As regional championships wrapped up around the country, riders braved wet weather at the Great American/USDF Region 3 Championships held Oct. 5-8 at the Palm Beach Equestrian Center in Wellington, Fla.
Junior rider Jordan Lockwood faced the rains after two days of travel from her hometown in Franklin, Tenn., and was rewarded with a handy collection of honors for her trouble. Aboard her 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Wonderboy, Lockwood clinched victory in both the junior/young rider second level championship (72.01%) and the FEI junior team championship (65.33%), then topped off the weekend with a reserve in the junior/young rider third level (66.85%).
At 17, Lockwood does most of her training alone on her family’s 8-acre farm, where she handles all her horse’s care herself.
COTH: What’s it like training from home, away from a typical dressage barn?
Lockwood: I have to figure a lot of things out. I watch a lot of videos online through dressgetrainingonline.com and YouTube. I like to watch videos where I can find judges talking about tests while people are riding them, really at all different levels.
Whatever I’m stuck on, whether it’s lateral work or changes or anything like that, if I can find it online and watch it and try and learn from that, it really helps. Every now and then when I can I go down to Alabama and I train with Debbie Hill and Katie Stoy. They’re really great. Whenever I get stuck on anything they really help me through it.
COTH: Were your parents into horses before you got interested?
Lockwood: No, they’re not horse people at all. We’re from the Tampa Bay area in Florida, so they’re more beach people. They don’t know a lot about horses, but they’ve learned through the years.
COTH: How’d you get started riding?
Lockwood: I started in Florida at the age of 6. I never played with dolls when I was little; I always played with the Breyer horses. My mom noticed that, so she took me down the road for a lesson. I rode Quarter Horses western at first and did some barrels for fun, then I decided I wanted to try an english saddle. And that was just a whole different thing.
Then we moved up here in 2010 and I started out taking english riding lessons. [I] did some jumping, did some eventing, and then my mom said, “Why don’t you try dressage?” She thought it was safer than jumping. I ended up falling in love with it. I’ve been doing it since I was 11 years old.
COTH: So why did you guys move from Florida to a rural farm in Tennessee?
Lockwood: My parents actually came up here in the ‘90s to this little town and they just thought it was really cute. They said, “One day, we want to raise a family here.” Then about five years ago they came up here, found land and built a house. Then we put a barn in and an arena. We had a pony and a mini, but we’ve recently found homes for them. So right now it’s just Wonderboy.
COTH: I grew up wishing I could have a horse at my house, but I know now there’s a lot more to it than just riding whenever you want. What’s your least favorite part of keeping Wonderboy at your house?
Lockwood: It sounds weird, but definitely filling water buckets. I don’t like just standing there waiting for them to fill.
Wonderboy has four water buckets in his stall, so it takes a while! I do all the chores myself, so I have to stand there and think of all the other chores I have to get done while I wait to finish that.
COTH: So tell me about Wonderboy. When did he come to you?
Lockwood: I got him last year in September around my birthday. He just had come over from Europe in August. He was a bit skinny and didn’t have a lot of muscle. He was with a young rider before and did dressage, but she had a few other horses and just got busy with them, so he was kind of left in the paddock for a while. So I had to kind of bring that muscle back.
Over the first year he has just come so far. We went from barely doing second level to now schooling Prix St. Georges. I’ve shown him second level through fourth level this year and doing the FEI juniors. He’s such a good horse. He has such a great temperament and he’s always happy to work. I don’t think he’s ever done anything bad; he’s really great.
COTH: What made you decide to list him for sale?
Lockwood: He’s for sale now as more of a schoolmaster. My hope is that if I can sell him, I’d really like to get a young horse to develop and take through the levels. I think I’m ready for that type of challenge. Schoolmasters, they know what to do and when you make a mistake, they kind of do it for you. With Wonderboy, he’s more the leader. Now that I know more, I think I’m ready to be the leader when I have a young horse—I can be the teacher. And I think that kind of partnership will be really exciting.
COTH: Training from home, marketing and selling your own horse, looking for young prospects—seems like you’re interested in the business side of the sport, too. Is that your goal?
Lockwood: Oh yes, definitely. At North American Young Rider Championships, when I rode around the arena waiting for the bell and all the international judges were there, I was like, “Wow, I’m here. I’ve worked hard and I’ve made it here.”
And that was really my turning point of knowing I really want to make this in to a career. So hopefully when I learn more, I’ll be able to get my own training business going and have clients down the road.