When Skylar Wireman won the World Equestrian Center—Ocala (Florida) Premier Equitation Cup Championship earlier this month, the 17-year-old high school student received a new car. For her rounds aboard Heritage Farm’s equitation champion Charisma (Stakkato—Cassini I), Wireman earned a Ford Explorer.
When she’s riding and schooling horses at home in Bonsall, California, at her mother Shayne Wireman’s farm, Chestnut Hills Equestrian Center, she can be found studying for the UHJSA Horsemanship Quiz or hanging out with friends.
We caught up with Skylar while she was traveling back to California after her big equitation win in the Feb. 12 championship.
Congratulations on your exciting win in a challenging, four-part equitation championship. Tell me about your ride on Charisma.
It was actually only my third show on him. It’s a bit of a new partnership, but he’s the most amazing horse ever. He just knows exactly what you want. He’s a master at the equitation, and he’s super sweet on the ground. He loves carrots and apples, and he loves to cuddle a lot. He’s a very sweet horse.
There were over 80 juniors competing, and only 20 were called back for the second phase. How were the courses for you?
The first course was really nice. The jumps were beautiful, and it was an overall really inviting course. There was nothing too complicated in it.
The second jumping round definitely was a bit harder. There were a couple lines where there was a lot of track and places to lose your way a little bit. Bobby [Murphy, the course designer] definitely made it a bit harder, and he had a big log wall in the middle of the triple combination, so it was a little bit spookier. With more track, there was definitely room for error. You could see that it caused some problems.
Then only four were called for final test. How did that go?
The test was also good. There was less room to go inside if you wanted to, but I didn’t feel the need to, based on going last and watching everyone else. No one else went inside, so I was like, ‘Well, there’s no need to go inside.’ And there were lots of tests: We had a trot jump, counter-canter, halt and a hand gallop jump, so there were lots of challenges. I thought [there were] great courses with beautiful jumps.
Were you excited to win?
I was. I had been looking forward to the class; I’ve never done it before. I know it was only the second year they’ve done it, but I was looking forward to it, and it was definitely a fun class to win.
How did you celebrate?
Well, it went pretty late, so I just went back to the barn after and gave Charisma lots of treats. And by that time it was probably 11 p.m., and my mom had a plane to catch the next morning, so we went back and got dinner because there was no time for dinner in the middle of all that. Then we just packed and went to bed because she had an early flight to catch back to Thermal (California) to finish showing.
How do you combat nerves when you compete?
I don’t really get nervous because it’s all about having fun and spending time with the horses.
You won a brand new, all-leather Ford Explorer with lots of room for friends and tack, and you’re only 17 years old. What’s the first song you’re going to listen to in your new car?
Whatever is on the country music radio station.
What are your plans after high school?
I will go to college either through a community college or a four-year university on a riding team.
I’ve heard that at your home farm, you’re known as a hard-working, dedicated horsewoman. What’s your typical day like?
We don’t really have grooms, so I ride 10 to 15 horses and do most of the tacking and untacking myself unless we have a working student who might help. I do night feeding and sometimes the stalls too. I also help with lessons. I’m always there at the barn late.
What’s your favorite part of equestrian life?
Spending all day at the barn with the horses and barn friends.
What’s your favorite horse memory?
I might have to give you two because [the] weekend at WEC was really awesome. But I would say probably my biggest memory was winning the [Platinum Performance/USEF] Talent Search Finals—West in 2020 on Lisa Halterman’s horse, Hot Pants. She lets me borrow him for the equitation out here [in California], and he’s a really special horse who has a lot of character. That was a fun final, a really big final to win on him. And then also just this past weekend, winning the WEC Premier Equitation Cup on Charisma, that was also very special because he is an extremely special horse.
Who are your riding mentors?
One of my biggest mentors is [show jumper and Olympic team gold medalist] Peter Wylde; he’s my biggest role model. I’ve had the opportunity to ride with him a few times, and he’s trained me on a couple of my jumpers. He’s an amazing horseman, and he’s also just a really nice person. And he is so talented on the horse—it’s incredible watching him ride in the jump off. You don’t see him doing anything; it’s like he is invisible, but yet he is always super fast and usually wins. And of course, other top people like McLain Ward and then in the equitation world, Andre [Dignelli].
How was your experience with Andre coaching you?
I’m super thankful to Andre Dignelli and the entire Heritage team for an amazing weekend at WEC and for the opportunity to show Charisma. He’s such a special horse, and it’s a lot of fun.
I read that you met Peter Wylde through the USHJA Horsemanship Quiz and Emerging Athletes Program. Tell me about your experience with the USHJA Horsemanship Quiz.
I’ve taken it two years now. I did it when I was applying for EAP, and I did both Level 1 and Level 2 and passed both of them with 100%. But that year I was also selected for EAP Nationals, so I couldn’t do HQC Nationals. [USHJA’s EAP nationals and Horsemanship Quiz Challenge nationals run concurrently so that participants in both programs can learn from the clinicians such as Peter Wylde.]
Your hands-on experience at your farm must have helped you score 100% on the tests. Can you name three or more important vaccines for show horses?
Tetanus and strangles; West Nile, it’s a six-way; rhino; Eastern & Western [equine encephalomyelitis].