Izzy joins us from Georgia! We were so excited to sit down with her to discuss
the change from Saddle Seat to Eventing!
Horseplay: You and your horse, Lucky, have begun training for Eventing. What drew you to Eventing as the equestrian sport you wanted to pursue together?
Izzy: Well, I was probably about eight years old when I first heard of the discipline Eventing. I remember seeing the cross country phase and thinking "whoa, that looks pretty fun" After Lucky and I retired from Saddleseat after our horse accident he was in pretty bad shape. After a year of rehabbing him, in the summer of 2016, one day I decided "hey, wonder if he would like to jump?" So, I set up a pole about 10 inches off the ground and Lucky cleared it on his first try by a couple of feet. That was the day we realized he really had a love for jumping, something you don't see in a lot of Saddlebreds. At this point I had been friends with ambassador Mira Figliozzi (one of my best friends) for a few months. She brought up Eventing one day, and after thinking about it I thought Lucky and I could definitely give it a whirl. Dressage has been a struggle for him, but he is catching on very quickly and is willing to learn. Jumping of course has given him very little problems, and he is ready to soar to new heights!
Horseplay: That's amazing! It's definitely not often that you see a Saddlebred horse Eventing, you two are such a good team! What are your short and long term goals with Lucky?
Izzy: My short term goals right now with Lucky are to get him more familiar with dressage, especially getting him learning how to move off of my leg and maintain straightness. But most of all, he needs to relax, which is something we've been working hard on. Long term goals with Lucky include completing an event, moving barns, and maybe even moving up to beginner novice! This horse is my absolute heart horse, so anything I'm doing with him is ok with me.
Horseplay: How was the transition from Saddleseat to Eventing as a rider?
Izzy: The transition from a Saddleseat rider to an Eventer has been pretty tough.
Equitation is so different for both, and I still carry a lot of habits from Saddleseat that aren't necessarily good in dressage. Saddleseat movements and dressage movements are completely the opposite, so sometimes it can be difficult for me to understand things. Such as in my last lessons it took me a solid 45 minutes to learn to use my leg properly to leg yield. It's difficult, but with more practice and knowledge it gets easier and easier!
Horseplay: So far in your Eventing training, what has been your favorite thing to work n? Do you have a favorite exercise or activity?
Izzy: My favorite activity so far has definitely been some of the jumping exercises. My last jump lesson we worked on small courses and turning. The jumps were set up sort of block like, with many sharp right and left turns that forced you to think and look where you're going. One of my main problems jumping is that I will flat out forget to look at the jump and will overshoot my distances, so on the sharp left turn to go over a vertical and then an oxer I was going over the vertical at a slant and had no chance at the oxer. The exercise really helped me work on that habit of mine! Working on leg yields and circles in dressage can also be very fun!
Horseplay: What are you most looking forward to as an Eventer? Do you have any advice for anyone looking to try Eventing?
Izzy: For sure cross country, it looks so exhilarating! I'm also so excited to eventually get back into showing; I've missed it so incredibly much. The big advice I have for people looking to event it to find yourself an awesome trainer you click with. There is so much to learn and with a trainer who is able to work well with you and teach you proper riding skills and give you tips, the possibilities are endless! My other advice is to watch videos and read books in your spare time. You can learn so much from watching other riders and reading what they have to say. (I highly recommend books by Jim Wofford and Phillip Dutton!) Also, if you're looking to learn fast, keeping a notebook in your car to write corrections after your lessons is very helpful. After you ride you can write them down while they're fresh on your mind , and before your next lesson you can read them so you can remember what to works on.
Izzy, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us! We can't wait to watch you and Lucky grow in your new discipline! You'll rock it!