Sunday, Apr. 21, 2024

Horses Are The Foundation For Any Career

As far back as I remember the Chronicle was a staple in my house. My mother introduced me to the magazine when I was a child, and every week I was enthralled with the images of top horse and rider combinations, such as Liza Towell with Monday Morning, Danielle Torano and Classic Importer, and Georgina Bloomberg on Diplomacy. After one particular Junior & Pony Issue (I’m pretty sure it was 1993), upon seeing an image of a girl modeling her pony at Pony Finals, I tried to do the same thing with my large pony in my driveway. I was, in a word, obsessed.
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As far back as I remember the Chronicle was a staple in my house. My mother introduced me to the magazine when I was a child, and every week I was enthralled with the images of top horse and rider combinations, such as Liza Towell with Monday Morning, Danielle Torano and Classic Importer, and Georgina Bloomberg on Diplomacy. After one particular Junior & Pony Issue (I’m pretty sure it was 1993), upon seeing an image of a girl modeling her pony at Pony Finals, I tried to do the same thing with my large pony in my driveway. I was, in a word, obsessed.

Fast forward many years later, and I was still reading the Chronicle each week as a student at Hollins University (Va.). I chose to attend this liberal arts university not only because my grandmother, Molly Weeks Johnson, and my aunt, Amy Johnson Steele, both went there, but also because of the spectacular riding program. I remember my first lesson with the famed Nancy Peterson, and I knew I’d made the right choice for college.

The following four years were spent building friendships, competing with my teammates, and riding as many horses as possible before my dreaded French class. I rode a different horse almost every lesson, and while almost all were close to perfect, there was the occasional difficult one. Hollins’ horses taught me adaptability, and due to my hard work, I was rewarded with the chance to ride one of the best horses of my career, California Kid, who carried me to many memorable wins.

While riding and showing was definitely an added bonus of my college years, it was the fundamentals from horses that helped me land a temporary spot at the Chronicle. The skills I needed for an internship are the same ones I’ve developed as a rider: responsibility, adaptability and self-reliance. Lessons from former trainers set me up to be where I am today.

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My editors treat me just as every other staff member, and with that came more responsibility and more rewards. Riding a different horse each week is quite comparable to interviewing: some are better than others. But I’ve learned how to speak to practically anyone, and while I may become “star struck,” I’ve always put my job first and tried to write each article to the best of my ability.

As my internship sadly draws to a close, I’m grateful for the chance to hone my skills at such a prestigious publication. Now I no longer feel nervous when I pick up the phone to call a high-profile equestrian or get flustered when I frantically try to make a deadline.

Being able to cover top shows such as Capital Challenge (Md.) and the Washington International (D.C.) provided me with a chance to not only watch and learn, but also to interact with the best riders in our
country. And while there are too many good memories to name here, I think the entire editorial staff knows interviewing Kent Farrington was one of my best.

Beth Johnson, Editorial Intern

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