From a young age in the barnyard of Ojai Valley School’s Lower Campus to the stable at Whitethorne LLC, Caspian Ellis (Class of 2020 OVS graduate) has excelled throughout her years in the equestrian world. Her hard work and dedication have led her to nationals where she placed within the top twenty-five riders out of two hundred and fifty elite equestrians.
Caspian Ellis, a dedicated equestrian and now a college freshman at the University of California, Davis had a very different first semester of school than she was expecting. “Before the virus, I was hoping to defer from college for a semester so that I would be able to focus on nationals before I went back, however, those plans were changed,” Caspian explained. “Because school is offered remotely this year, I began just like everyone else did in the fall and have been taking classes online. I will continue this for the rest of the year so that I can continue to ride, compete for my barn, and maximize my time at home with my horses before I depart for college in-person next year.”
Throughout the last few months, Caspian has been putting lots of time and hard work into riding, showing her passion for the sport and her horses. “I have dedicated every ounce of free time I have into bettering myself and my riding,” she explained. “There is not one day in the past year where I haven’t done something to benefit my riding, all with the hopes that one day it will all pay off.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Caspian has been able to excel further in her sport and spend hours upon hours at the barn during the week.
“It has definitely been a blessing in disguise. This extra time that I have been able to dedicate to the sport has profoundly impacted my riding and helped me to excel in these past few months. Not only have I been able to spend more time in the saddle, but I have also been able to learn a lot more about my horses from the time we spend together,” Caspian said.
With the time Caspian had gained due to the pandemic, she has been able to hone in time to perfect her skills before showing in California as well as traveling across the country to partake in nationals, where she competed against some of the top junior equestrians.
Caspian and her family, as well as horses and trainers, traveled across the country to partake in this year’s nationals. Due to the pandemic, things looked a little different.
“Nationals was an amazing experience. I had one in the West Coast I (USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals) and two on the East Coast, the USEF Hunter Seat Medal, and the ASPCA Maclay Final. I was on the East Coast for over a month training,
traveling, and competing in these championships,” Caspian explained.“The USEF Hunter Seat final is normally held at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in Harrisburg, but due to COVID 19 and the need for social distancing, the location was changed this year to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina.”
Junior nationals are a bittersweet time for riders, but their hard work and dedication does not go unseen. “Junior riding is the golden moment for all young riders. And Indoors (nationals) is simultaneously the worst and best day of our lives. We showcase the blood, sweat, and tears that we pour into this sport, as we polish our boots, button out jackets, and tuck our hair into our helmets for the last show of the year,” Caspian said. “There really is no better moment in someone’s junior career than winning an equitation final and accepting the award under the glow of the stadium’s lights.”
The end of this year’s nationals marked the closing of her time showing in the junior division, but Caspian is now looking into her future in the equestrian world. “This was my last year to compete in the USEF Hunter Seat Medal and the ASPCA Maclay because, as of January 1st when your age is recorded, I will be 18 and no longer eligible to compete in these junior classes,” Caspian said. “Though this was my last time competing in these finals I could not be more thankful to have had such a wonderful experience. I am now ready to start the next chapter in my riding career.”Share