Oct 02, 2022

Change of Rein: Rosie Smith's Journey from Reining to the #2022AEC

USEA/ Hope Carlin photo

Rosie Smith’s rose gold accented helmet matched her perfectly tidy bun of red hair as she took the third spot in the USEA Training Rider Championship at the 2022 USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) presented by Nurena Feeds. Every little detail came together while aboard her trusted partner of nine years: the 20-year-old Connemara Irish Draught named Seamus (by Corrcullen, RID). But Smith’s first jump, back when she was only 15 years old, wasn’t with an English saddle.

“I was actually at a reining clinic at the Golden Spike event center, which hosts a recognized USEA event, and I was done with the clinic and just out hacking with my friends. We wandered onto the cross-country course and I was like, ‘What are all of these logs and stuff out here?’ and then we thought, oh they’re jumps!” said Smith. “We did some jumps with our little western horses in our western saddles. It wasn’t the prettiest thing but I thought it was so fun, I was hooked.”

Smith actually started riding western at age three and she got her first pony when she was eight. By complete coincidence, Smith’s piano teacher had horses and had stumbled upon an internet ad for a cheap pony. The deal was if Smith’s parents bought her the pony, the piano teacher would let her keep it at her farm. Any horse person would know that those two words (cheap + pony) are a recipe for disaster, but luckily Smith’s parents weren’t horse-people and so they bought the pony for Smith to do 4-H with.

“He was actually a retired junior rodeo bucking horse when I got him, so you can imagine how that was,” said Smith. “I fell off him every time I rode him. He was terrible but he taught me how to ride really well so I’m forever grateful to little Hercules.” A couple more naughty ponies later, Smith said she earned her first “good horse”—a reining horse named Nick who had been to the World Championships in Oklahoma a few times.

She thought, “I have this super awesome reining horse, I should do some reining.” So she did, and they were a stellar team. So stellar in fact that Smith also did some barrel racing with him and now, every winter, she takes him out to do skijoring—a sport in which a person on skis is pulled behind a horse. But whatever happened after that impromptu jump post-reining clinic?

“I took some lessons with Nick and I did one schooling show with him in Intro and he was such a good boy—jumping was not his thing,” said Smith. “He tried so hard for me. I ended up leasing a Warmblood after that.” With the leased mare being a bit on the older side, an injury to the mare forced Smith to explore other options but it wasn’t too long before Smith found herself with two horses. One was Seamus, who actually was a failed adult amateur horse, and the other was the colt of the retired mare.

Smith’s world has slowed down a bit since the AEC at Rebecca Farm, but slowing down for Smith isn’t exactly what we would call a vacation. She is actually studying at Colorado College in Colorado Springs and majoring in Organismal Biology and Ecology. She’s on the pre-med track and has dreams of becoming an emergency room doctor, so she can afford to keep riding of course.

“I love eventing, it’s just my passion,” said Smith. Her 4-year-old colt joins her at college this semester and she has plans to event him separately from her captain position on the IHSA collegiate team. And as for Seamus, Smith is going to see how he feels in the spring after a long season off. She moved him down from Preliminary this year just to have fun with him as he ages and she’s happy to keep doing whatever keeps him happy. “He’s been in the top three in every event I took him to. He’s a superstar, that horse.”

They do say that bad horses make good riders but there’s something to be said about those good riders returning the favor and producing those naughty horses into tried and true companions. Smith spoke about each of her steeds, leased or owned, with a fondness that can only come from a mature horsewoman who genuinely loves the horse first and sport second, embodying the eventing spirit to a T.

Sep 27, 2023 Competitions

Fast Facts: 2023 USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships

With the goal of creating a pathway for young horses in the U.S. and participants of the USEA Young Event Horse (YEH) Program, earlier this year the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) and USEA joined forces to launch the USEF/USEA Developing Horse Eventing National Championships for 6- and 7-year-olds.

Sep 26, 2023 Eventing News

The Race to Le Lion: Gina Set to Receive 2023 Holekamp/Turner Grant

The United States Eventing Association (USEA) is pleased to announce that Gina, owned by Corwin Sport Horses, LLC, is the likely recipient of the 2023 Holekamp/Turner Grant and The Dutta Corp. prize. Gina (Gentleman x Ballerina) is a 7-year-old Hanoverian mare ridden by Chris Talley and was bred by Hartwig Von Holten in Germany.

Sep 26, 2023 Competitions

Start Your Engines—Starter Level to Be USEA Recognized for 2024 Eventing Season

At the August USEA Board of Governors meeting, a proposition was brought forth to officially recognize what is commonly referred to as “Starter level” as a USEA division. For many years now, Starter level has been offered as a test at USEA approved events. The decision to recognize the level officially would allow those competing in Starter level divisions to receive recognition on the USEA Leaderboards and to compete at the Starter level at the USEA American Eventing Championships (AEC) in the future. The motion was approved to recognize this level, and the USEA staff have been hard at work preparing all of the rules, guidelines, and standards that will go along with this level’s recognition for the 2024 season.

Sep 25, 2023 Eventing News

Four-Star Victory by Karma and Alliston Have Them Ready to Take on the World

Karma is developing into one of the fastest and most-reliable cross-country horses in the West. The 9-year-old bay Oldenburg mare and James Alliston won their third-straight blue ribbon together at either the four-star or Advanced level in the CCI4*-S at the Twin Rivers Fall International in Paso Robles, California, with the only double-clear cross-country round on Saturday.

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