Wellington, FL - October 1, 2014 - Amidst a field of the most competitive junior riders in the nation, Caitlin Boyle is a breath of fresh air. As a working student at Heritage Farm, Boyle must work her way to the apex of horse shows, and hopefully a national equitation finals win.
|Caitlin Boyle rode Loredo to the ASPCA / NHSAA Maclay Region Four Championship.
Photo: Shawn McMillen.
Boyle, 17, from Hampshire, Illinois has become a household name from her impressive wins in the equitation ring. Most recently, she won the ASPCA / NHSAA Maclay Region Four Championship aboard Loredo out of 89 competitors. At Devon this year, she won the prestigious R.W. Mutch Equitation Championship aboard Clearway, securing her place as Best Junior Equitation Rider at Devon. Now, Boyle prepares to continue her winning streak as she enters into the indoor season, where she will compete at the four major equitation finals (USET Finals - East, Pessoa / USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals, WIHS Equitation Finals, and the Alfred B. Maclay ASPCA Maclay Finals).
The Platinum Performance / USET Show Jumping Talent Search Finals begins this Saturday, October 4 with Phase I Flatwork and Phase II Gymnastics, finishing on Sunday with Phase III Jumping and Phase IV, the Final Ride-off. Boyle will ride Zentina B, owned by Lillie Kennan's Chansonette Farm.
|Caitlin Boyle aboard Zentina B. Photo: Shawn McMillen.
"To prepare for USET Finals, we have extremely long flat lessons with no stirrups," said Boyle. "For the gymnastics phase, we practice every exercise in the book (USEF Rule Book Tests 1-19) so we feel prepared when we go."
"I've been doing very well with the open water," she continued. "Tina (Zentina B's barn name) is very good about it and she did it last year so I feel very confident."
After USET Finals, Boyle will continue on to the Pessoa / USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals where she will ride her longtime partner Loredo, owned by Micaela Kennedy. Boyle has been preparing by working on her position and the quintessential forward riding style that the judges look for in the equitation.
"I definitely have to work on position," Boyle said. "And just finding everything right out of stride-I'm always practicing making every distance work."
Last year, Boyle was just out of the top-ten ribbons at Medal Finals and Maclay Finals, placing 11th at both events. But, she did accomplish a fourth place finish at the WIHS Junior Equitation Finals. This year, Boyle is a top contender to walk away with a championship sash and she's more than prepared for any test they throw her way.
"When it comes time for a test, sometimes Loredo can get confused or unsure of what you're asking him to do so you have to be very specific and straight forward," explained Boyle. "When he gets tired, he can become a little sensitive. Knowing that and working through that has been a great accomplishment for me. I always think that if I make it to the testing phase that we can achieve anything because he is such an amazing horse."
|Caitlin Boyle aboard Loredo. Photo: Shawn McMillen.
This will be Boyle's third year riding Loredo at finals. She brought him along from the Grand Prix ring and transformed him into a seasoned equitation horse. To Boyle's credit, Loredo was awarded Best Equitation Horse at this year's Hunterdon Cup Finals, beating out her Devon mount, Clearway, for the honor.
"That was really exciting because he used to be a Grand Prix horse so I've had to work really hard with him for the equitation," Boyle said. "For example, trying to land on both leads instead of being one-leaded, that makes a difference in trying to make it into the top-ten."
Clearly, the hard work that Boyle has put in is paying off as she advances through her last year as a junior rider. Boyle continued, "Going into indoors, I feel really confident with the horses I have and I feel like I can really ride any task that they ask of me. I've really been working a lot on the flat so I hope that will carry through for both Maclay and USET Finals."
|Caitlin is working her way to another equitation championship. Photo: Shawn McMillen.
When the indoor season comes to a close, Boyle will return to Wellington, Florida for the equestrian season where she hopes to work, as well find a junior/amateur jumper before she starts school in September 2015. Boyle plans to attend college and compete on the NCAA riding team at Auburn University. When Boyle completes her education, she has aspirations to ride and train professionally and open her own business.
Caitlin Boyle 2013-2014 Show Highlights:
R.W. Mutch Equitation Champion, Devon - Clearway
1st ASPCA Maclay, Devon - Clearway
1st Platinum Performance/USET Talent Search, Devon - Clearway
1st Hunterdon Cup Perpetual Trophy - Loredo (Loredo won Best Equitation Horse)
1st ASPCA / NHSAA Maclay Regional Championship, Region 4 (out of 89) - Loredo
1st Overall, WIHS, Old Salem Farm May I & II - Clearway
1st Showplace Equitation Championships at Showplace Spring Spectacular Final - Loredo
1st Overall, WIHS Medal, Brandywine Valley Summer Series I & II - Loredo
1st Overall, WIHS Medal, HITS on the Hudson V - Loredo
1st IHJA Junior Medal Finals at Showplace Fall Classic - Loredo
1st M&S Junior Medal Finals at Showplace Fall Classic - Loredo
2nd Pessoa / USEF Hunter Seat Medal, Devon - Clearway
2nd WIHS Medal Class, Devon - Clearway
Winner and Consistent Top Finisher, WIHS Medal, WEF - Clearway
Winner of the Honey Craven Perpetual Trophy, Devon (Highest Score Award)
Consistent Winner and Top Finisher, ASPCA Maclay and WIHS Medals, WEF - Loredo
Top Four Ribbons in every equitation class, Devon - Loredo
1st IHJA Junior Medal Final, at Showplace Fall Classic - Loredo
1st M&S Junior Medal Finals, Showplace Fall Classic - Loredo
1st Zone V Horsemanship Equitation Championships
5th ASPCA / NHSAA Maclay Regional Championship, Region 4 - Loredo
11th (out of 229) Pessoa / USEF Hunter Seat Medal Finals- Loredo
4th Overall, WIHS Junior Equitation Finals - Loredo
11th ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals - Loredo