By Mackenzie Shuman / Photos of Jaden Olson taken at Summer in the Rockies 2016 and Colorado Spring Preview 2017
Jaden Olson stepped into the arena at the world-class Jim Brandon Equestrian Center in Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 15-17 during the College Preparatory Invitational on an unknown horse with nothing on her mind except her job ahead. A seasoned rider, Olson has ridden many summers on the A/AA show circuit as well as had IEA experience. Her goal going to CPI was to gain knowledge of what it is like to ride in college. As a bonus, riders at CPI get exposure from prestigious college reps looking for the next generation of talented college athletes.
To prepare for this unique experience, Olson took lessons with trainer Michael Dennehy. “In my lessons, some of the things we worked on were creating an effective equitation position, proper riding motions, and how to tactfully ask the horse for certain commands,” she said.
These lessons helped Olson build a foundation so that she felt comfortable catch riding for others, and they also made her able to carry her solid equitation on every horse she rode, an important quality to have at CPI since she would be riding an unknown horse.
During the competition, Olson was assigned a horse named Eddie for the flat. Provided by Wall Street Farm of Wellington, Olson could tell he was definitely an experienced horse.
“On the flat we were asked for many extension and collection exercises and to drop our stirrups, and Eddie handled all of these tests very well,” she said, speaking very highly of the horse.
Her other horse for the over fences portion was also a good ride. El Chorro, also provided by Wall Street Farm, needed a confident rider, and that’s exactly how Olson rode him. She chose the more forward ride through the bending line, kept him calm during the halt, and also got him over the trot fence with no difficulties.
“I was very happy with my horses, and how we were able to work together to achieve success,” she said, noting that there was efficient management, a kind staff, and an excellent location. Olson said that she made the choice to attend the Florida location of CPI over the California option—to take place March 11-13—because Florida had more colleges featured during the college fair.
After returning home from this event with a first place ribbon in the advanced flat and a second in the advanced over fences, Olson said she will look forward to the chance to ride at the 2017 version of CPI.
“Overall, I found this event to be very valuable because I was able to learn a lot about the collegiate riding options and also get a feel of what it would be like to participate in college riding,” she summed up.