Gabby Dickerson Gets A Leg Up From Kim Severson In The Form Of “Sparky”

Sep 7, 2016 - 11:05 AM

Young professional Gabby Dickerson spent two years training and competing in Europe to improve her education, and now that she’s home she’s just received the opportunity of a lifetime to help her achieve her dreams. Dickerson’s trainer and mentor Kim Severson recently gave her the ride on her 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (France) partner Fernhill Fearless.

“Sparky,” a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding by Mark Twain, hasn’t quite come back to form since the WEG after recovering from an injury, so Severson decided to let him teach the ropes to Dickerson.

“She’s such a great mentor to me. I’m always getting advice from her, and she’s always got my back. She started speaking to me a couple of weeks ago about possibly riding Sparky because she felt that it would be the best thing for him rather than pushing him to do another team with her,” said Dickerson, Free Union, Va. “She thought I could get so much more experience out of him than what she could get for her own personal aspirations. She told me to come pick him up and get him entered. I’m just so unbelievably grateful, I can’t even put it in to words. It’s crazy!”

Gabby Dickerson and Fernhill Fearless. Photo by GRC Photography

Dickerson, 20, has worked for Severson since she was 12. After completing high school online, she spent time at Nicola Wilson, Ingrid Klimke and Dirk Schrade’s barns while in Europe. She’s returned with more experience and a desire to reach the advanced level.

She has competed to the two-star level with Anne Riley’s Infinite Truth, and her goal is to compete Sparky at that level this fall.

Dickerson had 10 days to get to know Sparky once she brought him home before their first intermediate at the Seneca Valley Pony Club Horse Trials (Md.) on Sept. 3.

She’d hacked him a handful of times for Severson and Sparky’s previous owner Nina Ligon, who competed him extensively as part of her bid for the 2012 London Olympic Games for Thailand before she gifted him to Severson.

“I’ve always loved him. I’m not very tall, and he’s very small. He’s the ideal type for me, and I always thought he would be a lot of fun, but never did I think when I was out doing trot sets or a hack on him that I’d be able to be riding him and competing him and having him at home,” she said.

Sparky at home. Photo courtesy Gabby Dickerson

The pair finished fourth in their division at Seneca Valley, and they are entered at the Plantation Field International CIC* (Pa.) next weekend.

“One event at a time, as long as Sparky’s going well and is happy, and everything’s working,” said Dickerson. “I can’t put in to words how grateful I am and how selfless it was for Kim to do this. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m thankful she saw that I was in a time in my career where I could use this chance to be able to get out there and get some experience.” 

Categories: Eventing, News

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