Rider Spotlight: Hannah Cowdrey
Meet Hannah Cowdrey, a 16-year-old Equestrian from Camarillo, California, who just finished her first USHJA Gold Star Clinic. We caught up with Hannah to learn more about her love for horses, how she prepared for the Gold Star Clinic, and her future plans.
Tell us about your horses!
Estelle is a 17-year-old Holsteiner mare from Sweden, who I leased for a year and fell in love with. We purchased her in June of 2018; and now almost two years later, she has become my heart horse that will do anything for me, as long as I do anything for her. I also have a 21-year-old hunter, who we lease out to a girl in our barn.
How did you get into riding?
I started riding in April 2013 after begging my mom for about a year to let me do a summer camp at Fieldstone Riding Club. After that, I started taking lessons twice a week which led me to leasing my first pony, Mojo, who took me from cross-rails to 2’3”. After Mojo, we leased a few other horses that got me to the 2’6” divisions. Then, we leased and eventually purchased Kramer, my 21-year-old hunter, who took me to my first medal finals and hunter derby. After Kramer, I was ready to move up and that is when we found Estelle. She was a completely different ride than anything I’ve ever ridden. With Estelle, I had to gain her trust and learn to ride a more challenging horse. Since moving up to the 1.10m in April of 2019, I have competed at Zone 10 Jumper Championships, and was a member of the gold winning team; and then I got the opportunity to attend the Gold Star Clinic – West.
What is the process for getting accepted into the USHJA Gold Star Clinic – West?
I got accepted into the Clinic as a Wild Card. The first set is qualifying for the Zone Jumper Championship. When I was here [Desert International Horse Park] competing in Zone Championships in the fall, I ended up 5th individually, which is when I found out that the Gold Star Clinic existed and that I was eligible to fill out a Wild Card application. I was over the moon to hear that I had been accepted, I was counting down the days until I was able to go.
How did you prepare for the clinic?
I did a lot of no stirrup work on the flat and over fences while I was preparing at home and worked on Estelle’s flexibility and agility. I made quite a few lists to figure out what I owned and what I needed to buy or borrow for the clinic, as well as an entire day dedicated to packing and de-greenifying Estelle (thanks Quic Silver Shampoo!).
What were you most excited for going into the clinic?
I was super excited about all of the lectures on all the different topics we would be covering and having Kirsten Coe lead the riding portion of the clinic.
What are your goals and plans for the rest of the year?
This year, I hope to become even more confident in the 1.10m-1.15m and hopefully move up to the 1.20s if Estelle is up for it! We have a few shows lined up for the 2020 season, including returning to the Desert International Horse Park during Week VII of Desert Circuit. It was really exciting to see all of the new improvements and I cannot wait to go back.