Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spotlight on Jennifer Dow Olsen

Today we have the next installment in our spotlight series where we feature a member of the Course Brook Farm community. Jennifer Dow Olsen is slightly in the minority at CBF as she's a hunter/jumper rider, and a very successful one at that. She has two horses of her own at Course Brook, A Priori (a.k.a. Lucy) and Big Man on Campus (a.k.a. Fitz), as well as a handful of students and their own horses. We are, of course, welcoming of all disciplines, so I'm pleased to feature Jennifer in this blog.

Jennifer and A Priori in the pre-green hunters at Vermont Summer Festival in 2011

Jennifer grew up riding at her family’s hunter/jumper farm, the Westbrook Hunt Club in Westbrook, CT and trained there with Jane Dow. Jennifer has also had the unique pleasure of training with the great Hall of Fame trainer, Victor Hugo-Vidal, as well as being invited to teach alongside him as a professional. She had a successful Junior career, including qualifying for Indoors with her Junior Jumper, Hill Street. Jennifer stayed on at Westbrook Hunt Club after turning professional, continuing to bring along young horses from basic ground work to competing on the “A” circuit and teaching students to numerous championships. She has competed up to level 7 in the jumpers with horses like Westbrook and Hill Street. Jennifer has shown successfully in the hunter and jumper rings at both local CHJA and NEHC levels, as well as winning Year End Zone Championships on the National Circuit from Pre-green through the Regular Working Hunter divisions. Most recently, Jennifer qualified for the 2011 World Championship Hunter Rider’s emerging pro finals at Capital Challenge with A Priori, a horse she has trained since she was a 3 year-old. Jennifer has trained riders of all levels, in Equitation, Hunters, and Jumpers from start to year-end championships and to finals.

Jennifer was kind enough to respond to a few of the questions that I like to pose to our featured riders. Thanks for sharing, Jennifer.

1. How old were you when you first started riding? I was far younger than my memory. My family always says with a chuckle that it was before I could walk.

2. What is your greatest extravagance? My horses.

3. What other talent besides riding would you most like to have? I wish I could dance. I think those that are familiar with my dancing enjoy the entertainment value of bad dancing, but I have a great appreciation for people that can dance well.

4. What do you consider your greatest achievement (riding or otherwise)? The family my husband and I have created together.

5. If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be? A Grand Prix horse. I'd love to experience what it feels like to be that powerfully athletic, brave and careful, and tremendous heart.

6. What is your most treasured possession? My grandmother's horse head necklace. She wore it every day and it reminds me of her great strength, will, and positive thinking that made her successful.

7. Who are your favorite writers/artists/riders? W. B. Yeats is my favorite poet. There are so many great riders I admire. Scott Stewart and Sandy Ferrell are my favorite hunter riders. Beezie Madden is my favorite jumper rider.

8. What is your motto? All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them.

9. Have you ever ridden sidesaddle? No.

10. What is your favorite riding moment (competition or anything else)? My favorite riding moments are always had in the summer time, riding as the sun is just coming up, just me and my horse.

11. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I'm not sure I could do better on how fortunate I am to live in such a great area.

12. If you could do any job besides teaching/training, what would it be (doesn't need to be realistic). Novelist.

Jennifer is accepting students and horses in training. She can be reached at:

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