The Five-Star Equestrian

This past weekend I had the opportunity to cover the Longines Los Angeles Masters Grand Slam at the Los Angeles convention center on behalf of Style My Ride. Anybody who was anybody of the show jumping world was there. McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, Reed Kessler, Paige Johnson, Rodrigo Passoa, Georgina Bloomberg, Kent Farrington, Jessica Springsteen, Richard Spooner, seriously EVERYBODY was there. This incredible event began this past Thursday and wrapped up Sunday with the Longines Grand Prix. 

In addition to world class show jumping, the Los Angeles audience was also treated to performances from ClĂ©mence Faivre and her talented horses Gotan, Adiago, and Romeo. 
Photo from: clemencefaivre.com
Photo from: clemencefaivre.com
The event featured a variety of luxury vendors including, Der Dau, Kingsland, CWD, Horse and Style Magazine, and Valencia Sport Saddlery
Based on the incredible turn out for this event, I would wager that Los Angeles will be hosting another five-star show jumping competition in the near future. 


The Recruited Equestrian

When looking at colleges it was very important to me that there was an equestrian community that I could get involved in. That didn't necessarily mean that I needed to be on a team or part of a club, but that I would at least have access to horses and riding lessons. (One of the main reasons I have never pursued a life in NYC). When I found out that my school participated in the IHSA I was elated.

Competing in the IHSA was my favorite activity while attending college. My desire to get a Bachelor's degree combined with my need to be around the equestrian community was seamlessly joined together by one incredible program. In fact, I liked it so much I continue to show as an Alumni in the Zone 8 region. However, I got very lucky with my school's IHSA team because it was only a handful of girls. Which meant that I always got to compete in my jumping and flat classes. This is not always the case with larger colleges or colleges with competitive equestrian programs.

The UCSC Hunt Seat Team
The University of Delaware Hunt Seat Team

In order to participate on my school's team, I just had to show up to the evaluation lesson and show that I could ride at the IHSA level I wanted to compete in. Had my team been bigger, I would probably have had to alternate being able to show with another girl or girls. If I had decided to go to a school whose equestrian team competed at the NCAA level or had a large IHSA team, there's a chance I would have had to make a recruitment video.

A recruitment video is crucial for coaches that are unable to hold in person tryouts for prospective students. Therefore it is very important that a recruitment video be the best visual representation of the athlete and their skills. 

For high schoolers and community college equestrians who have been asked to submit a recruitment video here are my tips for you:

1. Think of a recruitment video as a visual resume. First things first, you want to include your name, education, and contact information. Then you want to include your past "work" history and your skills. Visually this can be represented by a clip from a winning Medal class or a clip from a clinic you rode in.

2. Unless specified, the total running time of your recruitment video should be around 5 minutes. Use a variety of clips (roughly 15-30 seconds each) that highlight your talents. If you have a (~ 1 min) video of a particularly good round that you think showcases your abilities, include that round. A collegiate level coach does not have the time or energy to watch 10 minute long submissions, if the talent is there, they will see it. 

3. Remember who this video is for. It's one thing to make a nice little compilation of your riding to show family and friends, it's another to show it to a prospective college coach. Personally, I recommend against using music entirely. If you only have access to video footage with annoying talking in the background or lots of wind noise, then I would recommend cutting the sound out entirely. If you feel the need to add music, do not use anything contemporary! Try using jazz or classical music so as not to distract the recruiter from the main focus, YOU! Additionally, the camera work should be steady and focused. Try to avoid shaky hand held camera work and videos shot from far away. 

5. Finally, a recruitment video is an investment in your future and can play a crucial role in where you spend your college years. If you are unfamiliar with video equipment and editing don't try to DIY. Enlist the help of an experienced videographer or a company that specializes in piecing together footage. (Or if you're in the Los Angeles area you can contact me!) 

A great resource is the USEF Network Youtube channel. Watch how their camera professionals film jumping and equitation rounds. The lack of music and expert camera work allows the viewer to focus on the rider as if they were in the stands watching in person.

Being able to continue your equestrian career into your collegiate years is a wonderful opportunity. Just as you take the time to study for the SAT, the ACT, or your AP exams, you should take the time to craft an excellent recruitment video.


The Modern Sandal

These chic sandals come from American designer Katharine Page. With an emphasis on quality of construction and design, these equestrian inspired sandals are sure to have horse show fashionistas and street style icons turning heads. I first saw them HERE on Reed Kessler's instagram in May and have obsessed ever since!

From the Katharine Page. website: "For decades, fashion has looked to the equestrian lifestyle for inspiration, but rarely have designers known the passion of the equestrian life firsthand. The brand, Katharine Page, was born out of this passion." Amen! 

Del Mar