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Rider Connect from Bit of Britain: Grace Emmett
Today’s featured rider is Grace Emmett, a Canadian Young Rider with dreams of representing her country in the future.
If you would like to be featured in Rider Connect, email me.
Get to know Grace
My name is Grace Emmett and I am a 17-year-old Young Rider from Collingwood, Ontario. Just like any young horse-crazy girl I begged my parents for a pony every day until finally at age six I started riding lessons and was forever hooked. However, it wasn’t until I was 13 that I began Eventing, all thanks to Jessica Ruppel who introduced me to the sport once I moved up to Collingwood. Currently, I am competing at the Preliminary level with my horse Yahya (Johnny) with hopes of upgrading to Intermediate this year. Last year I also had the privilege of competing Naughty by Nature (Chance) at NAJYRC CCI1* in Colorado.
Grace’s horse power
In August 2016, I purchased a wonderful horse named Johnny from Justin Smith. Justin purchased Johnny from Ian Roberts and Kelly Plitz with whom helped him to take Johnny up to the CIC2* level. Johnny is a 12-year-old 17hh grey Thoroughbred gelding. Although our partnership is fairly new, I feel like we are really coming together as a team and that I couldn’t be riding a better horse. I am super proud of Johnny all the time because he tries so hard in every ride no matter what exercise we are doing or where we are. He is super sensitive to his rider and really relies on that partnership.
Currently, I train with Jessica Ruppel out of Alpine Equestrian and typically travel to Aiken, SC for the month of March to get a head start on the season. Being a grade 12 student and having a part time job definitely, does not give a lot of spare time. Luckily my part time job is at Alpine Equestrian which very convenient as it is right around the corner from my house, gives me more flexibility for riding and allows me to keep a close eye on Johnny. As far as school goes… since I am in Aiken this second semester I have scheduled two online courses and two spares in order to stay on top of school work but still, have ample time to ride and train. A typical week of riding looks like the following: a stretching day, a pole gymnastic day, two-three dressage schools, a jump day, a walking hack and a day off. Of course, if we had a big three-day coming up we would also include some conditioning but luckily being a Thoroughbred with a good base of fitness my horse stays quite fit year round. At this point especially in his training, he benefits very much from lots of stretching and dressage work really focusing on relaxation in order to improve our dressage. But we all know that like most event horses he’d take an extra round of cross-country any day instead of dressage.
Like my horse, I also think it’s important for riders to also condition their bodies and work out. So I manage to fit in regular exercise into my schedule between riding and schoolwork.
Influence and inspiration
The one person who has influenced, inspired and taught me the most is my coach, Jessica Ruppel. Without her, I firmly believe that I would not be at this point today, or even Eventing at all. Once I started riding with Jess, I immediately was hooked on Eventing and will never look back. Jess has given me the tools and confidence to be the rider I am today and to continue progressing. She also has and continues to, help me become a much better competitor mentally as that is my biggest road block when at shows. For others that share that same struggle, the book “That Winning Feeling!” by Jane Savoie comes highly recommended. She cares so much about her whole team and by far has the best work ethic out of anyone I know. Of course, my parents are very influential and important as well as on a daily basis they give me the opportunity, dedication and motivation for me to continue doing what I love and pursue my dreams of representing Canada on an international stage.
Plus I cannot forget my sister’s endless support and interest in my sport as a non-eventer.
Most embarrassing Eventing moment
My most embarrassing moment was probably at one of my first schooling events at Glen Oro with my horse Rocky when I was 13. He refused basically every single Pre-Entry cross-country fence. Of course, it was my fault as my nerves got the best of me but despite the embarrassment, it was a great learning experience!
Most triumphant Eventing moment
At this point in my riding career, my most triumphant moment was defiantly at NAJYRC 2016 with Chance (Naughty by Nature). It had been a goal of ours for a long time and was most likely going to be Chance’s last FEI event and our last event together. With a combination of excitement, anticipation and nostalgia the pressure was on. I knew that I was on the best horse ever and was so lucky that Jess, also his owner who took Chance to the CCI3* level, gave me the opportunity to ride him. Chance and I pulled off our personal best dressage test, ran a double clear cross-country and a double clear show jumping finishing on our dressage score one penalty point away from a top 10 finish. It was an amazing experience and a perfect way to end what had been a wonderful two-year ride on Chance.
The season is still young but after only having Johnny for seven months, I am very proud of how he is coming along on the flat. He is using himself so much better on the flat allowing for his trot, in particular, to improve, build more top line and allow for more relaxation in his tests. There is still so much movement and potential in there that I am excited to get it out of him!
Best of luck this season Grace!
If you would like to be featured in Rider Connect, email me