Meet Ben Davis, our next rider spotlight! Ben is a talented up-and-coming equestrian athlete with an incredibly bright future ahead of him. The 19-year-old Augusta, GA native is on his way to an Equestrian Major at The Savannah College of Art and Design, with the ultimate goal of becoming a professional equestrian athlete one day. Ben joined his barn at TIEC during the Tryon Fall Series to help their team and horses prepare for the show ring. We caught up with him during his time here to hear about what sparked his interest in equestrian sport, his plans for the future, how he balances college and riding, and more! Continue reading to get to know this talented young athlete.
What sparked your interest in equestrian sport?
It’s really funny actually! When I was seven, I saw them on the side of the road one day as my parents and I were driving back home. I said to them, ‘That looks so fun. I want to ride them!’ They said I could try it. I started riding Western at first and did a bit of Reining. I got into showing about a year after that, and had a lot of fun. My friends in school did it, so I thought I’d try it. I did the ponies, and just kept going after that. I’ve been riding English for about ten years now. This year, I’m actually starting to really make things happen!
What’s been your biggest highlight over the years?
Probably winning the Children’s Classic last February at High Fields. It was a really muddy day, and I actually fell off! It was after the timers, though. That’s why it’s my favorite.
Which horse has made the greatest impact on you and your riding career?
There was this one horse named ‘Casia.’ She was a great mare, and I owe a lot to her. She taught me how to really ride and not just sit there and look pretty. She taught me how to be effective and get it done in the ring!
Do you plan to ride professionally one day?
I do plan to ride professionally. I just want to get more experience in the horse world, and learn how to do more things. I want to learn how to do my own vetting if I need to, and take care of horses well both in and out of the barn. I want to know how the basics of the barn work, instead of being a client.
How do you balance college and riding?
It’s been a rollercoaster! The first few months of me riding and going back and forth to Florida, I got a little off-track. My grades went from A’s to B’s, and my parents said, ‘We want you to ride and be successful, but we don’t want you to mess up school.’ I have days off of riding now, so I’ll take two or three days off to catch up on school and then do work in between on days that I ride. When I’m on the road traveling to shows, I’ll just do some work on my phone while someone else drives. I just try to keep it all balanced.
How’s your experience been at TIEC?
I love it here! All of our horses are here, but I’m not showing. The COVID protocol rules are great and the horses feel amazing. The facility is just so nice. The schooling rings are really fun. I love to flat around here.
What are your upcoming plans and goals?
I want to qualify for USEF Finals next year, and hopefully be at least top ten there. That’s my goal!
Thank you for chatting with us, Ben! We can’t wait to see all that you accomplish.