My name is Mavis Spencer, I’m 24 years old and I work for Neil Jones Equestrian
I started riding when I was 5 in California with Dick Carvin, Susie Schroer, and Francie Steinwedell-Carvin. With them I went to Prix Des States in 2008 and won the silver medal team and individually, and also won the William C. Steinkraus Style of Riding Award before being selected to represent the US at the 2009 Youth Olympic Festival in Australia.
I spent my first few years out of the junior ranks working and riding for Kent Farrington before moving on to grooming and managing for Darragh Kenny when he first set Oakland Ventures. After WEF 2014 I took a job in Europe grooming for Neil Jones’ rider at the time, Lorenzo de Luca. We did a summer and fall of amazing 4-star and 5-star shows across Europe which ended with us being selected to jump in Normandy at the World Equestrain Games!
While competing there, Lorenzo sustained an injury and Neil asked if I would ride a few of his horses while he was recovering. Having been out of the saddle and show ring for nearly 3 years, this was a very intimidating offer but with Neil and Lorenzo’s help it wasn’t long before I jumped my first small international show in Belgium. I ended up coming out to Florida last winter with 15 sales horses for myself, and the rest is kind of history!
I spent several months after WEF working for the Moffitt family in England bringing along their young horses and training with Nick Skelton and Laura Kraut, but I soon realized that I missed my ‘family’ at Neil Jones Equestrian, and returned to work for Neil. I now have 18 horses in Wellington ranging from 5-year-old hunters to developing grand prix horses, two other riders I work alongside, and a full sales operation to run!
A few years ago I wouldn’t have imagined being where I am today. I consider myself very lucky to have been at the right place at the right time, but I like to think I also put in a lot of hard work along the way. Come the end of WEF I won’t be returning to Europe like usual Instead I’ll be heading to Kentucky with a group of horses and starting the American branch of Neil Jones Equestrian. While I’m very nervous about this new venture, I’m very lucky to have my good friend and grand prix rider Denise Wilson of Blue Gate Farm joining me! The plan is to have anywhere from 12-15 horses to develop, campaign, and ultimately sell. We also have a two clients who will be joining us for the summer and are looking to take on a few more. While the whole thing is slightly nerve-wracking being so young, I have a great team of people behind me from staff, owners, clients, and of course horses!
Follow along Mavis’ journey with The Plaid Horse as she sets up a brand new location in the heart of the Bluegrass!