Spring is upon us, the flowers are blooming, and shows are getting back into full swing. There is so much to be excited about this time of year. To add to the excitement, we have sat down with amateur exhibitor Jennifer Kyle to kick off our series of delving into the day jobs that our fellow competitors carry and the horses that they enjoy.
Jennifer Kyle lives in Sacramento, California where she is the Sales Director for Nationwide Private Client. She writes personal insurance (home, auto, umbrella, etc) for high net worth individuals with appointed insurance agents and brokerages. “I find it incredibly rewarding when we are able to help and protect our clients in a claims situation. Being a Californian, the wildfires here the last few years have been devastating to so many. Being a part of a company that is making people whole again is something I value.”
Jennifer was an avid all-around competitor who stepped away from the show pen in 2015. “I really believed I would never come back. However, in 2019 I realized how much I missed it and still thought about it, and decided I wanted it to be a part of my life in some form or another.” She began taking lessons at a Hunter Jumper barn that was close to her home. While taking lessons, she was reminded of her love for the English events. While she wasn’t sure she wanted to take the dive into actual jumping, she decided it was time to find a horse that was suited for the English classes.
“I worked on budgeting to have a horse again and started thinking about what I wanted.” Jennifer explained. She reached out to several trainers that she knew from the past but was coming up short. “My mom reminded me that we used to look on Dreamhorse.com. I'm not sure either of us really thought anything would come of it,” she elaborated. Unbeknownst to them, one short search away was Jennifer’s actual dream horse. “The first time I rode him, I knew immediately he was the one. He was the first horse
I'd tried with the real intention to buy. It seemed a little crazy to buy the first horse I saw off the internet without a trainer to help me.” She knew to trust her gut; it has been a match made in heaven ever since.
Jennifer and her beautiful bay gelding, Like A Boss longingly known as Bruce, now compete in the jumping arena and are currently showing in Hunt Seat Equitation, Working Hunter, Equitation Over Fences, Hunter Hack and Working Hunter Under Saddle. Jennifer took their journey slowly at first, keeping him near home which made riding daily possible. “We did a lot of cavalettis and got to know each other really well. I even rode him around the trails in Marin with friends.” She remembered fondly. After building their bond, she began taking jumping lessons from local trainers. “I really never thought I'd learn to jump, but Bruce loves it and I have caught the bug too!” Jennifer wanted to improve her lead change and knew exactly who she would reach out to. Jennifer sought the advice of Nancy Renfro, her previous All Around trainer who had coached her to multiple championships including a top ten finish at the AQHA World Show. The partnership proved to be a success and Jennifer decided to put Bruce back in full time training.
We asked Jennifer how she juggles having a successful career with her reemergence into the show world. “Having a coach who can assist you with everything is very helpful,” Jennifer explained, adding another reason why she appreciates having Bruce with Nancy. “Nancy and I talked about what I wanted to do this year and built a show schedule around that. As a young working professional, you can't go to every show.” Jennifer plans which shows she will attend far in advance so that she can prioritize her work and showing goals. “When I am at a horse show, I don't check emails and try to half reply in a rushed way. When I am at work, I am 100% focused.” Jennifer shared. Upon returning from a show, she dedicates at least one full day to catch up on anything that she missed and prepare for upcoming work needs.
One of the biggest pieces of advice Jennifer had to share with fellow horsemen and women was to be a student of the sport. “Everyone has something to teach you. When someone takes the time to teach you, tell them thank you.” This is true for whatever stage of riding you are at. Whether you are just beginning, or a veteran in your field, there is always an opportunity to learn. “Horses, and especially horse showing, is not an individual endeavor. Work to build a network of people who you can ask for help to make it more approachable. Once you have that network, value them and thank them.” Jennifer said with a smile. Thank you Jennifer for sharing your journey with us!