Despite her mother never wanting her to ride, Alexandria Quayle has grown from a spunky five year old with a passion for ponies to a reputable trainer in all three rings. After immense growth early on in her career, Alexandria has found her happy place in her own Grand Champion Show Stables and strives to achieve her motto of “happy horses, happy riders” every day. Alexandria took a moment to chat with JN about when her career began, how she got to where she is now, and a little bit in between.
Destined to Go Pro
Alexandria was five when she knew she wanted to start riding, but her mother thought otherwise. “My mom never wanted me to ride,” she joked. “I begged and pleaded and she kept saying no!” Eventually, however, Alexandria won her mother over and began taking lessons, attending her first Western show at the age of six. By the time she was eight, she had transitioned to the Jumper ring where she competed until the age of 16.
Despite success in the jumper ring, over time Alexandria found herself drawn to the grace and composure of the hunter and equitation rings. With her passion newly ignited, she decided to pursue a profession in the industry. “While I was in college, I started renting a barn and began a little business offering boarding and sales.” And with that, Grand Champion Show Stables was born when Alexandria was just 20 years old.
Despite her original opposition to training, Alexandria found herself stepping into that role and thriving. She adapted her own teaching style from a blend of her idols, finding tidbits from each and every one that she could use to make her team better. “I love to sit in big barns with big trainers and just observe and learn. When I am sitting by the show ring, I love to listen and take in what they are observing or fixating on.”
A Different Dream for Each Rider
What sets Grand Champion Show Stables apart from some of its competitors is Alexandria’s determination to help each client succeed, no matter their level of competition. While her training has led riders to great achievements such as competing at Marshall and Sterling Finals, an assortment of mini medals and equitation finals, and to taking home the win in the New England Pleasure, she also caters to clients with smaller dreams with the same gusto.
“I have a bunch of clients who show and we go everywhere from the smallest of schooling shows all the way up to Saugerties and HITS,” Alexandria told JN. “We do a little bit of everything!” As at trainer, she encourages her students to have goals but she doesn’t like to place the pressure on them to obtain those goals in a set amount of time.
Rather, Alexandria likes to have goals that can be achieved over a length of time to help build confidence instead of leaving her riders feeling like they are scraping by to meet a goal by a deadline. “For example,” Alexandria explained, “I have one adult rider whose goal is to finally march around and feel confident and have a great show season. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be standing at Marshall and Sterling Finals every year, but for me if that is her goal, then that is huge enough for me.”
While Grand Champion Show Stables has moved and grown over the years, Alexandria’s focus remains the same. “I really love to focus on making the team better, not just one aspect. You can always progress as a rider or the horse can always progress, but to build that team is harder.”
The Fuel That Keeps Her Going
As for Alexandria, her dreams include bringing along her young horses and a few clients horses. Currently, she is enjoying working with her 5 year old OTTB gelding by the name of Fenway, who she is taking her time with and just hopes to get him around some courses this year with success. Her heart is also set on participating in a few more National Derbies this year with her own Midnight Magic Man and two of her clients horses, Exquisite and Mystic Chocolate.
While working in the industry can pose its own challenges, it is the satisfaction of her clients that pushes her to be her best every day. “One of my favorite parts of this business is seeing clients and horses achieve their goals. Whether it’s a little kid cantering for the first time with a smile on their face or walking out of the ring and getting around their first course ever or walking into Marshall and Sterling Finals and feeling accomplished. Knowing that I was a part of that is huge to me.”
Many things may have changed over the years for Alexandria and Grand Champion Show Stables, but one of the things that have not is her motto of ‘happy horses, happy riders.’ She strives to provide an environment that is safe, positive, supportive, and fun for both horse and rider and she doesn’t see herself drifting from that focus.
“Ten years from now, I would be satisfied with a barn full of happy horses and happy clients,” she said. “That would be successful for me.”
Alexandria Quayle is proudly sponsored by Draper Therapies. She and her team use Draper pads, wraps, and blankets on their horses regularly to help them recover from the rigors of practice and the show ring, and to live their longest, healthiest, best lives. Learn more about Draper’s full line of therapeutic products through the link below.