Here in Southern California we are so lucky to have some incredible riders, and Karina Harris is one of them! Her talent is blossoming as she competes in the 1.0m jumper ring. I had the opportunity to learn more from Karina and her first experience at the Sacramento International Horse Show. Check out my QA session below.
How long have you been riding for, where do you ride and who do you ride?
I rode here and there as a kid, but didn’t get really involved in it until 2013 when bought my first horse, Cheers (2002 KWPN gelding). I ride with Carrie Treadway at Treadway Stables in Newhall, CA. It’s a small private barn in a beautiful oak tree filled canyon, and it’s basically my second home - we are like family there. I currently ride Quintera, my 2009 Selle Luxembourgeois mare that I bought in 2016. Cheers is leased out to the best leaser ever and gets doubly spoiled now!
How long have you been competing before doing the Sacramento International Horse Show?
I only started competing as an adult - my first horse show ever was a schooling show in Santa Paula. I forgot a hair net and thought it was the end of the world.
What preparation do you suggest for the horse show?
Karina Harris @ Sacramento International Horse-show Photo Cred: McCool
I think the most important thing is to be open and honest with your trainer about where you’re at mentally and what your goals and fears are. That way you can set a good game plan and practice things you may be nervous about, like a tight rollback into a big oxer for example. I’m really lucky to have a trainer who i feel comfortable to be completely candid with and who always supports me and wants me to be the best I can be.
Fitness for both horse and rider is crucial for enduring a week-long show. Hitting the trail builds muscle and stamina for the horses, while I did at home exercises from The Fit Equestrian.
For this show, I also decided to seek outside help with a sports psychologist, Dr Pernilla Nathan of EquiPsy Performance. I was feeling really stressed out about the show, and I put so much pressure on myself. Pernilla really helped me form a new perspective and I was able to leave for the show feeling excited and confident.
At the show what was your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment by far was being able to bounce back from what was without a doubt the WORST show day of my life thus far. I was so defeated, disheartened, and frustrated. It was probably the lowest point emotionally in my riding career. With the support of my trainer, the wise words of her dad, and encouragement from Pernilla, I was able to get out of my mind and ride like I do at home. Each round got better, my confidence came back, and I was having so much fun. Finishing with a 1st place win and as division Champion was just the cherry on top of it all. You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face that day!
Looking back what are you looking to accomplish with the 2019 show year?
I’m hoping to move up to the 1.10m division or higher and to keep building my confidence and accuracy. I’ll also be working hard on my strength this fall and winter with lots of no stirrup work.
Advise for Amateurs stepping into the big ring?
Easier said than done, and I’m still working on this as well: try not to psych yourself out. Focus more on the ride, not on the ribbon. When you nail the ride, the ribbon will come. Do what makes you feel most confident - if you need to go over the course a hundred times, do that. If you’re not feeling right about something, voice it to your trainer. And most of all, enjoy the journey, and enjoy the ride.
Karina is one of our super talented bloggers and creator the incredible site: The Hunt
Follow her journey @thehunt_eq