Wayne, IL - June 2, 2009 - It was just a little over a year and a half ago that 16-year-old Kelsey Thatcher began riding with local trainer Alex Jayne of Elgin, IL, and since then Thatcher has come a long way, showing as a junior in the hunter, jumper, and equitation divisions at some of the top horse shows in the country. Thatcher currently owns some of the best horses in the country, and will be one of the top up-and-coming competitors at this year's Showplace Spring Spectacular Horse Shows, held at the Lamplight Equestrian Center in Wayne, Illinois, June 2 through June 14, 2009.
Kelsey Thatcher is from South Jordan, UT, and began riding with the help of her mom at the age of three. Not long after that, Thatcher got her first pony, a troublemaker who would buck her off, but Thatcher stuck with it and was determined to keep riding. Thatcher rode in Utah for a short time and then began training with Molly Rinedollar in Colorado. As Thatcher moved up from the ponies she began training with Michael Dennehy, who she rode with for about a year and a half before she met Alex Jayne.
Thatcher explained that she first met Alex Jayne, who owns Our Day Farm, when she came out to Illinois to try an equitation horse that he had. She and Jayne ended up talking, and he asked her what her goals were with her riding. "I told him that I wanted to do Young Riders and do the bigger grand prix courses and he said that I wasn't going to achieve that by just sticking around Utah," Thatcher said. "He said I should come to Florida and he gave me an amazing opportunity to go down there and ride with him. I really have to thank Kathy Rackley because she is the one who helped us meet him. She talked to Alex about finding us an equitation horse, and she encouraged me to go to Florida with him."
"I really enjoy riding with the Jaynes," Thatcher continued. "I love that it is really a big family. I can go to any of them if I ever have a problem with something. We are always there for each other if we ever have a bad day, and we are always there cheering each other on. It is a very low stress barn."
Thatcher has had a very successful year competing at some of the top shows in the country, and she has achieved some of her biggest wins most recently. She was champion three times during the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Palm Beach with her junior hunter Gianni this winter, and she won her first grand prix just two weeks ago. "It was a $25,000 grand prix out at Ledges, and it was really exciting," Thatcher beamed. "I won it on my horse Carlotta and I was so happy. I was thinking, 'I'm ready to be done; I can just retire now. I have won a grand prix!'"
Thatcher has a sister, Madeline, who rides with the Jaynes as well, and between the two they have a barn full of talented horses called Pony Lane Farm. "I am very lucky because my mom loves the horses more than us, so she likes to buy more and more," Thatcher laughed. "I can never complain about that. We have a ton of horses between Maddy and I, and we are very lucky."
The Thatcher's horses all did very well at the Devon Horse Show last week. Both girls showed their horses in their respective divisions, and then Maggie Jayne rode the horses in the professional divisions. With Jayne, Thatcher's horse Gianni was champion of the Second Year Green Hunters, and Early Applause won the division championship in the Green Conformation Hunters. Jayne also rode Madeline's mare Francesca to the reserve championship in the Regular Conformation Hunters.
Thatcher is a junior in high school, but she is home schooled so that she has more time to ride and compete. "It is actually really nice," she said. "I get to ride in the mornings and then I do school for two or three hours after and then the weekends are always free."
That schedule allows Thatcher the freedom to compete a lot, which brings her to her next stop at the Lamplight Equestrian Center for the Showplace Spring Spectacular. Thatcher first showed at Lamplight just last year when she first began riding with Alex Jayne, and she has come to appreciate the quality of the show
"I love how quaint everything is here; it is so beautiful," she acknowledged. "All of the people are really nice and I know all of the Juniors here, which is nice. Everyone here supports each other and if you chip, everyone will just laugh along with you. It is just very relaxed, and I really enjoy showing here."
Thatcher plans to compete over the next two weeks of competition at Lamplight and hopes to earn the points that she needs to qualify for the equitation finals in the fall. As far as goals for her riding in the future, Thatcher still hopes to qualify for the North American Junior Young Riders Championships and improve in the jumpers. "I want to go as far as I can, but I don't want to be a professional," she said. "I like to keep it fun and relaxed. I would like to go as far as I can in this, but it is still just for fun." When it comes to career goals, Thatcher explained that she wants to be a first grade teacher and help kids that grow up in troubled families.
Thatcher gives a lot of credit to her mother, who has helped her get to this point in her riding career. "I want to thank my mom for letting us show like this because she definitely has let us really go for it," Thatcher recognized. "She is there encouraging us every step of the way and that is really nice because for most kids my age, their parents don't understand it; it is really nice that she lets us do what we love."
For further information on Showplace Productions and the Showplace Spring Spectacular Horse Shows, please visit http://www.showplaceproductions.com
Photo Credit: Kelsey Thatcher will be showing her horse Gianni in the Junior Hunters at the Showplace Production's Spring Spectacular, June 2-14, 2009. Photo © 2009 Rebecca Walton. Photograph may be used only in relation to this PMG press release.
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<a href="http://www.equestrianmag.com/article/kelsey-thatcher-showplace-spring-spectacular-horse-06-09.html">Getting to Know Kelsey Thatcher at the Showplace Spring Spectacular Horse Show</a> ~ EquestrianMag.com