By Kelly Sheehan
A consistent temperament and predictable responses are attributes that make green, off-the-track Thoroughbreds bloom. They are also keys to success when working with novice riders. Georgie Lewis enjoys working with both specialty populations.
“I really make an effort when I am riding and teaching to have control of my temper. I try to stay calm and sit quiet when I ride and I guess that follows through into my teaching,” Lewis, Scottsdale, Ariz., notes.
She enjoys working with both horses and humans, and her accomplishments highlight the fact that she is willing to put in the work to build success. “I’m good at finding diamonds in the rough,” Lewis says.
Lewis identifies her success with turning green Thoroughbreds into successful show horses. One of Lewis’s biggest milestones was competing this year at Thermal with her two Thoroughbreds: Snowball and Pistol Annie. Snowball competed in the 1.15-meter jumpers after a lengthy road.
“I bought him in 2012 and he was very green. I started him in the baby green hunters and slowly moved him up the levels. To have success with him in the 1.15-meter jumpers at Thermal made me so proud of him and how far he had come,” Lewis shared.
Her other successful mount at Thermal, Pistol Annie, was purchased as a 3-year-old, and “didn’t know much of anything,” as Lewis says. “She is now doing the 1.00-meter jumpers and is one of the bravest horses I have ever ridden. Knowing that I taught her everything she knows is really a great feeling.”
Lewis is also quick to recognize the progress made by her students saying, “Most of my students were very beginner when they started with me and now they are earning top placings at rated shows.” Lewis feels it is important to work within a client’s budget, as much as possible, to find a horse that can not only help her clients be successful, but also, enjoy their time with horses. To encourage this enjoyment and the development of her riders, Lewis offers not only a full training program, but also lesson packages.
Her own work ethic is another of her personal attributes that she attempts to impart to her riders through “good old fashioned horsemanship,” as she puts it. Her young riders are responsible for their own grooming, both at home and at the shows. Lewis feels that it is important for children and youth to learn about horses, rather than limiting their knowledge to only riding skills, which makes sense given her own history. Lewis’s mother is a trainer, and Lewis has ridden horses for as long as she can remember. She considers it a blessing that she is able to do what she loves for a living and that she can spend every day with horses.
Following her graduation from Arizona State University in 2009, Lewis spent 2 1/2 years working for Morgan and Nora Thomas, who were based in Minnesota and Florida at the time. In 2012, she moved back to Arizona to re-establish Dapple Gray Farm, which was originally started by her mother 30 years ago. They show primarily on the West coast. This year, they showed at Thermal and plan to show in Las Vegas in May, as well as Del Mar, Calif., in July. During the fall and winter, they show primarily in Scottsdale and Tucson, Ariz.
Of her work, Lewis says, “I love that I every day I have the opportunity to learn something new.”