Dear Juniors: Advice from Almost Amateurs, With Love


As TPH interns and ambassadors countdown their final days as a junior and prepare for their next exciting chapter as amateurs, they take time to share advice to young horsemen. Even though they haven’t been riding as long as the veterans of our sport, these graduating junior riders have important things to say to today’s youth.

Photo courtesy of Annie Birmingham.

Annie Birmingham

Regardless of how many junior years you have left, enjoy every single moment you can with your horse and to take every opportunity that’s thrown your way. Enjoy each and every moment you get to spend in the barn because, at the end of the day, it’s not the ribbons but the memories that matter most.

Photo by Javen Dalman.

Vyla Carter

The most important thing that I came to learn was not to ride for ribbons, but make sure you are actually having fun. If you find yourself in a rut, try a new division or show in something different at a show. Recently I switched to jumpers, after finding myself somewhat bored with the hunters, and even though I’ve fallen off more in the span of several months than I ever did before, I am having a blast. Take advantage of every moment you have in the saddle and around horses. Appreciate everything you have at the moment and as the clock ticks down on your junior career remember your riding career doesn’t end when you become an amateur.

TPH Intern Izzy Feinstein pictured with her trainer, Libby Dayton, and horse, She’s The One, at HITS Saugerties Photo by Allison Harrison.

Izzy Feinstein

The best advice I could give to younger juniors is to enjoy every minute of every horse show you attend. Whether you leave the ring with a grand champion or no ribbon at all, celebrate the small victories just as much as the large ones. Make sure you treat each time you are in the ring with good sportsmanship, grace and humility. Enjoy the time you get to spend with your horse, friends, and trainers.

Amedeo and Julia after a clean round at the Sonoma Horse Park! Photo courtesy of Julia Fischer.

Julia Fischer

Don’t be afraid to be yourself and take your own path. As a young rider, I know you probably have goals you want to accomplish as quickly as possible, but don’t be afraid to take your time with them. Don’t always have your focus be on the next horse show, just enjoy the time you have with your horse.

Estelle Kraft piloted around the pony ring at Lamplight Equestrian Center by Helicon’s Bright’N Breezy. Photo courtesy of Estelle Kraft.

Estelle Kraft

I’ll say it in the simplest way possible, take advantage of being at the horse shows you attend. Between the different people that you could meet and the different techniques you can learn, the possibilities are endless. Watching and listening to different trainers in the warm-up ring is one of my favorite things to do because you can learn so much even though it may not directly apply to you in the current moment. Spend as much time as you can at shows because you never know who you’ll meet or what path they may lead you on.

Lanie Walkenbach and Blue Water in their first ASPCA Maclay Medal. Photo by Captured Moment Photography.

Lanie Walkenbach

Simply put, enjoy every minute of your junior career. It is absolutely crazy how fast time flies; therefore, it is important that we remember the moments that truly matter. Yes, winning is always nice, but it is also important to remember every round you are proud of despite where you end up in the ribbons.

As your junior years wind down the TPH team encourages you to enjoy every moment of them, but that doesn’t mean that your amateur years won’t be as (or even more) fun! Good luck this show season, and remember, to cherish each and every moment that you are a part of this sport.