THERMAL, Calif. – Mar. 7, 2021 – In the final moments of Desert International Horse Park’s (DIHP) inaugural $1,000 DIHP Under Saddle Championship, it all came down to two riders: Alexis Taylor riding her 17.0hh entry, County Line, and Lauren Padilla with her 12.2hh Small Pony, So Enchanted. Onlookers were seemingly seeing double: both County Line and So Enchanted are striking Chestnuts with chrome that move exceedingly well. After careful deliberation, the judges called Padilla and So Enchanted into the center of the ring, deeming Taylor and County Line champions, but Padilla still had a grin from ear to ear hugging her pony.
Padilla competes in the Small Pony Hunter division with her two ponies, Buzzworthy, owned by Padilla (Highland Farm, LLC), and So Enchanted, owned by Sprucedale Inc. “I like Buzz [Buzzworthy] because he has a nice canter rhythm and I find my distances really easily on him,” commented Padilla. “Lex [So Enchanted]; I like how she flows forward and listens to my leg. When I get on Lexi, she’s more forward and fluid, so she’s able to go for the long distances. Buzz likes to stay in his own rhythm and go for the perfect distance. They’re a little different, but I love riding them both.”
The eleven-year-old competitor has been paired with Buzz for nearly a year and a half, but Lexi is a new partnership for her. Padilla just started leasing Lexi after trying her at The Capital Challenge Horse Show last Fall.
Lauren and So Enchanted. Photo © Sydney Lowe Photography
“I just wanted to show Lexi off the best I could in the Under Saddle Championship. I never thought I would be in the ribbons; I just tried my best,” Padilla shared about Friday’s class. “I think we stood out the most because Lexi is a very small pony and we were going against these big horses. I couldn’t believe I was in the top two. It was challenging because Alexis [Taylor] is such a good rider and her horse moves very well too. I had to give it my best.”
Padilla trains under the tutelage of Pegasus Show Stables with Mike and Christa Endicott: “I look up to my trainers, Mike and Christa, because they are such good riders and they sit so quiet when they ride. They’re my role models.”
Padilla aims to continue her success in the show arena and qualify for The Devon Horse Show in Devon, Pennsylvania this summer. “I am trying to work towards qualifying for Devon. I want to become the best rider I can be and go as far as I can go,” concluded Padilla.
Lauren and So Enchanted in the $1,000 DIHP Under Saddle Championship, Photo © Sydney Lowe Photography
About the Desert International Horse Park
With nearly 1.3 million square feet of competition and riding space, the Desert International Horse Park is one of the largest equestrian facilities in North America. Offering multiple weeks of world-class equestrian competition from October through March, the facility is a destination location for thousands of equestrians, their horses, family and friends for several months annually. Competitors from all over the world travel to Thermal, CA to not only compete but to enjoy everything the desert has to offer.