Q&A With Dressage Rider Jackie Paxton

Dressage rider Jackie Paxton of Batavia, Ohio, was the American representative at the CDI for Juniors and Young Riders in Braine l'Alleud, Belgium, Sept. 21-23. Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore caught up with her between rides.
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Dressage rider Jackie Paxton of Batavia, Ohio, was the American representative at the CDI for Juniors and Young Riders in Braine l'Alleud, Belgium, Sept. 21-23. Stacey Nedrow-Wigmore caught up with her between rides.

Q: Can you tell me how you got to ride in this CDI?
A: I got invited to come to the show as a Young Rider. I was already going to be in Germany, so it worked out well for us.

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Q: Who are you training with in Germany?
A: Reinhardt Nielsen from Gr?nwaldhof. Back home, right now, I don't have a trainer, but a lot of people help me out.

Q: Tell me about your new horse-and second ride at this show-Le Roc.
A:
He's a 7-year-old Holsteiner. I just got him, and I rode him in a couple smaller shows around Easter. But I really didn't know him then. I've only been riding him solid for about three weeks, so I don't really know him too much. I'm kind of just going for it and trying to get him a little more experience since he's never done any of these big shows. He's been doing great.

Q: Did you buy him in Germany?
A:
Yes. I bought him through Reinhardt. He's over at Gr?nwaldhof.

Q: When did you start training in Germany?
A:
I came here about three weeks ago. This is my first time over here with my horses in training.

Q: Has La Roc always been here [in Europe] or did you have him in the United States?
A:
He was one of Reinhardt's client's horses. I rode him a little bit and liked him. He was for sale and we really matched so I went for it.

Q: How is he different from your horse Cinbad?
A:
He's a little different type. Cinbad is the small, short, compressed kind of guy, and Le Roc is longer and more stretched out and heavier. He's really light in the hand though, and I've just got to always make sure he's going forward. They're pretty much opposites.

Q: How long are you going to stay training in Germany?
A:
I should be here until the end of November. I'll be in Ohio until around Christmas and then I go down to Florida to compete. I'll go back to Ohio and finish up the qualifying season for Young Riders.

Q: What's it like competing in Europe as compared to the United States?
A:
It's a little tougher here. A little more competition, I think. There are people from all over the world, not just your region or area-different riders. I really like it. I think it's fun.

Q: Have you made friends with the other Young Riders or is it difficult with everyone being from different countries?
A:
They've all been really nice, and I've even exchanged numbers with some people. One girl came to America last year and she's going to come again this year. They've all been really friendly, and it's been great-it's a lot of fun.

Q: You came in third yesterday. What was your ride like?
A:
Yesterday was really great, and Cinbad was really going for it for me. We didn't go off course [like today], and he was just really good. He was right there for it. Today he was pretty good. It was rider error there. He was a little tired but good.

Q: He's traveled a lot recently. Does he handle it well?
A:
Yes. His last owner [Cesar Parra of Colombia] traveled all the time back and forth. They flew over to Germany a ton of times. He's really good about traveling. He just sometimes gets a little tired on the second day.

Q: What have you been working on in training?
A:
I've been working on my pirouettes, my weakest point. Just getting them a little more engaged and up. Reinhardt has been great, and in only three weeks, it's a totally different picture now.

Q: How do you think you'll apply that when you get back home?
A:
I'll know how to get him up and I know the feeling a little better. Reinhardt has been helping me get them better with Cinbad, so once I get an idea of what they're supposed to feel like, I can maintain them when I get home. Reinhardt has been teaching Cinbad too, so he knows them a little better too. He's been doing a lot better.

Q: Have you been riding a lot of different horses since you've been here?
A:
I have three of my own horses over at Gr?nwaldhof. I've only been here for three weeks and trying to settle in and get ready for this show, so I haven't had time to ride anyone else yet.

Q: What's the experience like for you being over here?
A:
I really like where I'm staying in Germany and everybody has been really nice. I'm trying to learn German. I'm taking some lessons from a lady who lives near me. I like the experience -- the riders are different and there's a higher number. In the United States we might have eight riders, and that's a big show for Young Riders. So when you come here and see 15 riders in a qualifier, that's a lot. Where I'm staying there are riders from all over -- it's just cool seeing everybody ride.

Q: Tell me about your other horse.
A:
His name is Gold Card. He's 7 also. He's a Hanoverian, and Reinhardt's been riding him for a little bit. Reinhardt's going to show him at his first show next weekend. He's really big so it took him a long time to finish growing. He started training a lot later, but he's smart so he's been picking things up fast.

Q: Did you buy him in Germany as well?
A:
Yes. Reinhardt also found him. I haven't had much time with him. He did come to the United States for a little bit, but I didn't ride him a lot. He got sick so we had to wait a little. We haven't shown him at all because he wasn't ready. Then he flew back over here, so I'm just starting to ride him now. We'll see how it goes in his first show, and maybe I'll take him in the second show.