My Desert Circuit: Meet Noah Nelson
Santa Barbara native, Noah Nelson, has been around horses from the first day he was born. Coming from equestrian roots, his mother sparked his passion for horses and had him on the back of a horse before he could walk. His mom, Leslie Pinkerton-Nelson, is the owner and head trainer of Sterling Silver Stables where Noah first began learning to ride.
Through hard work and determination, Noah has worked his way up the ranks and now competes in the 3’6” Junior Hunter division. He also just recently competed in the inaugural $10,000 Nations Cup Hunter Team Challenge here at the Desert International Horse park alongside his good friend Skylar Wireman and professional Jenny Karazissis where they finished second.
We were able to catch up with Noah and talk about his passion for the sport.
DIHP: What horses do you have and what do you compete in?
NN: My horses are Odyssesus and Holy Smokes and I compete in the 3’6” Junior Hunters.
DIHP: What is your background with horses?
NN: I have been riding horses before I was even born. My mom has been a trainer since she was eighteen. She put me on my first pony and ever since then it clicked and I haven’t stopped. She never forced me to do it, which made it fun. I was able to mess around at the barn and just have fun with my pony. I have competed in everything. I started in the leadline with my miniature pony and to have come this far, to compete in the juniors, is a huge accomplishment for me.
DIHP: Talk about your first pony.
NN: That would be Beauty. We actually found her in a corn field and she is now retired at our barn so that is super special. She is the most perfect pony I could have ever asked to be mine.
DIHP: What is your favorite part about horse showing?
NN: I love the experience. I love being around the horses and the people. Just stepping out of the car in the morning and just smelling horse poop. Honestly, that is just one of the greatest things. The smell of boot polish and horse poop and just that true horse smell just makes me happy as soon as I step out of the car.
DIHP: What has been your favorite part about showing at DIHP?
NN: It is the longest I have ever been at a show and it is the best. I love just being able to see so many different people. I’m able to see old friends and meet new ones. It is such a big showgrounds that you can go anywhere you want and meet someone new.
DIHP: You competed in the inaugural $10,000 Nations Cup Hunter Team Challenge. What was that experience like for you?
NN: This isn’t much of a team sport beyond you and your horse. Rarely do you get that team aspect and to have that, especially in the hunters where it is even more uncommon is really fun. Being able to compete as a team is really nice because you can lean on them. You get to help your teammates where you can and they get to help you succeed. If you make a mistake, it’s not as big of a deal because your other teammates are there to help you succeed.
DIHP: What are you working towards this season?
NN: My biggest goal right now is to make it to Capital Challenge again in the 3’6” Junior Hunters. I have been really trying to focus on my riding. I’m really lucky that I have such a supportive family behind me so I can go show. We are trying to increase our show schedule this year. Last year was supposed to be our go go go year and then COVID-19 happened but I’m happy to be back in the saddle and working towards my goals in the show ring.
DIHP: Who do you look up to in your riding?
NN: Nick Haness and Jenny Karazissis. Yesterday, that was such an honor to ride with her. Skylar Wireman is a good friend of mine and she was like ‘Hey, do you want to come ride with Jenny Karazissis and me?’ and I was like ‘What? That is awesome! Heck yeah I want to!’ It really was such an honor. She made it look like cross rails. It was just perfect and it was all right there for her.