It Takes A Village: Jumper Nation Exclusive with Kady Abrahamson

Photo courtesy of Kady Abrahamson,

Photo courtesy of Kady Abrahamson,

Often as Equestrians, we idolize a rider for their success in the arena. But up-and-coming 18-year-old amateur rider Kady Abrahamson is quick to recognize everyone behind the scenes that makes those successes a reality. Following her recent win in the $25,000 Jr/AO Jumper Classic at HITS Ocala, we caught up with Kady to discuss the class and how she became the talented young rider she is today.

Where it all Began

Kady grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where she first started her riding career as a Pony Club member. She recalls spending every spare second riding horses at her grandparent’s farm as a child from the tender age of 3 years old. It was her grandfather who bought Kady her first horse, a stunning Arabian whom she adored. Even as a small child, she was riding alone exploring the farm on trail rides. It was that early introduction to horses that sparked a passion that she still has today.

She began taking professional instruction with David Beisel (of David Beisel Stables) and spent 10 years with David forming the foundation of her riding career. Kady was just 13 when she competed in her first Grand Prix on the well-known Thoroughbred Irish Hunt, whom she purchased from David. Irish Hunt took her from the Low Childrens to Grand Prix in just two years and is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement at the Abrahamson farm.

When Kady was around 15 years old, she and David sat down and had a conversation about her aspirations and her future, not a conversation had by many people that age. David’s business was booming, a fantastic event for any barn owner, but the more clientele he took on the less personalized attention he was able to give to his higher level riders. The pair mutually agreed Kady needed to pursue more one-on-one instruction to get her to that next step up in her riding capabilities.

It was then that Kady became connected with Australian show jumper, Scott Keach. Kady has ridden with the world class eventer-turned-show-jumper for the past three years, only dabbling in other instruction when Scott was representing the Australian Equestrian Team at the Rio Olympic Games. Kady and Scott spend their summers at Kady’s family facility, Abrahamson Equestrian, in Lexington, Kentucky and winter in Reddick, Florida to hit the HITS Ocala circuit. The pairing of the two has proven to be extremely beneficial to Kady’s career, both as a Junior and now into her Amateur status.

Bugatti: The Horse that Rode Through it All

Every horse is special in his or her own way, but Kady’s own Bugatti has quite a story. The Abrahamson family first noticed the gelding shortly after being imported from Europe through a contact of theirs. The first time Kady’s mother saw Bugatti she commented to the owners that if they ever wanted to sell, she was to be the first one they called. Almost three years later, the Abrahamson family got that phone call. Kady laughed as she recollected on the story, “He just said, ‘Remember when you told me to call you if I was selling Bugatti? Well, here is that phone call!’”

Bugatti, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding, was previously owned by Ashland Stables and campaigned by Juan Carlos Perez Resendi of Mexico and then by Beijing Olympian Sharn Wordley of New Zealand, who is based here in the U.S.

A month and a half after purchasing Bugatti, the pair went on to compete in their first 1.40 meter together in the $25,000 Junior/Amateur Class at HITS – and they won.

Photo courtesy of Kady Abrahamson,

Kady and Bugatti. Photo courtesy of Kady Abrahamson,

That victory was followed by many successes in large arenas against admirable competition, and Bugatti was always able to hold his own. After a successful winter at HITS Ocala, they headed back to Lexington.

Kady had owned the handsome gelding for less than three months and saw a bright season ahead, but a few weeks after they settled in at home heartbreak struck: Bugatti colicked. It was serious enough that he was sent in for surgery and the Abrahamson family wondered if he would ever jump again.

Photo courtesy of Kady Abrahamson,

Kady and Bugatti. Photo courtesy of Kady Abrahamson,

After a summer off, they slowly began reintroducing him into work. The win in the JR/AO Jumper Classic at HITS Ocala earlier this month was just Bugatti’s third show back. Despite the high of the win, the health of her horse is most important to Kady. She had intentions of showing him in the Grand Prix this coming weekend, but decided to pull him out of the class and let him rest as he comes back into work. Patience is a virtue, and one that is evident in Kady.

Aspirations and a Fantastic Team are Very Intertwined

With balancing her first year as an Amateur and working towards a degree in Sports Business at Jacksonville University, Kady is taking her dreams slow and steady. When Kady spoke with JN, she had just finished her last final and was on the road to be with her team. “I want to kind of cruise through the next four years as far as riding goes,” she said, “I just have to get to graduation!” Kady spends Monday- Thursday at school and loads up on the weekends to make the trip to Ocala to ride.

Kady and Charline 28. Photo courtesy of Kady Abrahamson,

Kady and Charline 28. Photo courtesy of Kady Abrahamson,

Making this schedule work and keeping her string of horses happy, healthy, and fit requires a lot more time than Kady has in her schedule. Thankfully, she has a wonderful team that stays at the barn and dedicates their energy to her horses while she is at school. Patricio Rodriguez, a fairly new addition to their farm, serves as her Barn Manager and main rider. Bronte Alder is a young New Zealand rider who is helping out at the farm and exercising Kady’s horses so they remain in top shape.

Kady profusely praised these two for all that they do for her. “They do such a super job,”  she said, the sincerity obvious in her voice. “They help me so much, they keep everyone fit and happy. I am able to come home and hop on as if I was never away.”

Kady intends on keeping her Amateur status through her college career, thanks to the help of her great team and supportive parents, but hopes to one day open her own business. She dreams of grabbing hold of her Professional status and making a US team one day. Until then, she plans to buckle down, tackle her degree, and show every chance she can get.

With any free time Kady has, she spends it as an Ambassador for the Horses n Heroes Program, which provides equestrian opportunities for young women who lack the funds to pursue the sport independently. She tries to help instill a humble quality in the young riders she works with, reminding them to never blame their horse and to always focus on the ride at hand.

“It won’t always go perfect. Sometimes you will have a big win and then you ride into the next ring with that high and then you might fall off,” she said, an outlook she applies to herself in the ring and to the youth she mentors. “You can’t get caught up in it all. You have to surround yourself with positive people and have a positive mentality to be successful!”

With a strong foundation in her Junior years and dynamic support now as an Amateur, Kady Abrahamson is a young rider to keep on your radar. Thanks to a wonderful team that helps her straddle two locations and a full-time academic career, Kady is able to do what most of us Amateurs have to do- make it work however you can! She is the first one to recognize those who have helped her get to where she is today, and how they’re striving to help her get where she’s going.