Upper Marlboro, Md.—Oct. 8
To say that Kingsley Dey was excited to be at Capital Challenge is an understatement.
“When my mom told me about it I was like, ‘Oh yes! Let’s go!’ ” said Dey. “And then when my mom said we were going I nearly fainted, and when we were driving here, and I saw this place I was like, ‘Get me some water. I’m going to faint,’ because it’s not like any horse show that I’ve been to.”
A year ago, Dey would have never dreamed of being at Capital Challenge. The 10-year-old originally from Kailua, Hawaii, just started taking riding lessons when her family purchased a house in New York last year, but Dey had always been a horse lover. Her mom Kimberly Dey was an avid horsewoman on the Quarter Horse circuit, so she introduced Kingsley and her younger sister Kendall, 6, to horses a young age.
Kingsley rides with Pamela Polk, of Hunter’s Moon Farm in East Norwich, N.Y., and competed in her first walk-trot classes on the same horse that she first fell in love with in Hawaii—a 22-year-old Westphalian mare named Allure.
“I started not really having lessons in Hawaii because there’s really no trainers there,” said Kingsley. “I sat on ‘Ally’s’ back, walked on a lunge line and then sat the trot for a couple steps and then came back to the walk because I was terrified. I didn’t ride, but I just love the animal. Now I just love the sport too.
“I think my fourth or fifth lesson, I fell off at the sitting trot, no stirrups,” said Kingsley. “I just kind of slid off. Yeah, kind of crazy starting riding, but once I got into the fun stuff, I was like ‘Yes! I really like this!’ And then my first show I felt like my eyeballs were going to pop out of my head because I was so nervous.”
Kingsley moved up to the children’s ponies this June, and when she came to Maryland for Capital Challenge, she felt the familiar butterflies. Her partner, a 10-year-old Welsh cross named Primrose, was also feeling the atmosphere this morning.
“She was crazy,” said Kingsley. “She was galloping the jumps, so we took her for a lunge, and it was like a lightbulb just popped in her head. She was like, ‘Oh, OK. I’m at a show. Oh, OK, I’ll calm down.’ So then we did our courses.”
Kingsley and “Strawberry” produced nice rounds over fences, but were just out of the ribbons in ninth. As it turns out, the hack proved to be their most difficult challenge.
“The hack was very scary,” Kingsley said of the 29-pony under saddle. “She hates other ponies getting next to her, so I was on the outside. I was like ‘OK, watch out people! She bites!
“I didn’t get placed in any of my classes, but it’s an honor to be here,” she continued.