So I am Kristen’s husband, Ian, and this is my first guest blog post. Today I’ll be writing about Kristen’s accomplishment this past weekend that, in my opinion, shows the power of persistence. Kristen began to develop her passion for riding when we arrived in Pasadena in the summer of 2011. I remember very clearly the first day we rode together. Kristen was a natural–she had great posture, and she was confident on the horse. Me, on the other hand, not so much. Kristen’s trainer, Suzie, referred to my riding style as “bohemian.” Not a good adjective to describe the “Sport of Kings!” I decided not to continue with horseback riding (I’ve gone the golf route instead), but Kristen did–and she is exceptional! But it wasn’t easy for her to get to this level.
First, Kristen had to deal with riding several horses over an extended period until she found the apple of her eye who she is currently riding today–Ferris, aka Fairgrounds. Each horse has its own idiosyncrasies, so learning to ride on multiple horses is quite difficult. But Kristen persevered, and I think her experience riding several different horses has made her a versatile rider in retrospect. The most impressive part of Kristen’s riding is her development of an amazing relationship with her newest horse, Ferris. You see, Ferris had been injured jumping and had gone through a difficult few months before Kristen leased him, and the start of their relationship was a bit rocky. He would spook easily and he bolted more than once on her. But Kristen was undaunted. She kept riding Ferris regularly, always believing in him. Kristen and Ferris engaged in intensive therapy using the prozac of the horse world–carrots and paddock cakes! She loved on him no matter what. In the process, Kristen and Ferris developed an amazing relationship–so much so that I’m wondering if she might become a horse whisperer in her spare time!
All of Kristen’s hard work was vividly on display at the 92nd Annual Flintridge Horse Show at our home stable, Flintridge riding club. Kristen–and Ferris–performed with aplomb and panache, winning 3rd out of 9 in their best event. Kristen was able to accomplish this incredible feat despite the fact that she was competing against riders with many more years of experience and six-figure horses that regularly compete in a variety of shows. This is a sport where money definitely gives riders an advantage, and Kristen was able to level the playing field with the power of persistence. I am so proud of her, and I love Ferris too!