By Sydney Lowe
The equestrian world is competitive across the globe. The United States is no different, especially the West Coast. The West Coast horse world is unique. Here in California, specifically at Blenheim, the Pony Division is no exception. Both riders and ponies have interesting histories that lead them to the West Coast horse show ring.
Riders are all unique and come from all different walks of life and all corners of the country. Here at Blenheim, pony riders include Augusta Iwasaki, Stella Wasserman, Shiloh Roseboom (CLICK HERE to see her on the March 2015 cover of The Plaid Horse!), and Juliette Joseph. All four are fantastic riders and unique in their own way. Juliette Joseph is no exception. The reasons she rides and shows are what make the sport of equestrian valuable. “Every time I ride a pony, it is to make them and myself better,” Joseph explained. Juliette doesn’t care what ribbon she gets or if she even places. She wants to better the pony or horse and herself. That is what this sport is about; being happy with your rides and the impact you have made on the pony or horse, rather than making sure you get handed that blue ribbon. She went on to talk about the reasons trainers ask her to catch ride. “I have the ability to get a quick feel and I have been taught to be soft with my hands,” Joseph states. Acquiring the skill to get on a horse and figure it out within a few jumps is one that all riders strive to find. Joseph is one extremely lucky girl to have that talent at such a young age. She is not the only pony rider at Blenheim to have that skill. Wasserman, Iwasaki, and Roseboom are all examples as well. The riders at Blenheim are getting that sixth sense of being able to ride most types of ponies and horses. Blenheim is giving young riders a place to compete and develop what it takes to become the best riders in the country.
Blenheim not only allows riders of all kinds to develop, they allow ponies of all different backgrounds to compete and gain show miles. Green ponies, experienced ponies, the been-there done-that pony, and every other pony there is. Blenheim has an amazing facility built at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park that allows all type of ponies a chance for show miles. Juliette Joseph has had one special pony story that is being continued at Blenheim. Cavour is a pony in training with Archie Cox. On the night before the show during the first week at HITS Thermal, he asked Joseph if she would like to show him in the Green Pony Hunter division. Joseph agreed and now has been catch riding the pony since. She rode him in the Pony Hunter Derby at Blenheim’s Red, White, and Blue show this past month and won! “He is so willing to please. He tries so hard all the time,” Joseph said, “He was taken out of a field after living there for a year and I just had to help him with things like looking for a jump, carrying a good pace for the hunter ring, and allowing him to be confident.” Stories like this are typical of Blenheim. It is a place to take ponies to gain the miles and confidence to make-up the amazing pony that we all want to buy.
The way horses and riders evolve at Blenheim are what makes it the place to show in Southern California. The Pony Hunter division is just one example of the many classes offered. The West Coast is a unique place to show and offers many opportunities and first rate facilities.