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World Equestrian

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FEATURE: THE IMPORTANCE OF AN EDUCATION STYLE RIDER: MAYA SCHNEIDER • STYLE PROFILES: BACK TO BASICS GREEN LIFESTYLE: HUNTSMEN & HOUNDS

by Danielle Demers photos by Alexis Manning & Andrew Ryback

Maya Schneider

photo © Andrew Ryback photo © Andrew Ryback

While Maya Schneider’s talents are many – she’s an accomplished equestrian, has an amazing, effortless sense of style, and has made a career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner – her compassion and civic sensibility are the qualities that immediately endeared her to us...

Schneider is a strong advocate for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in our sport. Participating in a number of panel discussions since June, Schneider was recently invited to be a part of the USHJA’s “Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Committee,” which is currently developing training and activities to benefit the equestrian community and fellow USHJA members.

Schneider grew up in Northern California where she competed on the “A” circuit throughout her junior and young amateur careers. After taking a hiatus from the sport to pursue higher education, Schneider made her way back to the saddle, riding with Sarah Barge at Stone Lane Farms in West Bloomfield, NY and competing in the adult amateur hunter divisions on the East Coast. Schneider currently lives in Rochester, NY with her husband Todd and two Goldendoodles, Douglas and Trixie.

Horse & Style: Describe your riding (apparel) style:

Maya Schneider: I would describe my style as classic, though I do like to have fun and to push the boundaries of classic subtlety. I show in a custom navy Samshield helmet and have custom dark navy Tucci boots with crocodile toe caps and top details. I also own grey Tucci paddock boots

photo © Alexis Manning

and half-chaps. One of my shads is a green and grey coat with light purple piping. They are all less bold than they sound!

H&S: What is your head-to-toe riding outfit?

MS: I typically show in Samshield, Struck or Schockemöhle breeches, Charles Ancona jackets, Essex Classic show shirts, and my belts usually offer a pop of color. I wear a variety of brands of schooling breeches paired with Tailored Sportsman or Ariat sun shirts or a Free x Rein bodysuit.

H&S: Do you wear anything for good luck?

MS: I don’t really have something I wear for luck. As a junior, I used to be very superstitious and would paint my nails to match my show shirt, but that was also when more colorful show shirts were trendy. Only a little of that superstition remains: I always wear the same jewelry and a little makeup.

H&S: What are your favorite equestrian brands?

MS: There are a lot of great brands I like – too many to mention. I always like to try new things. In particular, I like the moto bodysuits by Free x Rein and breeches by Struck. Free x Rein’s bodysuits are flattering and look great after the barn – I just trade out breeches for jeans or shorts. I’m 5’5” and have a curvy figure so I appreciate brands who make clothing that flatter different body types. I also have a few items from the Kerrits Infinity show collection; my favorite is their mesh coat. I love Tucci boots. They offer such beautiful leather colors, and I own pairs in grey, navy, and black.

H&S: How would you describe your nonhorseshow style?

MS: My non-show style is classic and simple. I like clothes you can dress up with a pair of heels or wear casually with sandals or sneakers. I tend to wear jeans and a shirt, usually with a French tuck, a classic belt, Converse low-top slip-ons, Katharine Page sandals, and fun heels or wedges with a cute jacket to dress it up.

H&S: How do you handle high-pressure situations, for example, right before you enter a big class?

MS: I do best when I’m able to relax and not think about the class too much. Working out can be a nice way to get rid of nervous energy, and so can something distracting like listening to music. The type of music depends on my mood, but usually, my go-to’s are ‘90s or early 2000s hits on Apple music.

H&S: What are your riding goals?

MS: My immediate goal is to get a new horse to compete with in the Amateur Owner hunters. My more long-term goals are to qualify for and compete at Devon and indoors, and to ride in an International Hunter Derby. H&S: What are your career goals?

MS: I’m a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Working during the pandemic, providing telemental health services, helped me to learn that I would like to establish a private telehealth practice that would enable me to travel more easily to horse shows. When I was getting my doctorate from Vanderbilt University, I also developed an interest in teaching and would someday like to teach nursing at the college level.

H&S: What was the most influential moment in your riding career?

MS: The most influential experience I had was winning the Adult Hunter Classic one year at the Menlo Charity Horse Show with second-round scores of a 90 from George Morris, a 91 from Joe Fargis and a 93 from Scott Hofstetter. Since then, the closest I’ve gotten to those scores was an 87, but I know I can get those scores again. With the right partner, my riding goals are achievable.

H&S: What’s the one thing you never go in the ring without?

MS: I’m still a little superstitious and wear my Apple Watch (on “do not disturb” while in the ring), my earrings that never come off (barring a special occasion), and two enamel Hermès bracelets. I always wear a little bit of makeup when I’m showing.