Spencer Smith on Track for Grand Prix Competition in 2012
MAY 8, 2012 – WELLINGTON, FL – For fifteen year old equestrian, Spencer Smith, riding has always been a big part of his life. Growing up in Wellington, Florida, Smith has developed into a well rounded show jumper that juggles a busy training schedule along with a full timetable at Wellington Christian. The month of April was an eventful month for Smith, with a win at the WEF Junior Classic aboard Skara Glen’s Voltan H, as well as a double clear round at the Open Stake, taking 8th place honors from a field of over 40 riders.
Smith has been fortunate to have had the opportunity to grow up in a show jumping family where he has been able to develop his skills under the tutelage of both his parents, Ken and Emily – each notable trainers within the equestrian world. Their influence on their son started at a very early age and each lend specific inputs into the preparation that goes into every trip in the competition ring.
Smith relayed the differences between each of his parents’ approaches: “Both of my parents are very competitive by nature, my dad works a lot on developing my riding position and is very focused on maintaining a calm approach on the horse. My mom is a fantastic motivator that is great at getting me mentally prepared to enter the ring and keep me set on what I need to do to win.”
The one-two tandem approach to Smith’s riding has paid dividends over the past year. As a fourteen year old, Smith competed last year in his first Grand Prix in Lexington, Kentucky, and has high aspirations of competing in at least a couple more during the summer of 2012. Smith added, “Voltan H is an exceptional horse, and we have been building on a great rapport in the show ring this season, I really think we have a shot at competing in a couple of Grand Prix events this season, particularly when we show in Cleveland during the summer. I would also like to build up some more experience at the higher levels with another horse I’m excited about, an 11 year old Zangersheide mare named Charme Z.”
The pressure will be elevated this summer, as the young rider will compete towards qualifying for the Maclay Zone IV Regionals, a demanding series that attracts the top junior riders from the sport. Smith will begin his qualification pursuit at the end of May at the Devon Horse Show, which takes place in Pennsylvania. Smith will face off this season against some of his fellow riders, Caroline Spogli, Leylan Gleeson and Shawn Casady – all riders that train with his parents at Ashland Farms. On the friendly rivalry, Smith remarked, “we have all been riding together now for the last few years and all get along as friends, but when it comes to getting in the ring – we all want to compete at the highest level we can.”
During the spring season, Smith has added a new influence to his riding development, with the addition of trainer Andres Rodriguez. “I find that Andres and I share similar frame types, and I’ve learned a lot from him over the last few months. Sometimes it’s easier to receive instruction from an additional point of view and Andres has been a huge help in getting me prepped to compete this year.”
The team at Ashland Farms will soon embark on the spring and summer tour across the East Coast, with stops in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. With a strong team of supporters and a pair of athletic horses, Smith is optimistic about his chances to meet and exceed some of the goals he has set for himself in 2012.