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In the Ring with Eleanor Rudnicki

Meet Eleanor Rudnicki, for years she has been the one to watch as she shined through her junior career, and still as an amateur she continues to add wins and tri-colors to her resume in some of the most competitive divisions and classes on the A circuit. The Auburn commit has an extensive record, which includes a recent win in the World Equestrian Center Equitation Cup, second at Maclay Finals, Washington International Equitation Finals and the Winter Equestrian Festival Equitation Championship, third place finisher in the USEF Dover Medal Finals, sixth at the USET Finals, Champion in the Junior Hunter division at the National Horse Show, and Grand Champion at Junior Hunter Finals West. Now, let’s hear a little more about how she came to be such an icon in the equitation, and hunter rings.

How did you begin riding? Was it always riding from the start?

I tried many sports and had a long list of hobbies growing up, but nothing stuck until I started taking riding lessons at a local barn. My mom rode as a teenager and knew how difficult it could be, so she was hesitant to let me take lessons. After a year of me convincing her, I finally got in the saddle.

What has your experience been catch-riding throughout your junior career and into your amateur career?

I am so very lucky that I had great horses to ride throughout my junior career and through the beginning of my amateur career. Since I was about 13, I haven’t had a horse to consistently ride and show so I relied on Berry Porter, who allowed and gave me the opportunity to ride and show different sales horses and his personal horses. After some success in the ring and building connections with various people, I began to receive more opportunities to catch ride 

The Chronicle of the Horse: Travis at Dover/USEF Medal Finals

As a competitive 3-ring rider, do you have a favorite ring to compete in? 

While I always enjoy jumper and hunter rings, I love the complexity of the equitation ring.

What sets you up for so much success in the show ring? Is there anything you do at home that sets you apart?  

We do a lot of very difficult, almost impossible, technical equitation courses at home which make the courses at the horse show seem much easier. 

How do you ride differently from ring to ring?

On both hunters and equitation horses, I like to ride on a gallop and create good jumps out of the horse. Equitation courses tend to require a little more connection from the rider as the jumps come up much quicker than the hunters

You are fresh off a win in the WEC Premier Cup! What was that experience like? 

It was such a great experience competing in the WEC Premier Cup in Ocala. I love the atmosphere of equitation finals, and I generally ride better under pressure which comes in handy. I was on top after all three rounds, so I was just trying to stay up there by putting in smooth and competitive rounds. 

Jess Windhurst : Knowingly in the Sm Jrs at NHS

What horse has been most influential for you so far?

The most influential horse for me was Travis. I showed him for about a year in the equitation and had a fantastic finals season with him in 2021. He tried to win every single round and he gave me so much confidence and knowledge in the show ring

What is the best advice you’ve received?  

“Don’t chip.” - Berry Porter  

Was there a moment, victory, or other success in riding that was a pivotal factor to where you are now? 

Winning the THIS children’s medal finals in 2019 at Capital Challenge was a pivotal moment for me because it made me feel I could do well in the equitation, and it caused me to set my goals towards the 3’6” equitation finals. 

Shawn McMillen : Kosher at WIHS Finals

What are you most looking forward to as you begin your NCEA journey at Auburn? 

I am really looking forward to a slight change of pace and trying out something new by riding on a team.

🔥Rapid Fire 🔥

3 things you can always find with you at horse shows 

Boot polish, 72 hr men’s deodorant spray, safety pins 

Favorite thing to do outside of riding?

Puzzles/ spending downtime with friends  

Sweet or Savory?



One show that is on your dream horse show list? 

LGCT Monaco 

Biggest pet peeve in riding? 

Horses or riders that aren’t turned out well. 


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