I'm excited to share the announcement of the arrival of Neil Jones Equestrian newest rider, Molly Hay. Molly is a highly ranked show jumper with an undeniable talent in the show ring. She is a beautiful rider who has been riding for nearly 20 years. Read more to find out how she decided to take her riding career into the FEI ring...
Where are you from originally and when did you start riding?
I was born and raised in Ridgefield, Connecticut and began riding at age 5 with trainer Wendy Pola.
What was the turning point in deciding to jump in the FEI ring?
It was more of a “turning horse” than a turning point as to my decision to jump in the FEI ring. I had always aspired to compete at the Grand Prix level, but as I didn’t have enough financial stability to purchase an experienced horse, I dedicated my time to buying, producing and selling younger prospects. While this was incredibly rewarding (and humbling), I never owned a horse long enough to jump bigger classes. Until the day I was reunited with a horse I had previously sold- “Akatschino” aka “Chino”. I had huge success with him as a 6/7 year old, and had always considered him to be “my horse of a lifetime”. Three years after selling him, his owner unexpectedly passed, so I purchased him back just to ensure he’d had a loving home. I never expected to jump higher than 1.30m with him- but together we jumped our first 1.40, National Grand Prix, and FEI Ranking Class. After that, I was hooked, and determined to always have a horse with which I could jump at that level.
What do you love most about the sport?
What I love most about this sport is the reason I started taking lessons in the first place: the horses. No horse is the same, and every partnership- new or old- holds its own meaning. There’s no other sport like it in the world, and I think that’s extremely special.
What do you dislike most about the sport?
What I dislike most about the sport is the fact that it’s not as accessible to all income levels— I find this to be more of an issue in the states than in Europe, which was one of the reasons I based myself there. Sports should be about setting a goal for yourself and having the dedication and determination to reach it— but I find this extremely difficult to do as an Equestrian in the US without a substantial financial backing.
What are a few of your favorite riding brands?
A few of my favorite riding brands are CWD, Parlanti, Roeckl, Kask, Cavalleria Toscana, Cavalor, Walsh Products, Go Rentals, Ogilvy Equestrian and Dada Sport.
Who is your favorite rider and why?
There are so many riders I look up to but my personal favorite is Kent Farrington— he has been an incredible mentor and role model to me for years; both for his riding ability but also for his intellectual approach to the sport and business.
Follow Molly and her journey with Neil Jones Equestrian Team @mollyhay1