The Plaid Horse Quick Questionnaire with: Vanessa Mazzoli

Rider status: Amateur  
Hometown: Rockford, MI  
Trainer: Chris Bennings

As a horsewoman, I am most proud of: doing everything behind the scenes on my own. From the daily care—often 10-12 hours, 7 days a week—and still finding time to work hard at improving my riding.

As a horsewoman, I would most like to improve on: my time management and to be as efficient as I can to have more time to ride. 

I’d be lost without: tack cleaner and liniment in my tack trunk. And without peppermints and spurs in my ring bag. 

I think the biggest misconception about our sport is: that you have to come from wealth to contend at shows. 

My best piece of advice for young riders is: don’t get hung up on a bad day or a bad show. Everyone has bad days. You’re going to lose more than you will win but you have to take those losses and learn from them to grow and get better. 

My favorite horse book is: Seabiscuit.

My favorite non-horse book is: To Kill A Mockingbird.

The part of riding I struggle most with is: handling my nerves at big events. It’s been a work an progress, I really work hard to stay focused and go over my plan so I can execute it the best I can. 

The part of riding I’m best at is: staying soft with my hands and letting the horse finish its jump. 

I’m a sucker for: a dark dapple grey or a palomino pony with a flaxen mane and tail with chrome. 

On Mondays, you’ll find me: still at the barn. 

I sometimes wish I had the time to: learn how to braid manes and tails well! 

I’m afraid of: spiders! 

The horse person I most admire is: Beezie Madden because her horsemanship goes beyond just being in the saddle and winning. 

Something I say ten times a day is: “Where’s my phone charger?” 

One of my greatest show ring victories was: Champion at the National. 

One of the best horse names I’ve ever heard is: Weebiscuit. 

My absolute favorite show is: The Devon Horse Show because of the carnival going on during the show. Such a fun atmosphere, and it’s so fun to go on the Ferris wheel or go play games after showing. The infamous lemon sticks are a must have when I go.

My motto is: A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.

*This story was originally published in the February 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now, and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!