It’s officially Royal Winter Fair season! While the country flocks to the city for the biggest agricultural show indoors, we sat down with Ella Palladino to ask her about her journey to the Royal.
Ready to experience the magic of the Royal as a competitor, Ella will be entering the Royal Ring for the first time on November 8th & 11th in the Junior Jumper 1.20m. Find out when she is riding and other information about the Royal here.
What is your first memory of horses?
My first memory of a horse is when my family decided to go on a horse ride on the beach while we were on vacation in the Caribbean. I remember knowing because of my love for animals and the beautiful grace of horses, that this was the sport for me.
When did you start riding?
I started riding at a small barn in Sudbury when I was 7 years old. I then moved to Foothills Farm when I was 10 and have been competing on the A-circuit ever since. In total, I have been riding for 8 years.
Tell us about the horses you are riding this season:
The horses I was lucky to ride this year were Marvel, Crono, and Lise.
Marvel, or ( Spiderman K) is a young horse imported from Germany that I bought during the Florida Winter Circuit when he was 6. Cathy and I have developed Marvel from a 1.30 jumper with poor flatwork to competing this summer in the 3’6 Hunters, Equitations, and the Derby Ring.
Lise is a 12-year-old leased horse, homebred from Kelly Robinson. Lise has a winning personality and never disappoints in the ring. She is my heart horse, and I am proud to compete with her as a wildcard at the Royal Winter Fair in the 1.20m Junior Jumper classes. In April, I found out Lise hurt herself in the paddock, and we were told she might be done for the season. We looked for horses to replace Lise, but it was nearly impossible.
In July, I had the opportunity to lease Crono (El Porvenir Crono) until November to make it to the Royal in the 1.20m Junior Jumpers. Crono was my angel from heaven and a saving grace who helped me get catch up in the jumper ring while Lise was recovering quicker than we thought. Crono has a sweet personality and an excellent work ethic. He helped me jump my first 1.30m course in a gorgeous round, and I am so unbelievably grateful to have had such a fantastic-hearted horse.
We sent a shot-in-the-dark wildcard application to the Royal with Lise in hopes that her outstanding results in the1.20m from the last three shows and her Florida show results would be enough.
What advice would you give to a rider whose goal is to qualify for the Royal next year?
The advice I could give from my experiences qualifying for the Royal is to live in the moment and not worry so much about points. In the past three years, I tried to be eligible with points to the Royal in a variety of divisions such as the Large Ponies, Children's Hunters, and the 1.20 Junior Jumpers (with Crono). All those times, I was so unbelievably worried about points and the Royal that it ruined my shot of going before I even had a chance. You never know what could happen, and the diversity, change, and your plans not working out throughout the season might make you better, as it did for me.
What are your goals for next year?
My goals for next year are to be on the NAYC pre-juniors team in the 1.30m Jumpers and to qualify for the Royal and Capital Challenge in the 1.20m Jumpers with Lise.
What is the biggest challenge you faced this show year?
The biggest challenge I faced was being on a top 3 streak in Florida with Lise to have her going lame and my plans for the summer series being ruined. At the time it was the end of the world especially when I couldn't find a replacement for my one and only. The change ended up making me a better rider and a better person who learned to face challenges and grow from them.
What is the most important thing you learned while working towards this goal?
I learned that hard work pays off and to never give up on your goal
What is one thing you will never forget about this show season?
I will never forget how hard my Mom, Cathy, and I worked to get Lise where she is now.
Do you still get nervous before a show? If yes, what do you do to help overcome the nerves?
I still get extremely nervous before a show and I try to focus on my breathing techniques to calm me down.
What advice would you give to new riders that are just getting into the sport?
I would tell them to enjoy every minute of it because time does fly with horses.
What have horses taught you?
They have taught me how to be a respectful winner and how to take the losses. It keeps you very humble
If you could take one piece of tack or equipment with you to a deserted island, what would it be?
I would take my helmet to keep myself safe!