Meet this week’s athlete: Caitlyn Connors!
How many years have you been competing at WEF?
I started coming down here in 2012. I really haven’t been on the circuit for that long. I used to do kind of backyard shows and then my mom and I decided I should start going to Florida after we bought my first horse, Bink. I got him when he was six and I was 12, so we were both babies! My mom and I realized that he had a lot of talent and I wanted to do more with riding, so we decided to come down here and that’s when I started training with Anne Kursinkski.
Tell us about the horses you have this year!
I have Blue, who’s been with us since he was six. He’s half-blind and is really quirky, but he’s so fun and has a great personality. He does the 2* and 3*, and he actually just did the 2* (1.45m) last week and we finished in the top 20, which was really good. Then Bink is another horse I’ve had since he was six. He’s just going to do the Under 25 series this season, because he’s getting a bit older and we’re trying to not push him as much. I also brought Bean. Bean is so fun and is the complete opposite of my other horses. All my other horses are totally different from one another, actually. Bink is 18 hands and is like a truck, while Blue is like a pony because he has energy, but you still have to kick him around, and then Bean is like a little Porsche because she’s so fast and little. She’s just doing the high amateurs right now.
What are your goals for this season?
My goal for this season is just to be really solid; I want to come in and be a real competitor. There are so many people in the FEI classes and so many great professionals that it can be really hard to hold your own. So I’m really hoping to be a solid rider and just keep my horses going well and healthy. I’m trying to be realistic, because I’m in college now and trying to balance everything.
How do you balance your busy show schedule as an amateur, while also being a college student?
It’s a lot. I have three horses here, and then I have a fourth one hopefully coming. I fly back to school either Sunday night or Monday morning and have classes Monday-Wednesday, then I come back Wednesday afternoon. Once I come back here, I try to keep up with my school, but I try to focus on riding too. It’s just all about organization and being on top of everything. Luckily, when I was in high school, I did online school and was able to learn that then. It’s hard, but I love it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I couldn’t be in school and not be showing my horses!
Is there a particular person or horse that has made a huge impact on your equestrian career?
I can’t say enough good things about Roberto (Teran), who I train with now. He has changed my riding and my horses have never felt or gone better. He’s really hands-on with the horses and is super involved with all aspects, which I really admire. A lot of trainers aren’t as involved and just let barn managers talk to the vets and farriers and stuff like that. He’s just really on top of everything.
I would have to say my favorite horse is Bink. I have so much love for him because of everything he has done for me. He’s just my absolute favorite in the whole world. He has taken care of me throughout everything. I really adore him.
What has riding taught you?
Riding has taught me so much! I don’t think I would be nearly as mature if I didn’t ride. Ever since I was little I would have to manage traveling with school and spending time with family and friends. I think that riding has really taught me how to juggle everything and It gives you really great communication skills. Riding just makes you a well-balanced person in general.
Thanks for chatting with us Caitlyn, good luck during WEF 2020!