Working in the horse industry: A 100 day recap

If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about my recent professional transition into the horse industry, it’s that I feel home. In the past 3+ months I’ve reconnected with quite a few old friends, met some amazing new people, and gotten to do many of the things I love (professionally). Here’s a recap, with photos, of some of the coolest experiences in my first few months with Cavalor. There have been lessons learned along the way and mistakes made, but so far I’ve had the opportunity to do what I love professionally (marketing) in an industry I’m passionate about (horses).

Behind the Friday Night Freestyle with Jan Ebeling

IMG_5461One of my first projects with Cavalor was to go behind the scenes of what it takes to lead up to a Friday Night Grand Prix Freestyle. We documented the preparation throughout the week on Snapchat, but I also photographed and captured video.

It was the first interview I did with one of our sponsored riders. I remember watching Jan compete with Rafalca in London in 2012, and admittedly I was a little starstruck. But Jan put me at ease. He sat down with me and we chatted about his experience on Cavalor. The difference in Rafalca, the improvement he saw in his horses.

Lesson: Even when you are intimidated, it’s better to dive in head first than to dip a toe in the water first. 

Reconnecting with old friends

IMG_5705Stef and I met when we were 11 years old. She’s actually the person that introduced Kaitlyn and I to each other all those years ago. These days Stef is grooming for Karen Polle, an up and coming international jumper rider who rides for Japan. When I started with Cavalor I texted her to let her know. Her response?

“Stop it are you really?? We feed Cavalor, we love it!”

Despite not seeing her in a few years, we got together, I got to meet (and take a selfie with) the famous “With Wings” and Karen and catch up with Stef. It’s extra fun to cheer on Karen and Wings knowing that they are fueled by Cavalor feeds!

I’ve seen my friend Nikki a few times. She’s the friend who we sold my project horse Zena to when I was in college. Zena went on to compete through Intermediate with Nikki and is now teaching a young girl to event out in California.

Lesson: The horse world is small, and the relationships we build have the potential to last a lifetime. Build them, nurture them, savor them. 

Nations Cup: Ocala

IMG_6192I have made two trips to Ocala so far. The first was the weekend of the Nations Cup in mid February, when we had the opportunity to work with the Maddens. Beezie was on the Nations Cup team competing that weekend, and she was willing to walk the course with us, and share her strategy for that weekend competing with Breitling.

Beezie is the consummate horseman. She’s got an amazing feel for horses, and watching her compete with Breitling gave me the chills. She had a brilliant double clear around a hard course. I fell in love with show jumping when she competed in the Olympics with Authentic, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work with the Maddens.

Lesson: Take advantage of every opportunity when you are around top level riders. The dedication, passion and perseverance that got them to the top of their sport can be emulated in your professional life. 

Interviewing Steffen Peters

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Steffen Peters doesn’t spend much time in Florida each year, but this winter he spent a bit of extra time so that he would be there for the World Cup qualifying classes.

We had some fun ideas for a video with him, but some changes to the show schedule meant that we did a more standard interview instead of the fun game we had planned.

This past winter I purchased a drone. I’m interested in aerial photography and videography, and as it turns out, Steffen really enjoys flying drones too. He agreed to let me film his ride on Bailarino with the drone, since I hadn’t flown it around horses yet. I spent a few hours at the farm filming with my DSLR waiting for him to ride his quiet chestnut Bailarino. When he got on, I took the drone up, and realized I couldn’t record what I was seeing. After all my equipment checking the night before, I found that I forgot the Micro SD card that goes in the drone’s camera.

Lesson: We are all human. It’s okay to make mistakes, but try to only make each mistake once. ALWAYS learn from them.

World Cup: Omaha

I’ve never been to a World Cup before. We had a booth this year, and for me and Marion it was an opportunity for us to get to know our company’s founder. Peter Bollen founded Cavalor in Belgium in 1989. We asked a lot of questions, we talked a lot about horses, we drank wine, ate ice cream and learned more about what makes our products so different.  We hosted an autograph signing with Steffen, and cheered him on as he competed with Rosie. We met a lot of new people, and saw some of the same people we’ve seen through the season.

Lesson: Never say no to new opportunities, but always present your best self. You never know who you may meet, who’s already standing next to you, and who they may know. 

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Rolex 3DE

This was my first Rolex. THE JUMPS ARE HUGE. Really. I think that’s one of the biggest things that stood out. I thought walking a 1.60m show jumping course was big, but that was nothing compared to these XC fences. But the thing that really stood out was how nice everyone was. We hosted autograph signings with both Will Coleman and Matt Brown, and we did a live streamed course walk with Will. We hosted the course walk through Eventing Nation’s Facebook page, and although we were prepared, during the live stream the service cut in and out. Next time, I will have a mobile hotspot, but for this time we had a good walk with a good group of people. We could have better promoted the events we did onsite, but overall each was a success.

Lesson: Always have a backup plan. Do your best in the moment and keep trucking ahead even when things don’t go your way. 

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Making new friends

One of my favorite things from the past few months is the people I’ve met. The thing about this industry is that we’re all so passionate about the horses. No matter what the discipline, we share a common interest in the animals. There’s nothing like building friendship over horses, good food and wine.

Lesson: Enjoy every opportunity. Great friends are built over delicious food and plentiful wine. 
Friends

Selfies with famous horses

Because who doesn’t get giddy when they see the horses they’ve watched on TV?

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Left: Legolas – Steffen Peter’s Rio 2016 Olympic – Team Bronze Right: Voyeur – Kent Farrington’s Rio 2016 Olympic mount – Team Silver

 

 

 

 

Kelsey has a B.A. and M.A. from Elon University, and a deep love for horses and digital media. As a lifelong horse lover, ECN was built to help college students and young professionals realize the endless potential for a rewarding career with horses.

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