In the Chronicle’s new series, we follow various equine professionals throughout a typical day. In this installment, we asked Jordan Lubow, whom you probably recognize thanks to the incredible athletic efforts of her hunter derby horse Anthemis Z, to walk us through her day.
Lubow hails from Bell Canyon, California, and grew up competing in the junior hunters and jumpers. After aging out she worked in restaurant management and as a med spa manager, only riding occasionally for 10 years. In the summer of 2018, she took a job as assistant trainer and barn manager for Holly Shepherd’s Accolade Farm in Mobile, Alabama.
7:45 a.m. Wake up!
8 a.m. I eat a quick breakfast. Usually two eggs and some toast, or I switch out the eggs for a protein drink.
8:45 a.m. I get to the barn and check my ride list for the day.
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. I ride! Holly teaches me the entire time I am at the farm, whether she instructs me on my own rides or by having me watch her ride as she vocalizes what she is doing to achieve a certain result. To have someone as knowledgeable and talented as Holly taking the time to teach me all day has absolutely taken my riding to the next level, and I am so grateful to be working under someone who teaches and supports me like that.
I usually ride my horse “Timmy” first—it’s the best way to start my day! We are going into our fourth year together, and at this point I know him like the back of my hand. I don’t jump him very much at home; instead I do long flats and just make sure his fitness level is up. If he had it his way he’d be a fat field pony! We work on lots of lateral movements, transitions and changes of pace. This year we will be concentrating on the big derbies and the Platinum Performance/USHJA Green Hunter Incentive Championship (Kentucky).
The next horse I ride is German. He’s a 6-year-old stallion by Picadilly Tame. Both he and Timmy are from the Carthago line, which is pretty cool. He’s the sweetest stallion too; he just wants you to love on him and rub him, and he’ll close his eyes like he’s in heaven and lean into you. Usually I just flat him and work on his mouth and frame and his responsiveness to my leg with lateral work. Holly likes being on the ground and having me and Theresa Tolar, another of Holly’s assistants, on the young ones, so she can see what they need to work on and how to correct things. I’ll usually jump him at least once a week.
My next horse is Jerry. He’s a sale horse Holly lets me do in the 1.20 meters. He’s a giant! I think he’s around 18 hands, and he’s absolutely stunning. I can’t walk to the ring at a horse show without someone commenting on how beautiful he is. He used to be an eventer, so he’s incredibly brave and an absolute blast to ride.
Next up is Swing. He’s 7 this year and stepping into the 1.30 meters. Holly and I usually switch off with him. I flat him most days, and then she’ll have me jump him to see where he needs work so she knows what to correct when she’s on him next.
Next is Ringo, and he’s actually one of my favorites to ride. We only take him to Gulfport (Mississippi) to show every year, and he does the 1.20 meters. I usually give him an easy flat because he’s pretty straightforward and knows the drill at this point. I jump him around until he thinks he’s in a jump-off, and he turns into a little rocket, so that’s when I know to call it a day.
I usually ride those five daily, but it constantly fluctuates. Sometimes we’ll just have our usual horses in the barn, and other times we’ll have six or seven extra client horses depending on the time of year.
I usually leave the barn around 2 p.m. and head home to drop off my dog, Remmy. Remmy is going to be 15 this year, and I’ve had him since he was 3 months old. He loves farm life, and when he misses me he comes out from the barn onto the field and follows behind me as I ride. Even when I’m cantering around he tries to keep up; it’s really cute.
3 p.m. I get in 45 minutes of cardio every day, and I work out with my personal trainer Chase Cummings for an hour three times a week. Most people don’t know that I suffered a bad injury to my left leg and ankle in October of 2018 that required surgery. When I rode my horse in the 3’6″ greens at the Winter Equestrian Festival (Florida) during the first week of January 2019, I was only 13 weeks post-op. I spent almost all of last year dealing with residual pain and nerve issues, and between our constant on the road schedule I let my fitness fall to the side.
After derby finals I marched into Braxton Gilbert Fitness, a private gym I found, determined to get myself stronger and healthier. Chase was great and totally understood all my injuries, and he made the workouts work for exactly what I needed. Five months later I’m down 30 pounds and stronger than ever! And it has helped my riding immensely. Since I’m new to Alabama, the gym gave me a place to go and make friends. It became routine and familiar and makes Alabama feel a little more like home.
5 p.m. I head home to shower and relax a little.
6:30 p.m. Almost every night you can find me at Holly’s parents’ house eating dinner with her and her family. Usually around the table is Holly and her parents, her son Greyson, and Theresa. George, Holly’s dad, always cooks something awesome for dinner, and Deanna, Holly’s mom, makes incredible desserts. They have become my second family here, and I love being able to share in their family dinner nightly.
8:30 p.m. I get back home and check in with anything I need to do for upcoming shows, whether it’s entries, or hotel bookings, updating our show schedule, etc.
9-11 p.m. Most nights you can find me on the couch with my dog watching T.V.
11:30 p.m. Bedtime!
If it’s a horse show week, things look a little different.
The night before a show day, I like to make a mock schedule of what our day is going to look like, and I group text Holly, Theresa and our grooms so everyone has an idea on times.
We usually arrive around 7 a.m., and I write our schedule out on our whiteboard, then head down to the ring to do sign-ins. Most of my day is spent managing Holly’s schedule between our horses and her catch-rides. I keep a constant flow of communication going between our team, the in-gate crews and her catch-ride trainers all day. My job is to keep Holly on track and make sure she’s where she needs to be on time and that our horses are always where they are supposed to be.
Besides the schedule I’m sort of a fill-in for pretty much everything. You can find me at the barn tacking up horses, walking horses back and forth from the rings, setting jumps, jogging the hunters, under-saddling, hacking the non-showing horses, running to the office, etc. And if Holly has multiple rides in a division, you can always find me warming up her next ride so when she comes out of the ring she can hop on and start jumping.
My favorite part of my day though is when I get to show my horse! He’s currently getting ready to start his 3’9″ green year and continue in the international derbies. No matter how hectic our schedule gets, Holly always makes sure she’s there to train me. It’s nice in our crazy show days that I have something of my own that I get to work on and progress with.
Holly also lets me do one of her horses, Jerry, in the 1.20 meters. I’ve been showing him for a year now, and we’ve really come together as partners. I’m very appreciative that Holly lets me have a consistent ride in the jumper ring.
As our day slows down I head to the office to do our add/scratch. When that’s done, I usually get on a horse that needs to hack or jump a little, and Holly gives me a lesson or two depending on how many horses we have left.
Once our show day has finished, I fill in our whiteboard for the following day’s classes and hang the tails on the stalls. I help our grooms out with whatever they need to finish up. After that we usually just hang around the barn for a bit and make our dinner plans. And that about wraps up my day!