Congress and Reserve World Champion Emily Smith of Sarasota, Florida has fought every step of the way to earn her stripes in the show arena. The seventeen year-old soon-to-be senior in high school is ready to hopefully win another trophy in the hunter events at the AQHYA World Show. Last year, Emily and her horse, Stellar Moves, won a Reserve World Championship in the Equitation Over Fences.
GoHorseShow interviewed Smith about her backstory, her plans for the future, and what she enjoys about showing horses.
Q: Hi Emily! So tell us how you got involved with horses?
A: When I was in the first or second grade, my parents were trying to get me involved in different sports. Luckily, there was a horse barn across the street from my house that I first started taking lessons at, and I've been hooked ever since!
Q: Tell us about the horse you are showing now?
A: My horse Stellar Moves (Moose) is a nine year-old gelding by Starman SL. I bought him about four and a half years ago and it's been an uphill battle ever since. He was extremely green, and my trainer, Donnie Boyd, got him to where he was safe to ride, and I've done all the riding ever since! Moose is such a little kid, he always wants to be the center of attention, whether it's bad or good, and really connects with his rider. He's so quirky and you always know what he's thinking. Together, him and I have been Congress Champions in Youth Jumping, Reserve World Champions in Youth Equitation Over Fences, superior equitation over fences, and multiple top 5's in the nation in both equitation over fences and jumping. He's so much fun to show, as he's never the same every day so he always keeps you guessing. With him, it's a 50/50 deal so as long as you're doing your half of the job, he'll do his.
Q: What classes do you show in and tell me about your trainer Donnie Boyd?
A: I show in the equitation over fences, jumping, working hunter, hunter hack, and occasionally hunt seat equitation. Donnie is unlike any trainer I've ever come across. I have known him for over a decade so I consider him my second dad. He's a firm believer in his students doing all the riding themselves, and I believe that has given me a bigger edge in the show arena. He is always cracking jokes and knows just what to say at the right time. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be the rider or the person I am today. I owe him everything.
Q: What would you say was your favorite win and horse show memory?
A: I would have to be getting reserve world champion in equitation over fences at the 2011 world show. Just getting a call back was enough to bring me to tears, but when I was standing with some of the top youth equitation riders in the final three, I was just overcome with emotion. My favorite horse show memory was after I won the Congress in 2010, and my trainer hands me the phone with my mom on the other line--who was at home watching from the live feed. Neither of us could understand each other since we were both crying so much.
Q: What do you like about showing horses?
A: Showing horses has had the biggest impact on my life out of anything I've ever done. It has taught me the true value of leadership, hard work, and dedication because without any of those things, it's hard to achieve your dreams. It has also brought me together with some of my closest friends from across the nation, and some that I know will last a lifetime.
Q: What has been some of your biggest challenges?
A: The biggest challenge I have faced was the constant road blocks that have prevented me from placing well on a higher level. For the longest time, it seemed like it was something new every horse show. Once he was too skinny; he wasn't jumping right; I wasn't consistent in my pace; or the classic "he's just not what judges are looking for in quarter horse hunters." However, I continued to work through the road blocks and worked twice as hard to achieve my goals.
Q: What are your future goals?
A: In the show arena, my future goals are to get another call back in equitation at the world show, maybe even come home with another trophy, get top ten at the Congress in a judged event, and to just continue what I've been doing. Outside of horse showing, I'd like to continue getting good grades in school and to get into Florida Atlantic University and pursue a career in journalism.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: I would love to thank my parents and grandparents for their constant support and the many sacrifices they have made to allow me to show. I would also like to thank my trainer, Donnie, for believing in me and Moose and constantly pushing us to be our best. I don't think anyone else could have done it!
Q: Thanks Emily for sharing your thoughts and good luck at the Youth World!
A: You're welcome and thanks!!
Check out her new ad in the July issue of the GoMag by clicking here!
Thank you GoHorseShow.com for sharing Emily's interview with your readers. We know how much time, energy and tears Emily has put into becoming a competitive rider, and it means so much to her to have your recognition.
Riding horses has been instrumental in molding Emily into a spectacular young lady. The road so far has been emotionally and financially draining at times, but how rewarding to see your daughter develop so many positive, life-long qualities, and reach what seemed like unreasonable goals. We are exremely proud of Emily, and thankful for this equestrian journey. We've met so many great people (one common denominator in virtually all riders is a very loving family), and you gotta love Moose for working with Emily to overcoming so many hurdles (both literally and figuratively).