BY INTERN IZZY FEINSTEIN
Every equestrian has mounted a horse for the very first time, and struggled to lift themselves out of the saddle while learning to post at the walk. Even Olympians and other accomplished riders such as McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Georgina Bloomberg, and Taylor St. Jacques once botched distances to crossrails and jumped at the chance to school the misbehaved lesson ponies.
We all start from the same place, but how do we inspire the next generation to continue with this sport? How do we set up our future Olympians, veterinarians, and equine journalists for success? What are the opportunities available to young riders to help them gain tools to not just thrive in this sport, but in the rest of their lives?
Leading members of the equestrian industry such as Daniel Bluman of Bluman Equestrian, Dr. Piper Klemm of The Plaid Horse Magazine, Averill Pessin of My Barn Child, the staff of the USHJA Foundation, are just a few professional riders and business owners working to inspire the next generation of riders and leaders.
Bluman’s Ride The Future is an equestrian mentorship program for young equestrians ages 15-25. Riders will be paired with a professional in their geographic region such as Sandra Dalman, Andrew Welles, Andy Kocher, and Lucy Davis, and will be assigned tasks other than riding such as clipping, feeding. They will have the opportunity for training and learning opportunities. For middle-class equestrians, this opportunity will provide them with the opportunity to train with some of the top riders in the sport without a large financial burden.
Dr. Piper Klemm and the team at The Plaid Horse Magazine offer junior and amateur equestrians a behind the scenes look at the print and online publication industry through their highly-praised intern and ambassador programs. With opportunities including submitting pieces of writing and photographs for the print publication and online platforms and assisting with posting on social media accounts, The Plaid Horse Magazine’s intern and ambassador program is unlike any other.
Averill Pessin of My Barn Child has created one of the most sought-after junior ambassador programs in the industry. The My Barn Child Ambassador Academy trains their ambassadors to “always be kind to others and rep [the] brand with swag.” Complete with their own Instagram page, My Barn Child brand ambassadors are always professional, thoughtful, and of course — love ponies.
Kate Cattani, Kirstie Dobbs, Sissy Wickes, Debbie Bass, and Marnye Langer of the USHJA Foundation are the fearless leaders of the Foundation’s Youth Ad-Hoc Committee. The Committee is made up of junior equestrians who are passionate about helping others and making a difference in the equestrian community through raising awareness of the programs and grants offered by the USHJA Foundation. From horseless horse shows to bake sales, Youth Committee members constantly come up with fun, engaging activities to raise community and financial support for the USHJA Foundation. Being a member of the USHJA Foundation’s Youth Ad-Hoc Committee provides young equestrians opportunities to learn about event planning, fundraising, social media management, communication, teamwork, and the importance of giving back.
So on question of how to build the next generation of equestrians — a word of advice: get involved. Try something new and outside of your comfort limits- you may be surprised where it takes you.