From coast to coast, discipline to discipline, amateur riders like you and I are playing a greater role than ever before in equestrian sport. Whether making a first appearance at the local horse show or climbing to the top of the ranking list, amateurs are excelling at doing what they love—and they're using PonyApp along the way!
Tory & Beluga at Lake Placid. (c) The Book LLC/Courtesy of Tory Ketchum
In our first Amateur Spotlight, we catch up with jumper rider Tory Ketchum, a full-time equestrian who has her eye on jumping in her first, two-star grand prix in the coming year. Tory, who's been an avid PonyApp user for the past two years, says she loves being able to upload images, follow friends and their horses, and input and store important vet and therapy notes for her own stable of seven. "PonyApp simplifies my riding life by having all important information in one place. It’s so easy to look things up quickly!” Tory says.
From her favorite breeches to her wish list for the horse community at large, here are 20+ fun facts about Tory Ketchum.
Name: Tory Ketchum
Hometown: Greenwich, CT, but we now base out of Wellington.
Years riding: 30 (omg!) but I’ve taken a few breaks here and there.
Trainer/stable: I recently started working with Jeffery Welles.
Competes in: Mainly Amateur-Owner Jumpers (Low, Medium and High) and some open classes here and there. I’ve started to do some national-level grands prix and hope to do my first CSI2* this fall!
Tory & Issac 22 at Upperville. (c) Peggy Smith/Courtesy of Tory Ketchum
Horses names: Isaac 22, Be Happy, Beluga, Maestro van de Volkaert, Lingapore, Kelly CF and Lakita de Muze
Describe each of your horses in 3 words:
Isaac: brave, silly, athletic
Beluga: sweet, fiery, strong
Maestro: bold, powerful, cuddly
Lingapore: cheeky, brave, unpredictable
Kelly: loveable, incorrigible, courageous
Lakita: powerful, sweet, independent
Be Happy: kind, brave, cutie pie
Favorite treats: Bananas!
Favorite horse show venue and why: The Hampton Classic! I grew up showing there. It’s such a great venue and super friendly for non-riders, so it’s a great place for friends and family to come watch! It’s also the culmination of the summer and a great place to set goals. I was lucky enough to show in the field last year for the first time with my horse, Isaac. It had been a long-term goal for me that I finally reached and it was an amazing experience!
Day job: This is my day job! I’m extremely grateful and lucky to be able to do this full-time.
Favorite thing to do with your horse when you're not competing: Trail ride or spend time with them in their stalls (snuggles, scratches, etc!).
Best moment you’ve ever had at a horse show: I was just Champion in the High Amateurs in Upperville! It was my first show with Jeffery and I would say that’s definitely the best moment I’ve had at a horse show in a very long time.
One thing you've learned about competing: It’s always a learning experience. Good or bad, you just have to breathe and keep pushing forward!
Tory & Kelly CF at the Hampton Classic. (c) The Book LLC/Courtesy of Tory Ketchum
Personal motto: Never give up! My dad always taught me that no matter what happens, you have to get up, dust yourself off, and keep going. Those are words I try to live by.
Describe your personal style: Thrown together (haha!).
Celebrity/pop culture spirit animal: My dog Stella! She’s not a celebrity, but she’s definitely my spirit animal.
When I’m not on my horse, or at work, I’m... At home with my husband and dogs!
Key thing you’ve learned about work/life/riding balance: It’s a work in progress but I’m always trying to be better at balance with everything in my life.
The best thing about being an amateur is: Being able to show in both amateur classes and open classes, but also being able to learn from different people.
The worst thing about being an amateur is: The stigma that amateurs don’t work hard or know anything about horsemanship. I am always trying to work harder, learn more, and better understand the ins and outs of my horses both in and out of the ring.
I wish the horse community would be more... Supportive. I was recently at a show and a bunch of us (friends) were showing in all different classes and it felt so supportive. We were all cheering each other on. It was awesome! But there are also people that try to pull you down or want you to fail. I guess those people drive you to work harder and to do better, so maybe it’s a double-edged sword? Haha—I don’t know!
Favorite piece of riding apparel: My Ego7 breeches.
Favorite piece of tack: My copper French link 3-ring [bit].
Go-to grooming tip or barn hack: Quadritop [ointment] for everything!
Tory & Maestro at Lake Placid. (c) The Book LLC/Courtesy of Tory Ketchum
Describe a typical day at the barn: I get to the barn around 8-8:30, then I start riding. Each horse typically goes out to work for about an hour. Their workout changes daily. When I finish riding, I clean my boots, make grain, write the schedule for the next day, give all the horses cookies (that typically happens throughout the day!), let the dogs run around and then head home around 3:30.
Only my barn friends would know that... I am extremely hard on myself.
Why you use and recommend PonyApp: PonyApp is a great way to stay on top of what’s going on with your horses—I am able to keep track of everything on this database. But it really is for everyone. If you are an amateur who doesn’t do this full-time, and you have a trainer who manages your horses' daily workouts, maintenance, vet work, etc., it’s a useful tool as well. There are plenty of amateurs today who want to be more involved in the daily ins and outs of their horses’ care. PonyApp gives you transparency, and allows amateurs to feel that sense of involvement if they are not able to be at the barn on a daily basis.
Current thing you’re working on in your training: Speed!
Riding goal for the end of the 2019 season: I am really hoping I get to jump in my first, CSI 2* Grand Prix.
Riding goal for the next 2-3 years: I try not to set goals too far in advance. I feel that’s a gateway to being let down, especially in this sport. Things can all change so quickly.
Horses have made me a better person because... They are constantly giving so much of themselves to us and it always makes me want to be better for them, and give 110 percent in everything I do!