and ask questions about the team logistics. Then in August, when we got to school, there was an open house at the barn for anyone interested in joining the team. Tryouts were held a week later. At tryouts, Coach assigned us a horse to ride- we all rode in groups based off the division we were trying out for and we tried out on 2 different horses.
How does riding fit in with your life and schedule at college? How often do you get to ride and what are your obligations to the team/club?
Mathilda: I go to the barn six days a week and since I primarily have morning classes, I usually ride after class. Before the lesson program began, we gave our class schedules to the coaches and they organized lessons around our academic schedule. Members of the riding team are required to do two lessons a week on SLU horses as well friday practice. I also do an additional lesson on Cecilia once a week too. We are also required to do an hour of barn work each week. Before our home shows, we are each assigned a few horses that we are in charge of getting ready by pulling their manes, giving baths, cleaning stalls, and trimming whiskers/bridle paths.
Julia: My team is a club team, so our obligations aren’t quite as extensive as others may be. We have 2 practices a week that we are required to be at and that must be made up if missed. I pay a coaching and entry fee for each show. Every month, my team sends a package to deployed soldiers, so we all contribute to that as well.
Katy: My team is a varsity sport at Geneseo. Our obligations include 2 lessons, 2 hacks, and 1 hour of barn chores every week. Along with that, we are each assigned a few horses that are our grooming horses for the year- we make sure their manes are kept short and that they are clean and ready for our home shows. Our lesson and chore schedule are arranged around our classes and we hack when we have time- often on the weekends!
What is it like competing in the IHSA? Can you describe how the IHSA works, for those who are unfamiliar with it?
IHSA stands for intercollegiate horse show association. We have 8 shows a year within our region, then regionals, zones, and nationals for those who qualify. There are divisions for every level of rider- from walk trot classes to open classes (2’6” fences) and you are placed in a division based off your riding experience prior to coming to school. At shows, we are randomly assigned a horse from the host school to compete on.
Growing up, all 3 of us were able to ride and learn on a variety of horses at Quiet Run which definitely helped us to feel more confident walking into the ring on a horse we don’t know. Being able to adapt to your horse quickly is key in IHSA.
Fun small world story- When St. Lawrence hosts shows, Mathilda’s horse Cecilia is used in the draw. Our first horse show at St. Lawrence for the year, Julia drew Cecilia to ride over fences!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Any junior that is starting the process of looking at colleges, we definitely recommend looking into a college with a riding team! For all three of us, many of our best friends at school are our teammates. We love being able to continue our favorite sport while in college, and competing in IHSA is a lot of fun!
Not just for riding but with college in general, don’t be afraid to try new things and put yourself out there! Going out of your comfort zone can be intimidating at first but college is the perfect place to find who you are and what makes you happy.
Tell us about yourself (where you are from, what you do in the “real world,” what your riding life is like, etc.)
I am from the Capital District and my first introduction into the horse world was a summer camp at Sunday Stables. I started riding with Betsy Joyce and Glenn Geary when they operated Shadow Rock farm, riding and showing right up until high school graduation. I owned and showed another great Thoroughbred, The Navigator through my Children’s Hunter and Junior Hunter days and sporadically through college when I eventually moved to Washington DC where lived for 7 years. It wasn’t until I moved back to NY that I started riding again. When I lived in DC I got a job doing corporate travel and that is what I do today. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home and I live 5 minutes from the barn. I ride 6 days a week and lesson in the mornings and on the weekends.
Tell us about the horse, and your history together (especially any fun facts, cute tricks, or charming personality traits!)
I have an amazing mare named Roulette aka “Roxy”. I got her as a track broke 3yr old from Saratoga Racecourse. She was in training with the late Rick Violette and had zero future as a race horse. The owners were looking to give her good, with the help of Lexie Marquis and my trainer Erika Guthinger we went to the track to take a look. I was not able to try her but watched her trot up the shed-row, she was free so we took a chance and Lexie brought her the barn 3 weeks later, that was 7 years ago this past August.
She is definitely a momma's girl, she knows my truck and always greets me with a whinny and is annoyed when she is not acknowledged right away. Her favorite treats are the German horse muffins, and absolutely hates being brushed. Hard brushes are not tolerated by the princess!
You had such a great Annual Show. How was your summer and season leading up to the Annual Show? Did you do anything in particular to prepare for this show and/or season?
I have a set barn schedule that I try and stick to it. Since I live so close to the barn, I ride every morning before work and lesson 2x a week, she gets Tuesdays off. I know that lots of people aren’t fans of flat work but I am a firm believer that flat work is the key to everything. Over the past 2 years we have been trying different bits to figure out what Roxy really likes best. I think over this past winter we finally found the right combination that is allowing me to get the best effort from her on a consistent basis. She hacks in a Nathe bit, jumps in an Acavallo bit with vet wrap around it and shows in a leather D bit also wrapped in vet wrap.
Tell us about your experience at the Annual Show (what divisions you competed in, what your show routine is like, etc.)
I competed in the Adult and Low Hunter divisions at the Annual and was super happy with our trips. Since the show is spread over a period of 4 days, I have a routine that works pretty well for her. I usually end up showing over the 4 days but like to hack her for about 20-30 minutes each morning so I have a feel of what kind of horse I am going to have that day.
Your mom won the Horse Show Parent Award for the show. Tell us about your mom and what makes her the best horse show mom!
Oh where to begin! I was actually adopted and my mom was the one who introduced me to horses. She was born and raised in Saratoga Springs and grew up on a farm and riding horses, and for a brief time she took lessons with Ralph Symmes. She was very supportive of my riding and showing as a child/teenager and has continued that support through my adult years. She grooms for me at almost every show I attend, videos my trips, and is the queen of the candid! I am so blessed to have been adopted by such a loving and supportive woman!
What was your most memorable moment (positive and/or negative) from this show?
The most memorable moments would probably be my mom winning the best horse show mom, my Best Adult Rider win and my 4th place in the 3’ Hunter Derby. This was my first year doing the Derby and although I don’t really get nervous anymore, that morning I was. Roxy was fantastic and answered all the questions I asked of her.
What are your plans for the rest of the show season?
We have 1 more show this season and then on to Hunter Finals.
What are your goals for the future, and how have your recent experiences inspired or encouraged you?
This is my 3rd year doing the 3’ and next season we are planning on moving up to the 3’3 A/O. I am also setting my sights on doing the TB Hunter division and possibly try to qualify for the TB Hunter Finals in Kentucky.
Any other thoughts or comments?
I think that the community interaction with Social Media was great idea during the horse show. We see people at the shows but don’t always know much about the people we show with. I am hoping that there will be more clinics and informational programs this year! Thank you again for the opportunity!
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Molly McNulty-Finn, I’m 17 years old, and from Albany, New York. I ride at Dutch Manor Stables in Guilderland, New York and attend school at The Albany Academy for Girls. My life is centered around school and the barn, so I do not do any other sports or other activities. I go to the barn right after school for as long as I can, usually about 6-7 days of the week. In the summer I go to as many horse shows as I can!
Tell us about the horse that you showed.
I showed my horse Calvin (Designer’s Gold) in Tryon. Our goal when I first got him was to do hunters and equitation, but we realized jumpers was a much happier job for him and myself. He really loves his job and is happy being on the road at shows. He also loves walks on the hills around the barn and being outside!
Tell us a little about the show that you attended.
I competed at Tryon International Equestrian Center for the first time this year, however Dutch Manor had gone before. The show was beautiful! It had five rings (including a Grand Prix ring with a stadium), each with an attached schooling area, along with two other schooling rings. The footing was beautiful. After perfect weather for both weeks, the last day poured rain. The rings drained so well that there was not even a puddle in any ring. The stables had a tack room that locked as well as fans attached to each stall. There was cold and heated water for baths, matted aisles, picnic tables outside each barn, raised viewing pavilions around each ring, and a covered walkway to each ring. There were shops, restaurants, and entertainment facilities on the property, including a diner, Dover, art galleries, General Store and even a yoga studio! The crew, management, and staff was extremely kind, helpful, and competent. The time schedule was kept constantly updated online so everyone knew exactly when to be on. It was such a beautiful, relaxing, and enjoyable show. I learned so much and it has already helped me a lot at shows I have gone to since!
Tell us about your show experience.
I competed primarily in .90 m jumpers with a few .80s to start off. Every morning when I first arrive I like to brush Calvin off. I then go learn my course and walk it when I can. Then I go back to the barn and lay out my tack and do whatever I need to do before it is time to get on!
What was your most memorable moment from this show?
My most memorable moment was one day of showing where I had two really great rounds and I finally relaxed. I still put a lot of pressure on myself, especially on my second trip, but I finally did not let it get to me.
How did you prepare for this show? Did you feel prepared when you arrived?
I knew about Tryon for almost the whole winter, so every lesson and ride I had it in the back of my mind and considered it preparation. It was hard because we hadn’t ridden outside in a long time, and it was our first show of the season. This meant it was a little rough in the beginning, but I overall felt prepared. Everyone who went to the show was so helpful and supportive and made sure I had everything I needed!
How do you think this show has prepared you for the rest of the show season?
Although a lot of preparation was done for this show, it was still a lot of getting used to as both my horse and I were very rusty and this was a lot to take in. We had some issues we had never experienced before and had to fix them quickly and effectively. This prepared me extremely well for the rest of the show season because I had to learn to just ride what I had. Learning to take challenges as they come without panicking or getting phased was hard for me the first week, but by the second week I thought I came a long way. This was probably the most important lesson I learned the whole show because it is absolutely something that comes up at least once every show, and it is important for me to learn to just ride through it. Calvin and I have both become so much more confident in the jumper ring which is something I’m very thankful for!
What are your goals for your riding this year, or for the show season?
This year I would like to clean up my trips a little bit with tighter turns. This is something I believe I came a long way with in Tryon by riding to the base of the jump and riding with more thought into my approach.
In the fall of 2018, local rider and farrier Mike Isles traveled to the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC as part of the team of official farriers. Mike was kind enough to answer some questions about his trip, and about the event!
In the US there is no formal education requirement to become a farrier. There are many farrier schools throughout the country but most only provide a very basic level of instruction, after which most students will become an apprentice and work with an experienced farrier for a period of time as well as continuing their education through conferences and clinics. I wasn’t able to attend a farrier school at the time so I began working with a local farrier as a helper. After a while I got “promoted” to pulling shoes and finishing feet, and slowly from there I worked my way up to doing what I do now.
Before anyone criticizes the facility, I think it’s important to remember that Tryon was not originally the host for these games. Bromont was awarded the games in 2014 but had to back out due to lack of funding in 2016. That meant Tryon had less than 2 years to prepare for hosting one of the most multi-faceted, highest caliber equestrian events in the world. Some would continue to argue that if they weren’t fully prepared to host this event they shouldn’t have offered but without Tryon offering to host this event there quite literally may not have been a 2018 WEG
With that being said, when I arrived Monday morning for my first day of work I was very impressed with how the facility weathered the storm and how well it had been set up to disguise the fact that it was actually still under construction. The footing in the rings looked to hold up very well, the barns and other outbuildings were dry, and the walkways and roadways were well maintained and nicely decorated. There were banners set up to cover the ongoing construction, one area had huge banners hanging vertically that touted something having to do with the WEG or Tryon. I was several days into my stay before I realized that they weren’t just banners put up purely to be decorative, but that they were hung on the elevator shafts that were in place for a hotel that was under construction. Had someone not pointed it out I would have just thought they were great banners for an awesome event. There will always be critics, but in my opinion they did a fantastic job.
By far the biggest highlight of my trip was having a front row seat, right at the in-gate, to watch the US win the team showjumping. Winning would have been exciting enough but to end up with a jump off to decide the winner was intense. As if all of that wasn’t enough, it all came down to the last horse and rider McClain Ward and Clinta. When they walked in the ring it was so quiet you probably could have heard a pin drop in that fancy synthetic footing. I’m pretty sure everybody was holding their breath, I know I was. To be so close, close enough to see the expression on the rider’s face or to be able to see the subtle aids that it takes to get the job done, that is a memory I will not soon forget.
My name is Madelyn Sano, and my experience at the 2018 Zone 2 Hunter Finals was the biggest, and most competitive final I have ever been to. I am 18 years old, and I ride out of Hunter Way Farm with Tracy James-Pedersen. I ride a lovely KWPN mare named, Mahogany aka Hogs and this is our second year as a team. Hogs is always the life of the party and has one of the most prominent personalities that I’ve seen in a horse. Her favorite treats are peppermints and dinner is her favorite time of day. As for me, I am from Clifton Park, New York, and I am currently taking a gap-semester from school and will be beginning college in the spring.
The horse show I recently attended was Zone 2 Hunter Finals. It was my second year competing at this horse show and venue, and I had a great experience both times. This show was on October 21, 2018, and was located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This show is very different than the other shows that Hogs and I show at because we don’t usually show in a colosseum, but this venue was beautiful. At the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, they have two warm-up arenas and one main show area. As for the stalls, they were just a few steps away from the gate. Per usual, the footing was exceptional. It was soft, fluffy, and not too deep─it was perfect for Hogs. The crew and management were helpful, efficient, and made the show run right on track. Unfortunately the division I show in, Children's Hunter Horses 15-17, was the last division of the day and although I hacked in the show ring at 5:45 that morning, I didn’t end up showing until 7:00 pm. I ended up walking away with two eighth places over fences, and we took the win in the hack!
This horse was not a show where you could just show up at, I had to qualify for it, which was very hard. Qualifying for this final took months and months of horse showing, and I ended up sixth on the qualifying list, and they accept 16 riders. I had to attend A circuit horse shows such as HITS, Vermont Summer Festival, and many others to get the points I needed to qualify. I think I was as prepared as I could be for this show because I have a lot of experience in the Children’s Hunters, but of course, I was very nervous to show against the best horses and riders in the zone. In order to keep my nerves under control, I try to keep my show routine low stressed and straightforward because I tend to get stressed out and nervous before showing. Luckily I had my fantastic groom for the weekend, Brianna Pedersen to help me and get Hogs bathed and prepped for my classes. Aside from the actual showing, I enjoyed watching the other classes, including the Grand Prix on Saturday night. It had riders such as, Mclain Ward, Lillie Keenan, Beezie Madden, and many other incredible riders that I look up to. This was probably the best part of the show.
I had an amazing experience at Zone 2 Hunter Finals and it’s a show I hope to return to. Since I will be starting college soon, this also means that my junior career is coming to an end. Competing in junior divisions has been so incredibly fun and rewarding, but I think I’m ready to jump into the world of amateurs! Unfortunately, this is the last horse show of the season for me, but I hope to travel to horse shows throughout the winter with my new status.
Green Mountain Horse Association Horse Show Review
Recently I’ve found myself an empty nester as both daughters are off to college, leaving me more time for my third equine child and I to spend showing. By day I work in marketing at GTM Payroll Services, which funds my equine habit. My mare, Lucy, and I fall into the “aged” category. She has much more experience and knowledge than I do. May, 2017 was the first time I showed at the Saratoga Springs Horse Show (and possibly the last). It was a positive experience that got me thinking about trying another multi-day show. The hole in the May 2018 calendar prompted some searching for new venues to start off the outdoor season. Quiet Run ventured to South Woodstock, VT for the GMHA (Green Mountain Horse Association) Spring Hunter Jumper show. This show offered a range of classes from pleasure classes to jumpers.
The show is just a few miles south of Woodstock, VT nestled in a valley complete with a running stream, beautiful views and a quiet road free from busy auto traffic. There are many options for housing close by with Woodstock, VT - a quintessential New England town complete with town green and historic buildings - offering the most. The grounds for the GMHA are excellent. There are 6 permanent barns with stall doors and matted floors as well as an overhang to keep dry. They even provide wheel barrows on the premises to use. In addition to hunters/jumpers, the facility also hosts dressage, eventing, competitive trail riding and driving. There are two main show rings with a large warm-up ring between the two. For one of the show rings you can cross a stream from the warm-up ring or take the longer walk around if your horse isn’t water friendly. Footing in the rings was excellent and held up well in the rain. It’s a European geo-textile footing. There is also a third ring where the derbies were held which included some of the eventing fences. You won’t find cell phone coverage on the grounds except in one of the buildings. Plus or a minus depending on your point of view. Most important, there is a permanent snack bar building with plenty of food options.
What I like about showing is the opportunity to put my best effort together with my horse’s. That is what makes riding interesting to me – there are two of us in it together trying to merge as one. Some days that works out better than others. At the GMHA I had a lovely ride in one ring for the modified adult equitation. The highlight was that we were consistent for the division (a rare event in my world) and were awarded a reserve champion. Moving to the special hunters on the same day in a different ring was a different story. Lucy decided that this ring provided the perfect venue to stretch out and run. It was a good reminder lesson that horses can change from trip to trip and you need to adjust to that. I find that bad experiences can also help build confidence. I survived to ride another day. We are headed back to GMHA and I hope to conquer the ring of terror this time.