From a young age, PCHA member Valentina Lehner has had nothing but a desire to be with horses. With a passion for the jumpers, Lehner has competed in several PCHA events and spends the vast majority of her time at her on-site training facility. We caught up with her to find out more about her lifestyle, experiences, and time with the PCHA:
- How did you get started in riding and what made you choose the discipline you’re in?
Ever since I was little, I have craved to ride and be around horses. Their kind and silly personalities are what have my heart. When I was little, I started riding at a Hunter/Equitation barn. I was a pony kid growing up and then moved into equitation and jumpers as I got older. I enjoy equitation and understand the important role it plays with discipline, track, pace, etc but my passion lies in the jumper ring!
- What has your experience been like in the PCHA?
Overall, my experiences in the PCHA have been really positive. I’ve enjoyed the learning process and the experience as a whole. I feel like I’ve grown a ton and learned so much by competing in special programs PCHA offers like Onondarka Finals, and the 1.30m Jumper Championships I competed in last year. I also attended the PCHA Year End Banquet last year for winning the 1.20m Jr/Am Jumper Champion which was a great experience. One of the things I learned the most from was the Laura Kraut clinic, so I’m definitely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this program.
- A little bit about you outside of the barn (hobbies, interests, etc)?
To be honest, I don’t have many hobbies outside of being an equestrian! If I had to choose, I really enjoy going to the pool and having fun with friends. Riding is a lifestyle for me, especially since we run a small training facility on our property. Most days, I will help clean stalls in the mornings and ride a few horses a day, then after that I will usually go to the beach or the pool, and then back home in the evening to help feed and do evening chores.
- Tell us a bit about the horse you ride and your partnership?
I am lucky to have two horses right now. Cookie Dough 5 is my jumper and Ipswich is my equitation horse. They both are very fun and sweet. Cookie Dough has quite the personality – he is very picky when he wants attention but he is also a very sweet and comforting horse. He takes good care of me and has lots of scope and power. I got him almost two years ago when he was eight years old. He’s helped me successfully move into the 1.35m division and I hope he will take me to the 1.45m and beyond as we gain more experience together. He has a heart of gold and will do anything for me. Just this week I found out we are the traveling alternate for the Pre-Junior Young Rider Team for Zone X to compete in Traverse City in August.
I got Ipswich a little over a year ago when we imported him from Europe so he is learning how to be an equitation horse. Ipswich is a gorgeous gentle giant with a calm nature; however, when he gets the chance, he will never turn down the opportunity to play in the turnout and throw a few giant bucks. Last year we were very successful in the Medal Finals we competed in, including the PCHA 14 & Under Finals. I am looking forward to competing in the Platinum Performance/ USEF Talent Search West Finals with him this year.
The Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association (PCHA), a non-profit corporation, has as its main purpose the promotion and development of the sport of horse showing, primarily in the Hunter/Jumper, Western and Reining disciplines. These objectives are accomplished by setting the standards for showing on the West Coast and approving shows that meet these criteria.
Founded in 1946, the Pacific Coast Horse Shows Association promotes the interests of owners and exhibitors, cooperates with exhibitors, officials, and management of competition, publicizes and advertises PCHA sanctioned shows, encourages and assists owners, exhibitors, and breeders of horses to maintain, develop and improve the quality of horses of the Hunter, Jumper, Western and Reining divisions.