Ayanna Kimbro is a first year at California State University Northridge and is currently ranked in the top five of the THIS/NHS Adult Medal standings. At 18 years of age, she just recently transitioned from a junior rider status to an adult amateur.
“From a very young age, I’ve always loved horses, but I didn’t get to ride much, because I had terrible allergies,” says Kimbro. “My parents tried putting me in summer camp around age six, but I got sent home after less than an hour because my eyes were so swollen. When I was nine, I told my parents that [riding] was something I needed to do. I started with one lesson a week, taking allergy medications every day.”
As a junior, Kimbro competed mostly in the equitation classes, including the THIS National Children’s Medal, the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3” Medal, and the 3’6” “Big “Eq” classes. She says that the transition from high school to college and junior to amaetur status has been challenging.
“It’s been hard, especially since I was able to ride every day during the [COVID pandemic],” says Kimbro. “Now that I’m back taking in-person classes, I basically go to school Monday through Thursday and ride Friday through Sunday. It’s definitely easier being an amateur, because when you’re a junior, [chasing equitation] points is tough.”
“Now that I’m competing [as an adult] in the THIS Adult Medal, I think it’s much less stressful,” she adds. “All the adults seem much less concerned, because when you’re a junior, you feel like you have such limited time to do everything, but I think us amateurs allow ourselves to have more fun.”
Kimbro owns two horses but is leasing one of them to another rider. She currently competes on her horse Outkast.
“Outkast is a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood. I started showing him during my last junior year, doing mostly the 3’3” equitation and a little bit of the 3’6” equitation,” she says. “He has his quirks, but he tries his best every single time—he’s the best.”
Kimbro says she prefers the equitation because she is able to put her skills to the test and challenge herself.
“I think equitation courses are super fun. You have certain classes where you get the normal, eight fences hunter course, but then you also get the technical courses. In the equitation, you really get to show off what you know and what you can do,” says Kimbro.
“The THIS Adult Medal is currently my favorite class to compete in. I always love a flat workoff, and after aging out, I missed being able to compete in the ASPCA Maclay or the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3” medal because I loved the flat phases,” she says. “When I started showing in the THIS Adult Medal, I realized I can still flat [and test my skills.].”
For the remainder of the year, Kimbro plans to continue to compete in adult equitation classes with Outkast and is looking forward to the THIS/NHS Adult Equitation Championship Finals.
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