My name is Alexa Ehlers and I am a proud member of Team Clear Eventing and Team FLAIR. I have been lucky enough to qualify to compete at the North American Junior Young Rider Championships that will be held in July at the Kentucky Horse Park. This will be my fourth time competing at NAJYRC for Area V, and to be completely honest, I’ve never been this excited about Young Riders. Normally, the month before Young Riders, I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off, being nervous about my horse’s fitness, health and overall way of going, but (knock on wood) I’m feeling extremely excited and ready to compete this year.
A little background about myself… I am an 18 year old born in Colorado, raised in Texas, and most recently, living and attending the University of Kentucky in Lexington for Nursing. Most college kids go home for the summer, but with having my two horses here, living in the horse capitol of the world and planning for Young Riders, how could I leave? So this all brings us back to Young Riders. It’s less than a month away and I already have butterflies…but the good kind!
Alexa and Mitch take a Gymnastics Lesson
So now it’s time to introduce you to my Young Rider mount, In Any Event or “Mitch”. Mitch is a 17-year-old New Zealand Sport Horse, but don’t tell him about his age. He thinks that he is still three—something I can’t complain about… until he almost bucks me off!
As for preparation, Mitch is on a very strict schedule for fitness that takes advantage of several different forms of strength training. Every five days we gallop or swim (alternating) and every first day back from a day off we do a trot set with a long walk before and after. We are currently up to 45 minute trots, and I’m hoping he will be doing 50 minute trots pretty soon. With the galloping/swimming days, he either goes to a nearby farm for a twenty-minute trot followed by a few gallops around the hay field (FLAIR strip on, of course), or he goes to swim at KESMARC. So for now, it’s our routine… trot, dressage, dressage lesson, jump lesson, gallop/swim, and day off. I almost forgot my fitness… You know what they say, “you should be as fit as your horse”. I’m trying to take that to heart, so in saying this, I have started working out at a local CrossFit gym, 859 CrossFit. All I know is that I’m sore any time I finish a workout, and I’m learning to love it!
I will try to write again after our schooling show on the 7th at Antebellum Farm where Mitch will do the NAJYRC test and my other horse will run the Preliminary combined test. I am so grateful for the assets that I have been blessed with—great places to ride and condition, and technology to keep my horses sound and at the top of their game. Can’t wait to hopefully be back with good news! Until then, best wishes to everyone.
Alexa & Mitch