JN Exclusive: Kady Abrahamson on Separating School & Showing

JN has had the pleasure of working with Kady Abrahamson in the past regarding her successes in the ring. This ambitious young amateur has dedicated her heart to the sport and balances a string of six show horses with a strict school schedule. JN met up with Kady to talk about her recent acheivements in Ocala and how she manages to mesh her two lives into one.

Bringing Home the Blues

Like many equestrians, Kady has opted to spend the winter show season in warm, sunny Florida competing at the iconic horse show destination, HITS Ocala. There, she has put her best foot forward and brought home many accolades aboard her many talented mounts.

One of those horses is Basco H2, a horse Kady describes as sensitive and ultra careful. “I’ve had Basco since he was five years old when we bought him freshly imported from the Netherlands and only having jumped .90m,” Kady shared with JN. “David Beisel, who I was training with at the time, thought this horse had a very bright future. He was right!”

Kady and Basco H2 rejoicing in their big win! Photo provided by Kady Abrahamson

Aboard Basco, Kady was able to bring home the win in week one at HITS Ocala, a win that was very special to Kady and all of her team. “That was his first show back in a year as a minor injury set him on the sidelines for a bit. I’ll forever be thankful for the team behind me to get him back feeling better than ever. I wasn’t even meant to be jumping that class that he had won. He was supposed to end with the 1.30m Friday as it was his first week back showing, but I had a gut feeling that he was ready to go Sunday.”

That gut feeling wound up paying off. With a lightning fast jump-off, none of the other competitors came within five seconds of Basco and Kady’s time. “I’m really excited for his future as he is only just coming 11 years old this year and is proving to us he wants to move up into the big leagues.”

Basco isn’t the only horse Kady is making waves with in Ocala. She recently brought home the win in the U-Dump High JR/AO Classic aboard her fiery mare, Charline 28. Her other mounts, Boudika Ideal Home, Mega Jackpot, Bugatti, and Bamiro, are also giving Florida their best this season and Kady has been consistent in bringing home the ribbons with them.

Kady and Charline 28. Photo provided by Kady Abrahamson

Finding a Balance

It isn’t all sunshine and bright lights, however. Kady has had to center herself mentally to balance 18 credit hours of school this semester at Jacksonville University and challenging some of the biggest names in the industry. “My parents always say, ‘if you don’t get good grades then no horses,’ so that has always pushed me to thrive in school,” she said of her heavy course load.

Kady was recently inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success and received the Presidential Seal Award for maintaining a high GPA and being involved active both on and off campus.

Kady and her very proud parents celebrating when Charline 28 won National Horse of the Year for the 1.40/1.45m High Amateurs. Photo provided by Kady Abrahamson

With her horses two and a half hours away in Ocala, Kady has to get creative with her schedule. “Sometimes I drive to Ocala Tuesday nights after my night class gets out at 9pm, get into Ocala at 11:30, and show Wednesday or ride at home Wednesday. Then I drive back to Jacksonville Wednesday night, go to class Thursday and drive back Thursday night to Ocala and show Friday through Sunday. It’s extremely difficult as a full time college student and a full time rider, but I am thankful to have the best team behind me to keep things going.”

The most challenging part of tying all these loose ends together? Kady shares it can be tough to find a balance between riding, school, and having a social life. “Balancing school and showing has been extremely difficult. Being able to drop whatever stress I have from to school to ride at my best is harder than it seems. And the same goes for school, it can be hard to be able to drop stress from riding to perform my best at school is hard as well.”

Thankfully, Kady has supportive parents, an amazing team at the barn in Ocala, and a supportive group of sorority sisters to get her by, with the latter being of upmost importance.

Kady schooling Mega Jackpot at home. Photo provided by Kady Abrahamson

“My big piece of advice for riders moving into the amateurs is go to school and don’t think that in order to be good at riding, you have to drop being a normal kid too. I grew up going to a normal school, I went to homecoming and prom but if there was a show or something that the horses needed, they would come first. Now that I’m in college, I take advantage of my off time from riding and have fun. I never have found myself getting too caught up in the college life as in the end I’m an athlete and have to keep my head on straight.”

While it isn’t always easy, Kady strives to maintain her grades and keep her horses in the best care possible so she can excel in both realms of her life. She wants other riders to know that it is possible to achieve all of your dreams.

“Yes, riding is stressful and so is school, but both reciprocate and relieve the stress for the other. It is possible to live a double life. Commitment is key, you need to want to do well at both.”