JN caught up with Sarah after her victory aboard Cinnamon 25 in the $2,000 Animo Low 1.20 Junior/Amateur class on the Split Rock Jumping Tour – Get to know this sensational up-and-comer below!
To say that Sarah Bagworth has had a successful show season for 2017 is a bit of an understatement. She and her horses have brought home three wins in the High Amateur Owner classes at WEF, one of which was a $15,000 class, which earned them Division Champion for that week. Add in another win in the $10,000 Low Amateur Owner Classic during the final week of WEF and another Championship and it’s clear that she and her two mares are a force to be reckoned with.
They kick off the spring season with another win at the beautiful and energized Split Rock Jumping Tour in Lexington, Kentucky, and we simply had to know more about Sarah,her promising mounts, and her plans for the future.
Split Rock- An Obvious Choice
“Splitrock was a must-do on our horse show schedule,” Sarah told JN. “Derek Braun and his management team have done a great job of catering to the riders and have created a really special energy here. They have checked off all of the important boxes: great footing, great course designing, and great fun for everyone!”
Some of those special touches that Split Rock has perfected are the beautiful ribbons, grand award presentations (including placing each winner upon a podium for their country’s national anthem), and a $500 award for best post-round fist pump.
“I think this sport is so special and we shouldn’t under celebrate the good days because there is a lot of hard work behind all of them. As an athlete competing here, they really make us feel highlighted and important and that has been inspiring,” said Sarah.
Preparation Enables Performance
The Toronto, Canada native now splits her time between Wellington in the winter and Lexington in the summer, spending every spare minute honing her skills and preparing her string with her trainer and boyfriend, Juan Ortiz of Juan Ortiz Stables.
“Juan is a great trainer and has really improved my confidence and riding technique substantially over the years,” she shared with JN. “I think the preparation for the ring is done at home. I have a lot of confidence in our program and care; we all work very hard every day to make sure that the horses show up to the ring well rested, properly trained, fit, and ready.”
And that preparation obviously paid off as she and her 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare, Cinnamon 25, captured the win in their class Thursday. “Cinnamon is just a natural competitor, I can plan to go for every tight turn, leave out every stride, and try to win every time I walk in the ring on her.”
That all-in personality that Cinnamon carries is what Sarah feels led them to success at Split Rock. “It was a friendly and inviting track, but there were some great options for riders to take risks. I think ultimately it was an inside turn option to the last fence that won the class for me.”
With a pair of two exceptional mares that she adores, Cinnamon 25 and her other partner Goldfinger VD Hengstenpoel, Sarah has her sights set on moving through the levels this year. That game plan includes a few more shows in Kentucky and hopefully a stop at Split Rock’s new Columbus, Ohio location this fall. When it comes to her future, Sarah is striving towards the big leagues with the official maple leaf in mind.
“For the future, I absolutely have all the stars in my eyes. I want to go as far as I can in this sport. Hopefully with a lot of hard work and a little luck, there is a red jacket in my future. That would be my ultimate goal, to ride for Canada on a senior team.”
After wrapping up a successful weekend, Sarah will return home to her always-supportive family at Juan Ortiz Stables and continue to train with those dreams in mind. She leaves Split Rock full of gratitude for the events coordinators and sponsors as well as inspiration for what might lie ahead.