On Wednesday, June 23, the routine hustle and bustle at Oceancrest Farms came to a temporary pause. The group, based out of Rancho Santa Fe and Encinitas, CA temporarily turned their eyes to another location. Working Student Rebecca Beall was making her way into Blenheim Equisports’ Grand Prix field for the final work-off. Beall was sitting second after two days of competition in the Whitethorne American Tradition of Excellence Equitation Challenge.
“You could feel the excitement and the care for Becca […] Becca rode a solid test. After she was done, we all burst out into cheers and started clapping. Everyone was so proud of her regardless of her end result. It almost brought me to tears,” said Alicia Saxton, Oceancrest’s head trainer.
After three rigorous phases of competition with some of the best equitation riders on the west coast, Beall completed the prestigious class on the podium. She took home third place out of 82 entries aboard her own horse, Calino G.
Beall’s roots are rather unique on the west coast show circuit, having grown up in Honolulu, Hawaii. While trail ride excursions are easy to locate in the area, competitive show barns are less common. Hawaii has just four jumping competitions scheduled each show calendar. Over the course of the last few years, there have been a few riders who have flown to the mainland for larger competition with success.
Beall became serious about her riding as a 10-year-old while training out of Oahu, inspired by the Animal Planet TV show, “Road to the Maclay.” Though it seemed like an impossible goal, Beall was drawn toward equitation. Beall filled her days at the barn not only with riding, but also learning proper horsemanship and day-to-day care of her pony.
When, a few years later, one of Beall’s older barn mates qualified for a Maclay Regional Final, it that lit a whole new fire in Beall. Suddenly, she felt like her dreams were not impossible.
In her freshman year of high school, Beall left Hawaii for catch-riding opportunities on both coasts of North America. She made her debut at the famed Winter Equestrian Festival as well as at Thunderbird Show Park in Vancouver, CAN. She was immediately hooked by the excitement of the ‘A’ circuit.
In 2018, with a limited budget, Beall and her mother Joanna traveled on their own to the Desert Horse Park in Thermal, CA in search for a horse. This is where Beall first met Alicia and Alysia of Oceancrest Farms, as well as Calino G—affectionately known as “Leo.”
“It was a very unique trial,” said trainer Alysia Lynch-Sherard. “Since Becca did not have a trainer with her, I wanted her to feel as comfortable as possible. Instead of the typical quick trial, I decided to take the time to give Becca a lesson on Leo. I was very impressed how well she took the information and quickly adapted to Leo’s very specific ride. The smile on her face at the end of her lesson said it all. Becca and Leo were a great match.”
Within the month, Leo was on his way to Hawaii.
Two years later, Beall had convinced her parents to let her seek full-time training help on the mainland to help her achieve her goals. Saxton and Lynch-Sherard seemed like the clear choice, and it wasn’t long before Leo was back on the mainland.
“It was a no brainer to accept Becca as a working student into our program” Saxton said.
Leo is now based full-time in California with the Oceancrest team, while Beall commutes between Hawaii and California for school and family obligations. While at home in Hawaii, Beall stays fit by continuing to ride a myriad of different horses on the island.
“It’s been really interesting, I’ve gotten to ride a lot of different types of horses,” Beall said. I’ve gotten lots of experience riding green horses and riding horses that are a little more challenging than my [own]. I can stay in shape when I’m here. Then, I can return to Leo and have a good, confident ride.”
Equitation has been Beall’s focus, and she puts in effort both in and out of the saddle. Commonly found helping out at the barn and at the show ring, Beall has seen her hard work begin to pay off. She views her Whitethorne placing as an exciting step in the right direction on her ladder toward her goals.
Beall felt that the educational format of the Whitethorne Equitation Challenge helped her go in the ring and solely focus on her riding and her connection with her horse, rather than worry about how she placed. Having feedback from Jimmy Torano and Emile Spadone, two top judges and professionals, helped her have insight into what they were looking for from each rider.
Lynch-Sherard used the class’ format to really drive home the mental approach for Beall. “There are no ribbons. No placing. Zero to lose. This class is just to show your skills and get feedback, so don’t hold back; Just let your instincts take you,” she said.
As the year 2021 powers up, Beall will continue her role as Oceancrest’s working student and, with Lynch-Sherard and Saxton’s continued training and guidance, she looks to grow her list of equitation finals for which she’s qualified.
“As a professional, you don’t come across a lot of young riders where you think, ‘This kid really has what it takes to be a professional,'” Saxton said. “Becca has the work ethic, passion, drive and talent. She has the same excitement level to ride a pony as she does to ride a big equitation horse and even to make the grain.”
“She understands how doing all of those things well play into being a well rounded professional in our sport, which is so rare nowadays” Lynch-Sherard added.
Both trainers are excited for what’s to come for Beall and happy to have her a part of their team.