By Catie Staszak for Heritage Farm
In this behind-the-scenes series from Heritage Farm, we’re introducing you to the program’s horses and riders in a whole new way. Get to know our group beyond what you’ve seen ringside, accolades and all:
- Age: 15
- Hometown: Sag Harbor, NY
- Horse(s): Jalabert, Cador des Forets
- 2022 Highlights: Sixth Overall, 2022 USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Final — East, winning the gymnastic phase and finishing second in the jumping phase; qualified, 2022 ASPCA Maclay National Championship
For Maxine Boeding, riding at Heritage has become a family affair. Not only does her younger sister Ruby ride alongside her, but in order to make training with the operation more accessible, the Boedings moved their entire family from their Long Island, NY home to be closer to Heritage’s Katonah, NY base. A 2 ½-hour commute to the barn is now less than 30 minutes.
“I have really amazing, supportive parents who are just as into this as me,” Boeding said. “[The move] was all in the attempt to spend as much time at the barn as we can.”
A self-proclaimed “Type A overachiever,” Boeding can be found spending any extra minute she can riding extra horses, watching lessons, pouring over videos of previous equitation championships, and mentoring younger riders. Having started with Heritage at age 12, the now 15-year-old is entering her first full season targeting the Big Eq classes and will spend two months in Wellington, FL this winter.
“I’m always asking, ‘What is the next thing I’m preparing for? What is the next thing I can keep in mind and look forward to?” Boeding explained. “You can think you’re the most prepared and [make a mistake], but I like to think that everyone has an even chance of doing well. I try to prepare myself the best I can for that.”
Things came together for Boeding at the 2022 Capital Challenge Horse Show, where she and mount Jalabert finished sixth overall in the USHJA 3’3” Jumping Seat Medal Finals — East. Out of more than 160 riders, Boeding won the gymnastics phase and finished second in the jumping phase.
“It was exactly what I could have hoped for,” Boeding said. “I tend to set these high expectations for myself, but the best thing was that I had no expectations [there]. I was really happy with how the show went, and having the whole team at the ring was a very big deal.”
Boeding has been paired with “Bert,” a 9-year-old KWPN gelding for the last year and a half, after Andre Dignelli scouted the bay in Europe. Boeding didn’t even know the horse’s name, but she trusted her trainer’s judgement, and she immediately fell in love with the gelding upon his stateside arrival. Working with Bert has been a rewarding journey for his rider. A talented yet sometimes-nervous individual, the bay always had jumping ability but has greatly progressed in his flatwork since being imported.
“Every day, we’re learning something new together. It’s the process: I love it, and it’s so rewarding when you do well,” Boeding said. “I’ve loved helping to teach everything to him and working to build a program for him. It’s all felt so purposeful. If you asked me last year if I would have done so well at Capital Challenge, I would have said, ‘No way, I don’t think we’re ready for that.’ He’s just an amazing horse.”
Boeding added Cador des Forets to her string last year, and the “kind soul” has become a triple threat in the hunter, jumper and equitation rings. “Cador” will target the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals and look to give Boeding her first experiences in the junior jumpers.
“He’s a kind and caring animal who really has a lot to give,” Boeding said. “He has taught me so much.”
Boeding has an “insatiable hunger for knowledge,” and riding with Heritage has allowed her to not only pick the brains of her well-versed trainers, but to also learn from her peers. That has made a great impact.
“One of the best things Heritage has brought to me is the ability to watch and learn from people I’d been watching my whole life,” she said. “I’ve jumped courses with Eliza Kimball, Natalie Jayne, Jordan Girard, Hannah Hoch…I was in the ring with my idols—that was a surreal moment for me.”
As Boeding readies to take on the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival, her goal is to be a “consistent contender”—and to learn and grow as much as she can.
“I’m very curious, and I like to learn—with school, horses, everything,” she said. “All of the trainers at Heritage are so knowledgeable, and I’m taking something away every day.”
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