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Rider Connect from Bit of Britain: Jacquie Kelton
Today’s featured rider is Jacquie Kelton, a University student with two horses who is working towards competing at the one-star level.
If you would like to be featured in Rider Connect, email me.
Get to know Jacquie
I am 22 and heading into my last year of environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo. I live just outside Elora, Ontario. I keep my horses at home in the summer and at my coach’s barn (Glenarden Farms) in the winter. I have been riding since I was six and got my first pony when I was 10. I was in Grand River Pony Club for 12 years and achieved my B rating. Pony Club really gave me a good base of knowledge for both riding and horsemanship. I really appreciate all the people I have come to know through my years as a member. It was a fellow pony clubber who introduced me to my coach (Philippa Hambly). D rally with Pony Club was my first introduction to Eventing. I learned more starting in 2004 from Pip and have never looked back since. I currently compete at the Training level and hope to move up soon and maybe do a one-star next year.
Jacquie’s horse power
Rosie O’Grady, or Rosie as she is known at home, is an 11-year-old Thoroughbred that was bred by my coach Philippa Hambly. I have known her since she was born and started riding her when she was six. I rode her periodically for a few years and when Pip decided to sell her I was able to purchase her. She can be a bit of a diva in the way mares can, but she’s an incredible athlete and really just a big pet! She is very suspicious of treats and hates apples but loves carrots. This spring has marked her return to Eventing after being off for a year and a half with a tendon injury. For 2017 I don’t have any huge goals for her as I want to be sure she feels happy and healthy, but I am so excited to have her back! She and I sometimes have interesting moments in the show jumping but riding cross-country on her is always exciting.
Executive Power or Power is a 7-year-old Thoroughbred that I bought last October. My coach, Pip, had seen him at various clinics and shows the year before and when she found out that he was for sale she told me we should go look at him. Sure enough, when I tried him he was a lot of fun and just kept doing whatever we asked. We brought him home to jump some cross-country jumps and he ended up staying. I love his attitude because he’s game for anything and seems to say “give me more” every time we go out. He’s not without his quirks but I am really looking forward to what the future holds for us. He can be a bit greedy for treats sometimes, so much so, that when he was on antibiotics for a minor infection he would eat the big pills right out of my hand! I kept waiting for him to realize that they didn’t taste very good but he ate every one! He’s the mischievous one in the barn and has just the right amount of attitude to be a good event horse (I hope).
I have been riding since 2004 with Philippa Hambly at Glenarden Farms. We were so lucky to find her then because she introduced me to Eventing. She has been invaluable as a coach and a mentor to me over the years. Back then I rode a small pony named Puck who was infamous for dumping me off, placing well-aimed kicks just over my head and tearing around much to the horror of any spectator. I don’t know if Pip knew what she was getting into back then but she has stuck with me ever since and through various horses over the years. She’s been great at helping me achieve my goals and always has a plan to overcome specific problems along the way. These days I also get the occasional lesson from her husband, Jay Hambly, and some days if I’m really lucky I get a lesson from both at the same time!
Pip was also influential in getting me a working student position for Buck Davidson from January to April 2016. I could only stay a short time due to school but I learned a lot from him and his program. I’d love to go back someday. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of really hard working people who helped further my education both on and off the horse.
Most of the time I manage to ride after work or school every day and usually have at least one lesson per horse on the weekend. Two to three evenings per week I tutor high school students so it can be a bit tricky fitting in my rides around a job and school but for the most part, it works out.
Influence and inspiration
My biggest influence would definitely be my coach Pip Hambly, not only in my riding but also in my approach to everyday hard work and what it takes to be a successful eventer. I don’t know a lot of people who work as hard as she does and it has led me to try and replicate that in my riding as well as on the ground. Everyone at Glenarden including Pip, Jay and Peggy Hambly have played a large part in my riding career so far and I hope for many years to come. They don’t sugarcoat it if I do something stupid but they’re a great support team to have on my side!
Buck Davidson would also be an influence for me especially after working for him for a few months. It really gave me a sense of the work required to run an operation as big as his. Also, who doesn’t want to ride cross-country like he can!
Another big inspiration for me would be Savannah “Woodge” Fulton. I had the pleasure of meeting her when I was working for Buck and really admired her for how hard she worked every day and how dedicated to the sport she is.
I would also give a lot of credit to my parents for being so supportive of my Eventing goals, especially my mom. From trailering over to the barn in the dark in the dead of winter for lessons, to coming to every show and being the #1 horse show mom, we make a pretty well-oiled team!
An honourable mention goes to Puck the pony who taught me that when you fall off (which I did a lot) you either get out or get back on!
Most embarrassing Eventing moment
My most embarrassing moment would probably be the time I fell off at Dreamcrest on cross-country but not even at a jump! I had had a great dressage and I went out on the Training level course with my old horse Charlie, who had come from Dreamcrest originally. Since he had lived there I assumed he would be familiar with the course so he caught me right off guard when he stopped at the small water crossing that comes out of the water jump. I flew right over his head and landed on my backside. I couldn’t believe I had done that and was pretty embarrassed! Later on, the way home when Pip called Jay to tell him what happened the first words I heard from him were “chocolate cake”! The barn has a rule that if you fall off you have to bake a chocolate cake which luckily wasn’t implemented until after I outgrew my pony, Puck.
Most triumphant Eventing moment
I’m not sure I can choose a specific moment, but there’s not many that can compete with the feeling you get every time you finish a cross-country course clear and inside the time!
So far in 2017, I have been having a lot of fun with both horses, but Power has really stepped up to the occasion. He had gone Pre-Training with his previous rider but we had done quite a bit over the winter so when it came time to enter the first show we decided to go Training level and see how it went. The show was M.C.T.A in Maryland and when we got there I was worried I was asking too much of him for our first show together but he was great! We still have lots to work on but he recently won the senior Training division at Grandview so I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2017 brings for him.
Best of luck this season Jacquie!
If you would like to be featured in Rider Connect, email me