My Desert Circuit: Meet Rachel Long
Rachel Long is a twenty-year-old equestrian hailing from Horseshoe Bend, Idaho. She is an avid competitor in the 1.40-1.45m divisions and Grand Prix classes, the U25 Classics, and the 5 & 6 Year Old Young Jumper divisions. As a dedicated supporter of the National Sunshine Series and Desert Circuit shows at Desert International Horse Park, we caught up with Rachel to learn more about her horses, her favorite riding memory, and about her time at the North American Youth Championships in 2019.
DIHP: How did you get into riding horses?
RL: I have been around horses for as long as I can remember! My grandmother is a trainer so I was at the barn as often as I could, riding ponies and being a barn rat. I couldn’t get enough and was trying to learn as much as possible!
DIHP: What makes horses so special for you?
RL: A lot of things make horses special for me. It has always been something I’ve done with my family, from the pony ring to the Grand Prix ring it has always been a family affair with my grandparents coaching and my sister and dad riding as well. I also work with many of my horses starting very early in their careers, so I get to ride and develop them. This week I have three horses here that I took over their first jumps under saddle, so that is really special as well.
DIHP: What is the best memory you have while riding?
RL: I would say the best memory I have while riding is the North American Youth Championships in 2019. It was my first time at NAYC and my first time showing one of my own horses on the east coast. My grandfather, sister and I had made the 43 hour drive to Old Salem Farm with my horse and my grandmother met us there. In the first qualifying class, on the way to the first jump my mare saw something and spooked about 3 strides away from the oxer. I was able to sit down and kicker her up to it, she jumped it clear and we finished up 8th overall!! I remember it so vividly because the whole show was watching and when it happened everyone gasped, thinking I wouldn’t be able to make it over the 1.40 oxer from a near standstill!
DIHP: Tell us about your horses and what you compete in?
RL: I have four horses with me right now – I have Pampa Helada (Canturano x Pampa Frutilla x Quidam de Revel) who I helped break when she was 4 and started showing her full time when she was 7. She usually shows in the 1.40-1.45m and U25 classes, but she is not showing here this week as she’s been showing a lot recently and is taking a week of rest!
HH Diamant Blue (Diarado x Charavelle x Chacco Blue) is an 8 year old stallion owned by Marsha Ball and I am currently showing him in the 1.40 classes with the hope he can move up during week 7!! He came to us at the end of his 6 year old year and has been so fun to work with and develop. He is super talented and scopey, the future is very bright for him!
Pisco (Baltic VDL x M.B. Waterloo x Heartbreaker) is a 6 year old imported from Chile. He was bred by a family friend and I have been working with him since he was 3. He is now showing in the 6 year old classes with the goal of the USHJA Young Jumper Championships in September!
ROC Zero LF (ROC USA x Zingara) is our oldest homebred and he is 5 this year. I have worked with him from the day he was born, from halter breaking to first ride I have done all the training on him. He is now competing in the USHJA 5 year old classes and the goal is also the USHJA Young Jumper Championships in September!
DIHP: What is it like competing at DIHP?
RL: Competing at DIHP is super fun! There are new improvements being made to the facility every week, the courses are super fun and the classes are really competitive. We really enjoy our time here!
DIHP: What has been your biggest accomplishment while competing?
RL: I would say the best memory I have while riding is finishing 12th in the $30k Grand Prix and 3rd in the U25 classic during National Sunshine week 1. Not only was the track very big and technical, but I also went first in the order. It was so much fun competing against some of the best horses on the West Coast and holding my own!!