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Rider Connect from Bit of Britain: Rachel Rogers
Today’s featured rider is Rachel Rogers, a nurse who also competes three horses and runs a small barn.
If you would like to be featured in Rider Connect, email me.
Get to know Rachel
I am a 33-year-old professional equestrian, when I’m not chasing my tiny human or training, I am also a Registered Nurse. I hail from Louisiana and made my way to Massachusetts seven years ago. I have loved horses as long as I can remember. My first horse interaction was “Pony Land” in my home town, where for $10 you could take a little Shetland out for a half hour.
In high school I took lessons at Vallian Arabians, and learned the basics, but I always wanted to jump. I made my way to Riverpointe Equestrian Center in Haughton, LA. There I met Alan and Louise Fox. They introduced me to Classical Dressage, Eventing and carriage driving.
I am currently competing at the Preliminary Level, with Julie Wrzesinski’s “Zydeco Nights”. I also have two young horses coming up the Levels.
Rachel’s horse power
My main mount is “Zyedco Nights” or “Zoe” around the barn. She is a 10-year-old Oldenberg. She came to me from Julie’s place in Louisiana in 2014. I needed a competition horse, and Zoe needed a rider. She had done a few B.N and Novice horse trials before I got her. Zoe is one of the classiest horses I’ve ever ridden, her dressage is almost unbeatable… but cross-country was a challenge for us in the
beginning. I call her “The Iron Chicken”, hardy and never lame, but was very skittish in the New England country side. Ditches and cows are on her watch list. Although she is a ginger mare, she is the most solid and consistent competitor – she always gives 110%. She is my greatest achievement, because together we came from Novice to Preliminary. We are planning to contest a one-star this fall.
I also have two young horses: “Mr Rockin West”, or “Rocky” and “Pardon Me” or “Peanut”. Rocky was picked out by my trainers in Louisiana. He is a 6-year-old OTTB. He is the barn “laborador” (according to my vet). I am still trying to convince him that Novice fences do not need 4=foot of clearance. Rocky’s claim to fame is he eats ANYTHING! Peanut was bred by Julie Wrzensinski, and came to us as a weanling. She is the boss of the place. She is currently competing Beginner Novice, and learning how the show world works. I have a bit of a soft spot for Peanut, as she the closest to a homebred we’ve got.
My husband and I have a small boarding and training business. I take in horses in training and teach lessons regularly. I ride at least three a day (but often up to six), five days a week. Since I don’t have an indoor, I ride as much over the winter as I can in my arena, and I travel to a local indoor, or do hills if not too much snow. The past two years I got to go to Aiken for a few weeks, and that was heaven! My horses have a good regimen, and I keep a training log. I try to keep it interesting interchanging: trot sets, gallops, cross-country schools and jumping grids. I also believe in lunge work, and every one gets some type of lunging aerobics weekly. I tend to give everybody a week off at some point in the summer, and a longer break in the winter. I work as a nurse, nights or evening shifts, and can move my real job around to help fit in shows and travel. Here at home in MA, I train with Corinne Ashton. She is no nonsense and practical, but always encouraging me. She has given me those pep talks we all need sometimes, and is honest when it counts. My trainers from Louisiana, Alan and Louise Fox, visit regularly for tune-ups. They have know me my whole career. They support me unwaveringly, and are without a doubt my biggest supporters.
Influence and inspiration
My ‘Village’ includes my wonderful husband, Jim; my in-laws; Alan, Louise and Corinne; and several of my closest friends. The most influential people in my career are Alan & Lou, and Corinne. The Foxes gave me my big break. I became a barn rat at their facility in Louisiana and never left. They would let me ride as many horses as I could throw a leg over. Alan has a gift that, he makes you feel so confident, that you think you could jump the moon. Louise has always been practical. Her down to Earth mentality helps keep me centred and balanced, along with her “make the most with what you’ve got” moto.
I came to Corinne at a time when I needed to fill in little holes in my understanding of certain training concepts. Alan and Louise gave me a super solid education, but there were a few things that I just couldn’t grasp. Corinne really helped bridge my understanding of certain ideas. Someone I really admire is Tamara Smith. She to me is the epitome of a self-made equestrian. She had a ‘real job’, and then made Eventing her career. She has a family and a successful business.
Most embarrassing Eventing moment
My most embarrassing moment…..this year, at my first schooler. I jumped the warm up fence backwards and then proceeded to get bucked off… and broke my ankle. This was my first time to EVER come off at a competition, and to get seriously hurt. No worries, I’m back in the saddle now!
Most triumphant Eventing moment
My greatest accomplishment so far is in 2015 Zoe and I received USEA Blue Ribbon Award and the USEA Gold Medal Both at Training; and we finished 2016 with a win in Open Prelim. Rocky’s first win at his a BN schooling trial, on his dressage score of 27.5 was pretty awesome too.
Training moment, show moment, aha moment….it can be anything. My best moments so far in 2017 is my return to riding after my injury, I was very glad to not be too out of shape. Also, Zoe had suffered a terrible abscess over the winter and she is thankfully recovered.
Best of luck this season Rachel!
If you would like to be featured in Rider Connect, email me