This week’s Up & Coming Rider features a very familiar face in the horse world, Georgie Hammond! Georgie is 16 years old and currently competes in the big eq out of Brookmore Farms in Oviedo, Florida. Those of you who know Georgie know that she has one horse, Coach, and just recently began leasing Easy. She’s been handed a lot of curveballs this past year, but she has always handled them with grace, optimism, and poise.
Georgie has been riding for 12 years and started after what she calls “some horrible ballet attempts.” She started on ponies and within her first year of riding had her own naughty pony – every little girl’s dream! Georgie also had an amazing trainer that helped her become who she is today.
“She was everything I could have wanted to become. She rode amazing, had amazing horses, and had the general mannerism and confidence I wished to carry my self with one day,” she said.
She also grew up in Florida, which she said is “near perfect.” She loves the hot summers and having little to no winter (Editor’s Note: We are super jealous up here in New Jersey). She also only has to drive between 1 and 3 hours to get to one of the central horse show destinations in the United States.
Georgie typically rides 5 – 6 days per week when she is not showing. When she is showing, she rides every single day. She manages to do all of this while still being a junior in high school. This year, she has started something new to help manage her time between school and the barn.
“I am actually doing half-time school,” Georgie said. “I take three classes in school and four virtual. This way, I can go to school from 7 – 10:30, and then go straight to the barn!”
This may seem like a lot, but Georgie manages to stay an AP and honors student with a 4.2 GPA. So, how does she manage to handle two horses, an almost full week of riding, and maintaining a stellar GPA?
“My main rule of thumb is to prioritize. It’s all go go go when I get home from the barn with schoolwork,” she said. “As for horse shows and missing school, I’m pretty good about getting my virtual school done at the show and then catching up promptly when I return to school. It’s definitely easier missing three classes rather than seven, so I’m fortunate with that!”
Georgie’s Perfect Partner
Coach, Georgie’s horse, has become his own celebrity in the equestrian internet world. He even has his own twitter account.
Coach is a 13 year old, 17.3 hh Dutch Warmblood that Georgie has owned for six years. She purchased Coach to take her to the 3 foot jumps because she was stuck on a naughty medium pony (I feel ya on that one, Georgie!)
Georgie said that Coach is the “best thing that has ever happened” to her. They started together in short stirrups and have moved up since then.
“He is the epitome of a gentle giant,” she said. “He floats at the trot and steps the jumps. He is automatic change and frames when you ask. He can have anywhere from the biggest step in the world to the smallest as he is also the most adjustable horse I’ve ridden.”
Coach is also described as being animated, willing, and paying attention to everything Georgie asks.
“I could not have been luckier with a horse like Coach. He’s my best friend and love of my life,” Georgie said.
Unfortunately, earlier this year, Coach suffered an injury. However, he is doing great and is making a “speedy recovery.”
Georgie also had to make a tough decision in terms of her riding career and her partnership with Coach this year. Georgie’s aspirations and Coach’s abilities were no longer meshing, and she had to make the tough choice to sell or lease him.
“Realizing that my time had ended with Coach was hard. I felt really lost and broken when I saw it happening,” Georgie said. “But I love Coach too much to be holding onto him for the wrong reasons rather than letting go for the right.”
Georgie maintained that she had to do what was best for Coach and for herself. She firmly believes that time heals all, and even if she doesn’t own him in the future, she credits her current riding ability to him.
From Perfect Partner to Big Easy…
Georgie recently found an equitation horse to lease – “Easy,” an 18hh warmblood.
“He’s done jumpers most of his life and has even done a couple of Grand Prixes,” she said. “He is also a gentle giant that steps the jumps. He is very athletic but also sensitive. He would jump through a ring of fire with his ears flopped and has yet to care about anything.”
According to Georgie, Easy’s massive step allows him to “crawl around the ring.” He also lives up to his name by being very easygoing.
With Easy, Georgie plans on getting him in great condition and improving every time they are in the show ring. Long term, Georgie hopes to qualify for the USEF Medal & Maclay finals.
Georgie’s riding career has been peppered with accomplishments, including winning the Champagne Nutt Hunter Derby out of more than a hundred riders and the Equitation Championship both in the same night.
Georgie has really set her sights on making a mark in the equitation world. What does she love about the discipline so much? When asked, she said she loves the “impossibility of equitation.”
“My favorite part … is the pressure to be perfect,” she said. “We aspire to achieve a flawless ride. Because perfection is impossible, it’s that much more interesting and fun. It’s a neverending chase, and it takes hard work on yourself and your horse.”
While Georgie’s biggest riding strength is her leg, she said that her biggest weakness is her “long eye.” She has a thing for long distances, which she shares with Coach. She has spent time training herself to create another distance, and she said putting that time in has definitely made her better at not choosing the long distance. Georgie also does a lot of no stirrup work throughout the year (take note you no stirrup Novembers!)
Georgie gave the following advice to riders who want to make it to the “big eq” world.
“Keep your confidence up. Discouragement is the key reason for downfall in the horse riding world. We let others dictate what we can and can’t do. We listen to the criticism of those who know nothing about us. You are only as good as you believe you can be. Strive for excellence and push yourself. If you mess up, it’s okay. Everyone messes up,” she said. “You will make mistakes, you will have bad rides, your horse will have bad days, but that’s part of this sport. When I say the big eq is about achieving perfection, I mean it’s about achieving your best self. So do that.”
While Georgie does not follow any big equitation riders herself, she does look up to individuals like Lillie Keenan and Hayley Waters. She also stated that she would ride with George Morris “any day, anytime.” In fact, she has already done clinics with him!
“He is also to thank for my riding today. He improved my riding more in the couple of lessons I have had with him than I have in years,” Georgie said. “He is a remarkable human that look up to an incredible amount.”
After she graduates high school and ages out, Georgie plans on attending college to study psychology. While she hopes she can ride through college, her parents won’t be supporting it for her anymore. Despite that, she has high hopes of riding on a college team but isn’t sure where she will end up or where it will take her.
“I am not sure about professional status for my riding,” she said. “I’m not sure what the future holds. I would have to make it all happen by myself, and it would take a lot of work. At this point I probably will not [ride professionally].”
A look in Georgie’s tack trunk and riding closet…
We asked Georgie to put together a schooling outfit.
Her outfit includes a J.Crew shirt and pearl earrings, a Lacoste watch, a Tory Burch belt, Cartier bracelet, Pikeur breeches, Der Dau tall boots (Editor’s Note: a personal favorite of mine!), and a Charles Owen helmet.
“My typical schooling outfits are classic, simple, yet sophisticated and are based off of my personal style outside of the horse riding world,” Georgie said.
We also asked Georgie what her top five must haves for her horses are. She said: a towling robe blanket (to soak up all the water after baths), Back on Track sheet (“Warm backs are happy backs!”), Banana Sweat, Toad Juice fly spray (works for sensitive skinned horses), and Calm Coat (a product Georgie swears by for dry coats or cruddy coats after heavy rain or dusty days).
But we know what you’re all thinking… what exactly is Banana Sweat?
“Banana sweat is a product most people don’t know much about, but it is basically a liquid we put on the horses’ legs under wraps to make them sweat, releasing all of that fluid build up,” she said.
What else does Georgie love right now for the horse world?
Green hunt coats are definitely on the rise! They are coming back in style as the days go by!” She said. “Leather seems to be slowly rising a tiny bit. With Charles Owen making brown suede & leather helmets, boot companies expanding the brown shades and even Roeckl bringing out brown gloves, I think that this may be a slight rise in the fashion industry.”
Georgie also stated she was happy that there aren’t many colors in the hunter and equitation rings. “I think the industry is advancing but keeping our traditional styles in tact,” she said.
Speaking of Roeckl gloves, we asked Georgie what other color combination she would get, and she said black gloves with white trim and a white monogram. According to Georgie, this style is flashier than the standard black glove but small enough to not hinder the traditional style.
“No one enjoys a ‘cat fish…’”
Georgie has a huge following on social media, and she believes being honest and open is key.
“Sharing my journey through this crazy sport with 100% honesty is what has gotten me where I am today! Being humble and grateful always are also ways to show your followers that you’re just like everyone else. Relating to someone makes them comfortable yet interested!”
Social media popularity, unfortunately, can bring on the haters.
“I would say I receive anywhere from 5 – 30 hurtful things a day through social media. My key way of handling it is ignoring it just by deleting it. Most of the people sending the hate have never met me before and never will, therefore their opinion on me is irrelevant,” Georgie said.
She said she remains graceful and poised when she receives social media hate. She also keeps her cool and tries to put things in perspective.
If you don’t already love Georgie, we hope this interview has made you love her! Time and time again, she has handled life’s curveballs with positivity, grace, and poise. She is, and should be, a huge role model for anyone in the horse world, whether young or old, competitive or not. Georgie also credits riding with being her “personal silent therapy session.”
“I keep in mind that time heals all and nothing lasts forever,” she said. “I let me horses take away my pain and take my days as they come.”
Georgie encourages all riders to get out there and do what they know they can do.
“Work hard, train hard, and follow your heart. At the end of the day, only you can be the best version of you, and no one can take that from you.”
Want to keep up with Georgie, Coach, and Easy on social media? You can follow her on Twitter, Instagram (@georgieeeeporgieee), or Tumblr.
Did you like this spotlight or know an up & coming rider we should interview? Let us know in the comments below, on Twitter, or shoot me an email!
Stay tuned for the next rider in our “Up & Coming Rider” series!