2006 SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: EMILY MARTIN
Emily on Cavalier's Glance Emily on Carayan Z 2007 NEEC
Emily first sat on a pony at the age of three months. “My mother thought that it was “cute” to sit me up there and then hide behind the pony so that all you could see was me perched up there.” After that there are photos of me sitting in front of my mother or father on their horses. At the age of two, my parents bought me a Shetland pony named Bubbles. He was a reject from the local Pony Club and cost $100. That was my first lesson : cheap = wicked. I spent more time on the ground than in the saddle and one of his favorite tricks was to gallop from the outdoor ring back to the barn and dump me in the manure pit on his way home!! I learnt to ride in a Western saddle and went trail riding with my mother around the hills of Santa Ynez. She would just yell at me to “hang on as we are trotting”. At age 5, my parents decided that I needed something easier to learn to canter and jump on so they bought me an aged Quarter horse /Arab mare named Gussie and I did barrel racing and went Fox-hunting. I would hill-top with my Mother who was a Whipper-in with the Santa Ynez Valley Hunt – it was fun as we got really close to the hounds and their quarry. At age seven, my family and I moved to England and I rode a small pony named Sasha. She taught me a lot about riding and we did Pony Club and some horse shows. Then when I started to outgrow Sasha, my parents bought me a large pony named Kishpoe. He was an eventing pony and he could really jump and at age 9, I was in the local Pony Club show-jumping team. I also got a fifth place ribbon in my first ever Tetrathalon (riding, swimming, shooting and running). In 2002, we returned to Vermont where I competed in short-stirrup on the Vermont circuit. In 2003, I rode a small quarter horse called Freddie in the 11 and under equitation and I was Year End Reserve Champion. In 2005, we bought a 17 hand Irish Sport horse, Cavalier’s Glance, and I competed in the 12-14 equitation, 3' - 3'3 medals and Level 2 Jumpers. I qualified for the New England Medal finals, where I placed 10/45 in the Open Equitation section.
In 2006, I went to Ocala for three weeks with Cavalier and we were Children’s High Jumper Reserve Champion for Week 2 and Champion for Week 3, and I was also Intermediate Equitation Champion on another horse.
At that point I had been selected as the R.W. Mutch Scholarship winner for 2006, so we took Cavalier and headed for WEF. What an experience that was. All the big names in the equestrian show-jumping and hunter/jumper world were there. We stabled with Eight Fences which is a barn owned by T. Whitehead. T is a well-known Hunter rider and trainer and he and his barn manager John Talley and their staff immediately made us feel welcome. They really helped us a lot and taught me and my Mom a lot of things that we did not know about competing at that level. We spent the next two weeks training with Frank and Stacia Madden of Beacon Hill Show Stables. They were very kind and welcoming and I learnt a lot from them. I also got to take lessons from Marilyn Little, Andre Dignelli and Carlos Aguirre. None of this would have been possible without Carol Caroleman and the RW Mutch Foundation. To me, all of these big names were just that, names in my horse magazines. Until we went to WEF.
We returned home and still on a high, we asked Frank and Stacia if they would coach me through the summer, which they agreed to do. Unfortunately, Cavalier got hurt at HITS, Saugerties, so my summer was cut short. I returned to WEF in 2007 and rode a couple of other horses, and then got to take some lessons with Belgian rider Eric Flameng. He is a great rider and teacher and we ended up buying a horse form him – Carayan Z – a Grand Prix prospect. With the help of Grand Prix rider Darren Graziano, whom I rode with for the summer of 2007, and my home trainer Tara Valade, Carayan helped me to qualify for the New England Medal Finals. Sadly I didn’t get to ride him there as he had a freak accident while being clipped, falling over and requiring stitches the night before my Open Equitation. Thankfully, Patty Harnois of Holly Hill Show Stables stepped up and offered me a horse to ride for the weekend and we ended up seventh in our Open Eq. and ninth out of 225 in the final. I was thrilled. And I was pleased for my home trainers, Mary Drueding and Cate Lawrence of Seery Hill, NH and St Lawrence University, NY where we keep our horses. They really help us out . My parents moved us all to our fabulous home on Tupper Lake in the summer of 2007. The only draw back to living in a beautiful national park is that the barn is 63 miles away and we drive every other day to ride. But it’s really worth it as I love my horses and love to compete.
Video of the 2007 NEEC
In 2008, my Mother drove me, our dog Rudy and Carayan down to Florida for 2 months. While I was there, I worked for Erika Belden, riding anywhere from 6-8 rehab horses each day at her farm. She has many equitation horses from the circuit that need rest or light work or are recovering from an injury. I got to ride some pretty famous horses. After riding, I still had to ride my horse and do my own barn chores. So it was really busy. I trained with Missy Clark and Carayan and I did some Low Junior Jumper classes. It was fun but also really hard work. We do all our own barn work and my Mother drove a lot of horses around for people, and often we were putting in some 18 hour days. I was also lucky to get some lessons from Erika (she’s a former Grand Prix rider and racehorse owner) and also from trainer Jonathon Soresi – I also got to show some of his horses in the ring.
Now we are back and getting ready for the summer show season. I also have NY State Regents exams – my school is really cool about letting me take time off for horse shows and while I was In Florida I managed to maintain a B average.
My goals are to qualify for all the Medal Finals and get up to the Grand Prix. Cavalier is better and ready to go – we recently took him to St Clements, Saratoga where he performed well. Carayan is a bit more of a challenge as he is such a powerful and scopey jumper. We are going to train with Frank Madden this summer – he is such a great trainer and he helps me to relax in the ring.
I want to say to all of you young riders out there, never give up. Work hard, spend time with your horses and do the best that you can with what you have. Having been around the best of the best, I can say that there are lots of kids out there who have fantastic and expensive horses and who spend lots of money, and who show year round. So, maybe a lot of them win or do well because they are naturally talented, and some of them work hard. But there are a lot of them who just show up on Friday morning and get on and ride a made horse who was been professionally ridden by the trainer. They don’t greet their horse at 4:30 am at a show to feed him and get him ready for the day, which might include lunging him or tacking him up. And they don’t come back at 9 pm at night to do night check. I think that they are missing out on the whole horsemanship part of the sport.
Aged 2.5 on Bubbles