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April Rider of the Month
Our April EFO ROM, is a hardworking and humble equestrian. Currently based out of British Columbia, Canada, this equestrian is focused on improving and developing her knowledge of the sport with her equine partner Dharma. This dynamic duo has proven to be a force to reckon with in the jumper ring and we are so excited to have her featured as our April EFO ROM!
Continue reading to check out the full interview with the lovely Cassidy Booth!
1. How did you enter the Equestrian Industry?
According to my mom, when I was 5 years old, I asked her out of the blue when my first riding lesson was. My mom was pretty confused because I’d never talked about wanting to ride horses before that moment, but I was quite adamant about getting started. Not long after that conversation, I was in my first pony summer camp. After being an equestrian for 17 years, I have since graduated from the once pony-crazed little girl to the now horse-obsessed amateur.
2. What is the first memory you have with horses?
One of the first concrete memories I have involving horses was when I picked out a pony’s hoof for the first time. I remember being so proud of myself that I called my grandma right away to tell her that "I did it!” Needless to say, picking out hooves became one of my favourite steps in the grooming process.
3. Did you always know that you would be working with horses as a profession?
I'm actually an amateur! When I was younger I saw myself working professionally in the equestrian industry, but I decided to take a different path and become a nurse.
4. What does an average day look like for you?
Working as a nurse, my “work days” involve 12 hour shifts at the hospital from 7am to 7pm.
My trainers and I work together to create a schedule that ensures my mare is exercised and taken care of when I'm at work. On days where I'm scheduled to work a night shift at the hospital, I'm able to get to the barn in the morning and ride or lesson before heading back home to squeeze in a nap before I start my night shift (7pm - 7am). My days off always include a trip to the barn to hack or have a lesson, grabbing a Starbucks, and walking my dogs.
5. What are the most common challenges you face (outside of physically riding)?
I would say one of the biggest challenges I struggle with is overthinking and anxiety. I'm always reminding myself that I can’t control everything and that it's okay, it is what it is.
6. Do you have any suggestions for young riders aspiring to show at the level you do?
Be patient and work hard. I love the saying “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” because it rings true. Good things take time, hard work, and dedication. Always remember to ensure your having fun and appreciate these amazing animals that allow us to do what we love most.
7. What are some of the most common challenges you face with your riding?
I always strive for perfection, and when things go wrong, I'm very hard on myself. I'm constantly reminding myself that aiming for perfection one hundred percent of the time is not realistic. Making mistakes is okay and a part of the never-ending learning process of this sport.
8. If you could spend a day doing a different sport, what would it be and why?
Probably basketball. I played on my high school's team from grade 7-12, and I miss it quite a bit.
9. If you weren't in the Equestrian Industry, what do you think you would be doing instead and why? (career wise)
I'm an acute care nurse! As much as I thought I would be working professionally in the equestrian industry when I was younger, I’m thrilled with the career path I chose. Nursing is not easy, but I enjoy being able to help people for a living. I'm fortunate to be able to balance my career as a nurse in addition to horse ownership and competing.
10. What accomplishment are you most proud of within the Equestrian Industry? (Does not have to be show related)
I've had to overcome quite a few adversities these last few years in order to get where I am now. My gelding needed to be retired due to injuries four years ago, leaving me inconsistently riding different horses. I had set goals for myself and sadly had to realize that I might not achieve them. I felt defeated, like I didn't have a clear direction as to where I was going in the sport. I couldn't bring myself to give up, and pushed to find a solution to bring me closer to my dreams. This led me to my heart horse, Dharma. Without her, I wouldn't have found the motivation to reach my goal of jumping the 1.30m's consistently, with aspirations to move up. I'm proud of myself for not giving up when I was down, and continuing to grow as a rider from the adversities I've faced.
11. The most memorable horse which you have owned or ridden is _____ and why? Without a doubt, my mare Dharma. She's a strongly opinionated, sensitive mare but I wouldn't trade her for anything. Dharma took me from the 1.15m's to the 1.30m's in just a couple of months. I feel so confident on her because I know I can always trust her to take me to the other side of the fence (even during my amateur moments). She's always 100% game for any challenge we may face in or out of the show ring. Dharma is every amateur's dream, a great teammate, and my heart horse. I'm so lucky to be able to call her mine!
12. What is the one thing you can never go to a horse-show without? (i.e. lucky socks)
I could never go to a horse-show without my helmet, saddle, and tall boots. I also have an Alex and Ani "Girl Power" bracelet that I make sure I'm always wearing when Dharma and I go into the show ring.
13. Do you have any horse-show rituals? (other than getting Tim’s at 4am)
I always make sure I take my horse out for an early morning hack every day that I'll be competing. Morning hacks are super beneficial to help get the horse relaxed and loose. It also allows me as an amateur to relax and loosen up before competing later on in the day. If I'm showing in the afternoon I sometimes grab a crepe at Thunderbird for breakfast (The “Ana Banana” is the best!)
14. What is your favourite post-horseshow thing to do? (i.e. relax with a glass of wine, unpack the trailer etc.)
Unwinding with a glass of wine and checking out my photos and videos from the show is my favourite post-show ritual! When I’m at the barn next, I unpack my tack trunk and get my show laundry done over the span of a couple days.
15. Does your horse have a favourite treat? If so, what is it?
Oddly enough, Dharma’s favourite treat are jelly beans!
16. What do you like to do when you manage to get some time off and away from the barn?
My time away from the barn is either spent in Vancouver hanging out with friends or doing outdoor activities.
17. Describe your dream vacation (does not have to be horse related)
I’ve always wanted to go to Greece, everything about it looks so beautiful!
18. What are you most grateful for at your barn?
I'm most grateful for the sense of community and reliability within my barns team. On days where I am unable to make it down to ride or care for Dharma, I know without a doubt that she will be well taken care of. From my trainers, to the barn staff and the other clients, teamwork really does make the dream work. I'm incredibly thankful for them.
19. Describe the funniest wardrobe malfunction that you have had when riding?
At a show last fall I was at the in-gate waiting to go in for my round, when I realized that the zipper on my white breeches was down. I noticed before walking in the gate, but I have no idea how long it was down before I realized!
20. What is your go-to late night snack?
Popcorn, for sure.
Would you rather... (bold one)
Be forced to show in paddock boots and polos or Hunter rain boots?
Show in a sleeveless shirt or a bright neon green show coat?
Fall in the warm-up ring or go into the ring with a very mud covered horse?
Split your breeches in the ring or have your reins break mid-course?
Have your horse refuse a jump or not even make it down the shoot?
Swim in the ocean with your horse or travel the mountains via horseback?
Cassidy, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions. We are so excited to feature you as our EFO ROM for April. Wishing you all the best, we will be cheering you on for years to come!
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