by Katherine O. Rizzo
(first appeared in the May 2013 issue of  The Equiery)

When this year’s Equiery Perpetual Hunter Award Winner Lily Reddish first sat on a pony, her parents Laura and Rod did not know that just a few short years later, their daughter would not only be showing, but showing competitively both on the local and national levels. “I had taken some riding lessons as a kid but we wanted Lily to be exposed to lots of different activities,” Laura said pointing out that Lily has tried all kinds of sports. “When it came to riding, it was the one sport she just kept asking to do,” she added. “It looked like a fun sport and the more I did it, the more I thought it was cool and fun,” Lily said.

While in the Day Riders program at C and C Stable with Adriane Vogel, Lily got a taste of competition, showing locally on a pony named Gryffindor that her parents bought her. “I’m telling you, we knew nothing about horses and showing. It was great to be working with a trainer we trusted so well,” Laura said. A few years later, Lily entered sixth grade at the McDonogh School in Owings Mill and at first had no intention of riding, but a lot of her new friends were in the riding program so Lily gave it a try. She instantly caught the eye of trainer Amy Moore who talked with the Reddish family about making a plan for Lily’s competitive future. “She was like a sponge. She wanted to learn something from every pony and every lesson,” Amy said. “When Lily got to working with Amy, it was like going from A to Z,” Laura added.

Pony Power
Although Gryffindor was a fantastic pony, Amy suggested that Lily take a year to lease some of the more experienced ponies from McDonogh. The Reddish family donated their pony to the program and Lily began riding the super pony duo of Hillcrest Treasure Chest and Sham’s Loganberry. Sound familiar? Those names should, as they have guided now three young riders to winning this Equiery award.

“Logan is a really nice pony. He listens very well and is fun to jump,” Lily said of Sham’s Loganberry. “Logan is a wonderful teacher and a proven winner. I thought it would be a great opportunity for her to experience what an amazing pony could do for her riding and confidence,” Amy added. Competing in the Small/Medium Children’s divisions, Logan and Lily proved to be unstoppable, winning at several big shows.

Lily said that State College was her favorite show of the 2012 season because it was her first big rated show. The pair was champion both days. With Charlie (Hillcrest Treasure Chest), Lily found herself winning at Zone Finals and placing in the top ten with Logan as well. Lily said this was her most challenging competition of the year because it was her first time showing in an indoor.

As for Amy, she felt that every show was a high spot of 2012, stating, “Lily and Logan had a great season. Every time she showed Logan, it was a highlight for me to see her grow.” And we cannot forget Pony Finals! There she rode Jumpin’ Jack Splash to 26th in a field of 110 ponies. “I feel like this was a really big moment for Lily in 2012. She had such a great jump round,” Laura said, adding that the whole season showing was a great learning experience for Lily and her family.

School and Horses

Lily & Charlie (Hillcrest Treasure Chest) on their way to winning at the WIHS Zone Finals ©Shawan McMillen Photography

Being both an athlete and a student can be hard. Riding and spending time at the barn while keeping good grades and doing homework can be a big balancing act. Not to mention that Lily also plays lacrosse for McDonogh. “It was all very challenging at first but things are easier this year,” Lily said. Her day starts early and ends late with classes before lacrosse practice followed by riding. She typically makes it home after 6 p.m. to eat dinner and get started on homework.
“Lily is extremely organized and very dedicated. She is such a self-motivated kid and is able to do a lot of juggling to get it all done,” Laura said. Amy added, “She is a determined, hard-working kid. Any goal she sets for herself she will be able to achieve.”

Setting goals and having dedication seems to be a theme for Lily. When asked if she would ever try other equestrian sports outside of hunters, she said she’d like to try eventing some day but probably would only compete in hunters because she wants to stay committed to one sport to be able to perform at her best. Her advice for other young riders is very similar stating, “If you want to do it, you must be committed and put the work into it to be able to go far and succeed.”

A Banner Year

Lily & Logan (Sham’s Loganberry) at State College

Lily will tell you herself that she did not start the 2012 season with the goal of winning this award or really any big wins at all. “I just really wanted to do well and learn as much as I could,” she said. Of course, success just fuels confidence and her year with Logan brought both.

Just a few of her big show championship titles include State College Classic Horse Show, Culpeper Finale Horse Show, McDonogh Spring Classic 1 and 2 as well as the McDonogh Spring Show and Boumi Temple Mounted Patrol Horse Show. She also placed third in the Medal Finals with Logan.

With Charlie, Lily earned the championship at the Washington International Horse Show Regional and Zone 3 finals.

Winning the Equiery award was just icing on the cake. “I am really excited to have won. It just shows how much my hard work with Logan has paid off,” Lily said. “It does make it all worth it,” Laura said, adding, “To see her working so hard to meet goals…even if she didn’t win, the whole year was still an accomplishment.”

In addition to the Equiery award, Lily earned several year-end awards including the MHSA Small/Medium Children Pony Championship and MHSA Children’s Pony Grand Championship. She was also awarded the USHJA Silver Cup National High Point Children’s Pony Award.

Future Plans

Lily and her new pony China Hill

Lily does not see herself stopping riding any time soon. “I’m going to want to do this for a long time,” she said, hinting that she’d like to move up to junior hunters soon. For the 2013 season, Lily has moved on from Logan and Charlie and now is working with a new pony, China Hill, for whom her parents arranged a lease to buy. “We are happy to give her as much support as we can,” Laura said.

Lily and China Hill have not shown yet as the pony is only eight years old and still green. “ I just want to do well and be able to ride her well,” Lily said adding, “She loves to jump and is really helping me to become a better rider.” Amy has no doubt that the pair will be winning soon, saying, “She is very patient with her ponies. She always is working with the pony to get the most out of it. She is using what she learned on Logan to make the next champion.”

As for Logan, he’s off to teach another young rider what it is like to compete on the rated circuit. Could Summerylnd Nelson be the next Equiery Perpetual Award winner? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Lily with her trainer Amy Moore and several year-end awards