BY SISSY WICKES
“We call it a club for a reason,” explains Celia Bunge, owner of the Miami International Riding Club. “We welcome everyone and hope they will stay and feel at home.” Celia and her daughter, Daniela, own and operate the largest hunter/jumper barn in the Miami area. Situated on ten acres with 55 stalls, the facility is home to a variety of horses and riders. While MIRC focuses mostly on the showjumping discipline, they offer instruction in hunters, jumpers, and dressage.
Celia and Daniela bring years of experience to MIRC from all areas of the world. Celia grew up in Mexico and learned from the best of a long tradition of international horsemen, including the President of the Equestrian Federation of Mexico. At 26, Daniela is a talented rider and instructor who has been involved with horses all of her life. Even as a junior, she was asked to train, teach, and ride for others. Celia states, “People have always wanted to work with Daniela. She is very good. ”
To augment her knowledge and exposure, Daniela spent six months in Europe from Spain to Germany, learning to hone her riding skills. She returned to the United States armed with a greater understanding of teaching styles, training techniques, and a better foundation in dressage. Celia explains, “European training involves cross training in all disciplines from jumpers to dressage. The flat work for jumpers is very dressage oriented and is essential to training. It is an important element to our program at MIRC. ”
The Miami International Riding Club participates in horse shows throughout the south from local to premier ratings, with HITS Ocala being one of their favorite destinations. While MIRC is oriented toward the competitive rider, they offer programs for all levels and degrees of commitment. Their lesson program and summer camp are designed to teach both riding and horsemanship skills. Kids and adults of all ages and aspirations can find a niche at MIRC.
While the Bunges are aware of the time constraints of many riders, they feel that horsemanship is an essential component to riding. “People need to know how to do things,” Celia explains. “Too many people are just riders and do not understand basic care and horsemanship which are part of any rider’s education.” MIRC offers limited care as their basic board and feed, muck, and turn out the horses. Tack up and grooming are the clients’ responsibility.
Miami International Riding Club is a friendly, family oriented riding facility aimed toward the competitive rider. They offer clinics from experts in several disciplines including FEI Dressage rider Natalia Martin and hunter/jumper/equitation trainer Holly Hugo-Vidal. Yet, fun is a large component of the day there. Riders of all ages, including students from Florida International University and students visiting from abroad, enjoy the bright atmosphere of the club. MIRC’s international program has welcomed students from many different countries such as France, Colombia, Brazil, China, Canada, and Mexico.
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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