Trainer Spotlight: Heather Parish
Get to know Heather Parish, the trainer at Spring Meadow Farm in Hugo, MN, as she shares her memories of the Harvest Horse Show and provides some insight on her professional career.
- When did you start riding? I have been riding, well, pretty much my entire life. My parents both rode, so I was entered into lead-lines from day one, and had my first show pony by age nine.
- What was your path to becoming a professional? I didn’t plan on being a professional. I was actually teaching 4th grade and working at a boarding schooling in California when I was approached about becoming a trainer. One thing led to another and I have been a professional since 1998.
- Favorite horse you’ve ever ridden and why? That’s a tough question. I was a very lucky kid. I had the most wonderful horses, and I have fantastic horses now. If I have to just choose one, I will go with Wallstreet. He was everyone’s favorite. He did the junior hunters, amateurs, and the Regulars. My Mom and I shared him, and he was the best. I could be competitive anywhere with him.
- Best/favorite parts about being a pro/trainer? Watching my horses and students learn something new, accomplish a goal, and succeed.
- What are corrections you have to give almost everyone? More leg, don’t pull, eyes up.
- How many years have you been to the Minnesota Harvest Horse Show? I have been to almost every one. My parents helped start the show the year I was born, 1974, when it was the A to Z Horse Show. Then it became the MN Fall Charity, and then The MN Fall Horse Show… I showed every year that my parents ran it, and also the first year it transitioned to Harvest. The only years that I missed were my junior and senior years of college, 1995 and 1996, and the 5 years that I lived in California. I’ve been home since 2001, and I’ve shown here every year since!
- What are your best memories or favorite part of the Harvest Show? My favorite memory of the horse show… was when we moved the Junior/AO Classic and Grand Prix down to Target Center. We went down early Saturday morning to test the footing and set up, and I was the first horse to ever jump in Target Center!
Favorite memory of Harvest Horse Show…Ariat Jumping with the Stars. Having the opportunity to work with Matt Blair was an experience I will never forget.
- Anything else you would like to share? This week is always a little bittersweet for me. I remember as a child, checking the mail every day for the entries to come in the mail. Who would be coming from out of town this year? What big names would head to Minnesota on their way to indoors? The anticipation as the days grew closer to the first week of October. Then the whirlwind week would come, and the people, and the horses, and the parties, and the Grand Prix, and then it would be Sunday, and it would be over. And that would be all she wrote until spring. It was my favorite week of the year. It’s a bit different now, but part of me still feels like that little girl as the National Anthem Starts on Saturday night, or as we shuffle down the ramp from the stands. It has, and always will be, a special horse show.