My name is Liv and I’m a 15 year old equestrian on the East Coast who loves every aspect of the equestrian world. The absolute love of my life is my 6 year old Dutch Warmblood, Just Tornesch (we call him JT). I got him towards the end of January 2020 and have worked all year to train him, expose him to showing and move him up to the 3ft divisions. We also have another horse named Floyd, who is my sister’s 15 year old Belgian Warmblood. We spend a lot of time at the barn and horse shows and I’m eager to share my experiences with you. From describing my favorite hack routines, to trying new and upcoming brands, to planning home workouts that compliment my riding, I will share it all.
I started riding about 9 years ago at a small farm in upstate New York. There, I learned the fundamentals of riding and how to be a great horsewoman. I would spend hours helping clean the barn, feeding the ponies, working with the young foals, and of course, riding. We didn’t show a lot, but I gained a great foundation in a span of 3 years. I then ventured off to another farm in upstate New York where I began jumping higher, showing more and building my experience as I stepped off of ponies and onto horses. I swear my family never saw me on weekends as I spent hours at the barn mucking stalls, turning horses out, and basically anything else that kept me at the farm.
After 5 years of riding, my family moved to Massachusetts, just south of Boston. I began riding at a show barn where I met one of the best horses in the world, my first lease horse, Leo. Leo truly made me understand why I wanted to ride, for the love of the horse. I would have to get to the barn extra early for a lesson because of how long I wanted to brush him and spend time with him after a long school day. I started showing Leo in the 2ft division in the beginning of March 2017 and by the end of the summer I was already showing 2’6”. Throughout the summer, I spent most of my days in the saddle, gearing up for different horse shows or goofing around with friends. Normally, I would have a couple of extra horses to ride throughout the summer, because their owners were on vacation, which grew my understanding that no 2 horses are the same. By 2018, I was competing in the 2’6” mini medals and the children’s hunter horse divisions. I’m a fairly competitive person, so horse shows are right up my alley. I’m not one to think “I need to beat this person or that person,” but I will definitely beat myself up over a missed distance or an overall bad round.
When finals season came along in 2018, I felt prepared and competitive. My absolute biggest accomplishment was my first final of the year, MHJ finals. I ended up scoring an 88 in the first round and getting called back to the flat test, taking the champion ribbon. It was my biggest win yet and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to enjoy the victory lap with.
Roshambo aka Leo
After finals season, I was able to move up to the junior medals for a few shows with Leo before shows officially ended. I ended up qualifying for 2 out of the 3 finals that I was aiming for that year. My sister, Natalie, began leasing Leo, competing with him in the short stirrup division. In February of 2019 I welcomed McIlroy (aka Rory) to the family. Rory was my equitation horse and I did the 3ft-3’3” medals on. We spend our summers in Cape Cod so both Leo and Rory came with us. I rode him 5-6 days a week and focused on building our relationship with horsemanship exercises (using Pat Parelli’s method), trail rides, and of course tons of photo shoots! In January of 2020, we imported JT. We got JT as an equitation and hunter horse prospect and he has absolutely exceeded all of our expectations so far. It has been so fun and rewarding to work with a young horse. JT finished off the 2020 show season with a win in our 3ft debut and is ready to make his junior equitation and hunter debut next show season. Mid-2020 we made the difficult choice to sell Rory so I could focus on JT. He is with a great family and I’m sure I will see him on the competition circuit.
As a sophomore in high school (currently remote due to Covid-19), riding 6 times a week, trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle, get good grades, and have a social life, it can be hard to balance it all. I want to use this blog to share my opinions on the best tools and resources I use to help me prioritize my commitments and squeeze in some extra free-time for myself too! One of my biggest strategies is to maximize the little chunks of time throughout the day that can be easily wasted: using time in the car on the way to the barn to do a little extra homework, or trying to find small breaks in your day to get a quick workout in. Sometimes even a 20-minute workout in the day can help improve your strength even when you have little time.
That’s most of my life (in somewhat of a nutshell)! I hope you guys like this blog, I’m excited to share my journey with you and have the opportunity to develop a community where we can all learn from each other as we navigate school and riding, friends and family.