The Equestrian Guide January 2023

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Sire: Sultan's GreatDay(WC) Dam: Harlem's LadyLouise

by COVEREO BRIDGE FARM Simpsonville, Kentucky o:, Singing HillsStable STANDING AT STUD Gene & Annalize van der Walt (503) 680-3808, Gene (971) 235-9520, Annalize Stanton, Kentucky BOOK ONLINE AT WWW.SINGING HI LLSSTABLE,C1 DESIGM av WWW.CAITUIIREASOM.COM 20 01W

Avery Halminiak grew up in Evergreen, Colorado, until her sophomore year of high school, when her family moved to Lake Forest, IL. She has had an appreciation for horses since she was very young. Her mother's childhood passion for horseback riding had been the driving force behind her desire to learn the sport. The excitement of seeing her mother's childhood riding pictures made her continuously ask her parents for riding lessons.

Avery's experience in this industry has been different than most. In 2009, her riding instructor, Vicki Hill, granted her Student Spotlight OfThe Month for her exemplary work ethic. Avery was a work-study student who worked two nights a week at the barn and was a babysitter part-time to afford her riding lessons. Her family was leasing "Flame"for the 2010 show season in the Academy Walk/Trot/Canter division. Vicki Hill said, "This is the first time I have seen a rider work at this level to achieve her goal of competitive riding.

Avery's efforts exemplify the developmental pull this sport can have on a student. It doesn't have to be a financial burden, but it can be an opportunity to spur the responsibility and drive of a student because they are willing to work more for a live animal they love:'The experience Avery has gained over the years has been gratifying. She has had opportunities to catch ride, work, and learn for many different trainers and owners.

While she works full-time in commercial real estate, one of Avery's goals is to start an academy program this year. Teaching has always been a great joy to Avery; she loves seeing riders reach their goals. Avery is incredibly passionate about the saddlebred industry and the horses within it, understanding that its future is still being determined with lesson programs.

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How did you make your way to Willow Way Stables?

During last season Ihad the opportunity to work horse shows in Kentucky, and as much as Iknew that Ihad to return home everytime we loaded the last horse onto the trailer, the idea of not leaving was always a joke among our team. On American Royal's last day, while everyone else was packing up and heading home, Iwas busy posting my Chicago apartment on Facebook Marketplace and planning my move to Kentucky.

The beautiful horses Nicola showed at All-American last year drew me in immediately, but her interactions with her employees put Nicola and Willow Way on my radar. When watching her work horses that week, it was clear that everyone enjoyed being around her; she happily shared her knowledge with those around her and did so with a calming demeanor. As someone once said, "if you're not having fun, it isn't worth doing" - Nicola and DJ turn out some of the best horses this industry has seen in a while, ensuring everyone is having a good time doing it! Iknow they have so much to teach me, and Ican't wait to learn.

What professional/experience/mentor has inspired your way of instruction?

Ihave not met a trainer in this industry that hasn't taught me a thing or two. However, the mentor that has shaped my life in this industry is Carri Hammond. Meeting Carri was like being sprinkled with fairy dust. Iwas 14 years old when we were at the Almost Summer Horse Show in Colorado, and Ihad spent the week working for another barn. It was a challenging week for me; Ihad a lot going on at home and couldn't get overthe fact that Ididn't have a horse to show. Iwanted a show horse more than you could imagine; however, it wasn't in the cards for my family. It was Saturday night, and Carri had just won a big class and the "CH" Status on her country pleasure horse CH High Times High Priority (who we called number three). When Iwent to congratulate her that night, she gave me a big hug and said, "You know what, Ave?! You are going to start showing number three for me:' Icouldn't stop crying. Ihave never met someone so selfless. She flew me down to Albuquerque to practice and paid to have me show number three for many seasons. She taught me everything from how to get a horse light in the bridle to the importance of treating people with respect.

Her wisdom and guidance showed me the importance of karma and taught me that hard work and perseverance are essential. She always had so much going on, yet she knew how to get it done efficiently. Carri woke up every morning at 2:30 am to go to the farm, where she would work a string of horses, mow the lawn, and take care of her parents, all before heading to Iheart Radio, where she had a full-time job. To this day, there isn't a thing Carri can't do. Her generosity was unparalleled on that Saturday night at Almost Summer Horse Show. However, that is not even the most impressive part; that is how Carri treats every single person who crosses her path daily. She changed my life that night, and Iwanted to pay the deed forward. Ihope some little girl or boy will one day look up to me the way Ilook up to Carri.

What does a beginner lesson look like?

A significant fundamental for beginners is to work with and around a horse; brushing, leading, saddling, and unsaddling. This creates a relationship between horse and rider; therefore, equine body language is taught. This improves riding and how riders read and respond to horses. As the rider progresses, we will focus more on the fundamentals of equitation by teaching riders how to guide, balance work the bridle, and make the horse carry itself correctly.

What would a training equitation riders lesson look like?

Riders will be encouraged to come to the barn multiple times a week. While Idon't think equitation riders or any rider that shows need to ride their show horse numerous times a week, they must get lots of time in the saddle. After all, practice makes perfect; lunge lessons are critical to any show rider's success, so we will be doing lots of them.

What would a show-rider lesson look?

Answering such a question is never easy because not one size fits everyone. There are numerous variables to consider, including the class of the rider, their show horse and experience level, their goals within the sport, and the timeline involved. Generally speaking, Ifocus on helping riders feel as comfortable on horseback as possible while developing a partnership with the animal. Iwant the riders to be able to feel the horse. Lessons also emphasize self-control away from the hands (reins) and legs (stirrups) - so that as they progress, they can do more with less.

Will you offer camps or fun programs adults or kids can sign up for this year or in the future?

Ifirmly believe that our attitude to one thing reflects our attitude toward all things. That's why it's essential to focus on providing quality lessons, programs, and events rather than offering a large volume of services. I'm looking forward to developing camps and fun adult programs in the future, but my main priority is a solid client base for now. Iintend to use the next six months to build an academy show team.

Will you be working more with Willow Way as they travel to shows this year, or will you strictly give lessons at home?

Iplan to work with Willow Way as often as my schedule allows. Ilove horse shows, and watching young weanlings grow up and turn into show horses is gratifying. Having recently bought my first breeding to Undulata's Nutcracker, the breeding side of this industry holds a great deal of excitement for me. During my time at Willow way, Iwant to learn about showing, breeding, and pairing teams as much as possible.

What can you offer riders in the area who ride somewhere else but still want to come to try a lesson with you?

The industry needs a program like ours. Everyone has something to teach us, and learning from different people can help us become better riders. We offer riders a unique perspective, different horses, and new friend groups, all while supporting their home barns. Our program is ideal for this purpose. It provides an opportunity to learn from multiple sources while allowing riders to stay connected with the barns they know and love. With our program, riders can gain valuable experience that will help them excel in the industry.

Who are your lesson horses, and what kind of riders would you put on each one?

In terms of lesson horses -we have a variety of mounts ranging from beginner school masters to experienced show horses -each being customizable for whatever level rider is onboard! Depending on the rider's current abilities & future goals, we match them accordingly so they can get the best out of each lesson!