Emily PopeEmily Pope rides at Roundabout Farm in Maple Plain, MN. She is planning to compete in the $25,000 Grand Prix of Minnesota in this year’s Harvest Show. We thought it would be interesting to learn how a rider prepares their horse and themselves for a Grand Prix, so we asked Emily to answer some questions. Here’s what we learned:

1. Rider and horse names: Emily Pope / Seize The Moment
2. How long have you been riding? About 20 years
3. What is your favorite thing about riding? The connection you have with a horse when you’re totally in sync.
4. What are your favorite memories at Harvest? My favorite is probably doing the Grand Prix last year, my horse was EmilyPope3absolutely amazing and it was our first time doing a prix inside. I also loved a moment when we were heading in for our first class and my mare stretched as much as she could to see over the gate (she’s tiny, so it was hard!) – it just made me laugh!
5. How do you train for a Prix with your horse? We do a lot of work on rideability and adjustability, but we don’t jump big jumps very often.
6. What is your advice to young riders who aspire to compete in the Prix? Never assume that you won’t get there!  I think sometimes people get so fixated on accomplishing certain things by the time they age out of juniors, even though riding is a lifelong sport, so if you don’t do your first prix before you turn 18, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never do it. There are people who did their first big classes long after their junior careers ended and ended up being very successful! You never know.
7. What is your horse’s favorite treat? Brown sugar cinnamon PopTarts!
8. How did you get started riding? My mom is a professional, so she started me at a very young age!
9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I’m a total bookworm – I’m always reading something!