Julie Pickering Equestrian Off to Shining Start at 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival

Arendelle with owner Anna Pemble and trainer Julie Pickering - Champion in the 3’3” Performance Hunters

Julie Pickering Equestrian is off to an exceptional start to the Winter Equestrian Festival 2021 season. Searchlight, owned by Ella Thomas of Leawood, Kansas, showed to top ribbons in the 3’6” Green Hunters with Julie Pickering and the 3’3” Small Junior Hunters with Thomas. While only seven years old, the Zangersheide gelding (Nixon x Hipolyte), knows his job and the program well. 

Julie Pickering and Ella Thomas’ Searchlight in 3’6” Green Hunters. Watch their Handy Hunter ride here.

“We got him as a five year old and brought him along – he has a great canter and is easy to find the jumps on. Traditionally, you don’t buy such a young horse for a junior rider, but he’s so brave and just clicked with Ella. They did the Children’s Hunters together and then moved up to the 3’3” Junior Hunters last year,” said Pickering. 

“He absolutely loves WEF – he gets lots of daily turnout at our farm and he enjoys the warm weather. Last year, he did the Young Hunters here, so it’s been exciting to bring him up through the divisions. He’s a ham – he loves attention and keeps rising to the occasion on a bigger and bigger stage,” Pickering continued. 

Ella Thomas and Searchlight in the 3’3” Small Junior Hunter division

Thomas recently moved into the jumper ring for the first time with her new lease horse Grandis Van T Heikie. Together, they have earned ribbons in WEF’s huge Low Children’s Jumper classes.

Ella Thomas and Grandis Van T Heikie

Arendelle earned the championship in the 3’3” Performance Hunters with Julie Pickering during Week V.. The 11-year-old chestnut mare (Arko III x Anoek) also shows with owner Anna Pemble, who won the 3’3” Junior Hunter 16-17 Under Saddle together Week IV. 

“She has been a complete unicorn for us. When I jumped the first jump in each round this week, I knew we were going to have great trips – she just looks through the bridle on course and hones in on the jump. To compete and win at a venue like WEF against so many top professionals – it’s amazing, I still feel like an up-and-coming trainer,” said Pickering. 

Arendelle and Anna Pemble

“Aerin” is another mainstay at Julie Pickering Equestrian – she has partnered with owner Anna Pemble for the last four years. A junior in high school, Pemble balances barn time with a rigorous academic schedule. She competes in the hunters and jumpers and also won with Boardwalk in the Older Children’s Hunters and top ribbons with FVF Brulee in the Low Children’s Jumpers. 

“Anna has been riding with us since she did cross rails. Horses love her and she works very hard to be competitive. She and Aerin qualified for Junior Hunter Finals and we went to Michigan last summer, which is a goal for the pair again this year. It’s been fun to have a nice enough hunter to reach any goals we might have nationally,” said Pickering. 

Not to be outdone, Anna’s mother Jackie Pemble has been putting her own blues on the JPE banner. Excited to experience in her daughter’s hobby, Jackie picked up riding for the first time as an adult alongside Anna, discovering that the whole family had the equestrian passion. She has brought home many wins in the Rusty Stirrup division this season. 

“Candelos is your typical laid-back warmblood gelding – he is very quiet. Jackie is really starting to click with his style and they’re still getting to know each other and WEF has been amazing for this partnership to gel and become competitive. I have so much respect for adults who take on the challenge of our sport and work their way up to success. Candelos is her second horse and I could not be more proud of the success she has earned,” said Pickering.

Anna Pemble, Jackie Pemble and Candelos

Ava Hernandez recently moved up to the Low Junior Jumpers with her Cupid Shuffle, earning ribbons throughout her transition. The high school senior contested WEF last year in the Children’s Jumpers and have continued their progress over the last year into the Modifieds and now the Junior Jumpers. 

“Cupid is an experienced jumper, he has done some grand prix classes [with Michael Tokaruk] – we’re really glad to have him and all his experience. He understands the sport – always ready for the first round and quick in the jump-offs. We’re really blessed to have him,” said Pickering. 

Cupid Shuffle (Winningmood x Miss Niki) moved up to the Junior Jumpers with Ava Hernandez (Overland Park, Kansas)

“Ava has so much love for animals and love for this sport. She diligently pours over videos – both of herself and studying people who she aspires to ride like. I attribute her success to her conscientiousness both in and out of the saddle. 

Julie is looking forward to showing later this circuit with Gilmore 55 and Upcountry Quintos (by Quidams Reubin). The team is looking forward to a great USHJA / WCHR Spectacular Hunter Week and the rest of circuit!

Ella Thomas and Anna Pemble are very involved behind the scenes at the barn with their horses.

About Julie Pickering Equestrian
Trainer/Instructor Julie Pickering has been riding and teaching professionally for over 16 years. She holds an Equestrian Science degree from William Woods University. Julie has many world and national championship titles, including the 2002 AMHA Youth of the Year. Julie actively competes herself in many divisions including Performance Hunters, Green Hunters, and Grand Prix jumpers.   Julie’s students have followed in her footsteps and have won many championships across the country including 3 wins and several top placings in USHJA National Hunter Derbies.   Julie was the youngest licensed USEF “r” judge at the age of 21.   Julie is dedicated to teaching her students excellent horsemanship with an emphasis on the love and respect of the horse, as well as the discipline required to be successful in the sport. Come join the JP Equestrian team and learn what makes this time-honored sport so fascinating!    

Kate Brightwell is the assistant trainer for JP Equestrian. Kate has an education degree from Drake University. She has ridden with JP Equestrian for all of her junior years, and has organized our summer camps every year. Kate’s showing experience includes hunters, equitation, and jumpers at the 3’6” level.

Visit Julie Pickering Equestrian horse show schedule: https://www.juliepickeringequestrian.com/show-schedule.html