By Sissy Wickes
California catch riding phenom Juliette Joseph heads east this week to contest the THIS Medal Finals held at The Capital Challenge Horse Show in Upper Marlboro, MD. The thirteen- year- old will ride in her first national equitation final aboard trainer Robyn Stiegler’s Vigo.
Joseph claims that she is “not nervous, but excited” to compete in the hotly contested 3’ equitation class.
Joseph began riding at six years old on a friend’s horse at a western barn near her home in San Diego, CA. Soon, she proclaimed that she wanted to do hunter and jumpers and rode her first pony. As her mother, Rachel Joseph, proclaims, “She had bravery for miles. She jumped very high, very fast.”
Now one of the most prolific junior riders in California, Joseph rides ponies and horses for a myriad of top trainers including Carleton Brooks, Archie Cox, Robyn Stiegler, Emily Esau, Tasha Visokay, Liz Reilly, Karen Healy, and Nick Haness. She is home schooled and spends six days a week riding any animal presented to her. Joseph is humble and appreciative of the generosity availed to her by her trainers.
Her work ethic and good sportsmanship is well known as she will accept any task asked of her, no matter how tedious. Joseph has had horse show days that begin at 7AM and end with her last ride at 7:30PM. She is indefatigable and hungry for the next challenge.
“I love catch riding because every ride makes me better. I try to make [the horse] the best it can be and make me that best that I can be,” Joseph said. Joseph will contest both the THIS Equitation Finals and the Maclay Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park this year under the tutelage of trainer Robyn Stiegler. At 13, she already has a plan for her riding career. “My dream is to win all of the Equitation Finals, then the Derby Finals, and then move up to Grand Prix,” Joseph said with a giggle. A small rider with big dreams, Juliette Joseph is ready to work her way to the top.
“I am so thankful and filled with gratitude for the generosity that Robyn and Demi Stiegler have shown me over this year. I appreciate their time love and care more then I could ever repay. Thank you for allowing me to ride their amazing horse Vigo and for all the love, effort, and time they have put into me. Thank you to Tate and Cindy Batetta for allowing me to ride their wonderful horse Goldfish.
All my love, Juliette.”
Food: Any kind of soup
TV Show: Modern Family
Horse Show: Middleburg Classic
Role Model: Nick Haness, Robyn Stiegler and Demi Stiegler of Citrus Hill Farm.
Idols: Lillie Keenan, Beezie Madden, Richard Spooner
About the Author: Sissy is a Princeton University graduate, a lifelong rider and trainer, a USEF R rated judge, a freelance journalist and an autism advocate. Her illustrious resume includes extensive show hunter and jumper experience. She lives with her family in Unionville, PA and Wellington, FL.
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