My daughter Lauren has had some opportunities throughout 2016 to ride up a level and ride some amazing horses. As 2017 starts, she finds herself in Wellington, Florida at the most favored of all winter Hunter Jumper shows for the US. Through some amazing acts of kindness, extreme budgeting and good fortune, Lauren will be in Wellington showing at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) for six weeks.
WEF has traditionally been the winter home to many of the sport’s top riders. Lauren has already spotted, and gotten to observe in person, several of the world’s Olympic riders. I mean, really, winters in south Florida versus whatever spot north of there that you are from-WEF is the clear winner. Looks pretty amazing.
Interestingly, Lauren was born about 100 miles straight north of the show grounds. She is definitely a Florida girl. As a kid, she followed Ally and I to the Palm Beach Winter shows each year.
Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined Lauren coursing over the big jumps on an imported horse. Lauren was busy jumping anything and everything she could with her first horse Thunder. He was an almost 17 hand gelding-I know what five year old kid gets that as their first horse?
She even struck the imagination and interest of a news photographer who was covering a different story. His attention diverted by the little blonde girl jumping the big horse. Anyway, the heart of that little girl is quite evident is this determined young lady!
Standing at the in-gate last week, teen phenom rider Tori Colvin, inquired of Lauren if she knew the course and the distances for the next class. Indeed, she did! Lauren was happy to share those with her new acquaintance. Wow, what a moment.
Entering the big and beautiful Wellington ring for the first time was a little daunting I understand. But each trip has been a little better than the last, so progress is being made.
Her ride for this trip to show jumping’s Magic Kingdom is a 15 year old imported German Hanoverian warmblood officially named Stanislaus but affectionately known as Ky. He is a super horse with incredible talent, a knowing demenoir, heart of gold. and a love of bananas (not kidding!). Ky has literally shown from coast to coast in the US. A couple of palms trees, massive jumps and loud crowds effect him not in the least.
Owned by friend, Caitlyn Epperson, he was a perfect guide for Lauren to get a taste of what it means to ride the “big leagues” of US show jumping.
I am hopeful that this is the start of increased opportunities to showcase what I believe is Lauren’s natural talent as a fourth generation equestrian. But I think she will (or has) already surpassed her noble ancestors.
And if Ky is the best horse she will ever ride, that is okay as well. He is superb!
Still, I heard a learned clician stating that no matter how good a horse is, it will take a couple years on that horse to truly develop the best parternship. Lauren and Ky are making enroads each day against the top competitors and best horses in the US. But they can still do better.
Lauren is having the opportunity of a lifetime, living the life of a top equestrian. Thank you to Trapp and those that have deeply believed in her and supported this journey. To Lauren I say, as I always have from her first show, God Speed little girl!!
Thank you for riding along.