This week’s Sunday Spotlight feature is thirteen year old Caroline Nadalin, a hard working young horsewoman with an obvious love for both the horse and the sport. Caroline took some time between showing this week to sit down with us and tell us about growing up riding, the lovable horses she has currently and her future goals in the industry.
How did you get into riding?
My moms, Jen Nadalin and Chris Eadline, both rode when they were little, so they have their own barn, Sugar Run Farm. So I’ve been riding as long as I can remember, and even before that. I was always around horses, and it was just meant to be, I think.
Tell us about the horses you had growing up.
My first pony, who I did the leadline with, was named Sugar Belle. We still have her. She’s perfect. I go and hang out with her a lot, and I just love her. I had another pony named Doodle Bug that I rode in the poles and the crossrails. After that, I had a pony named Newsflash who I did really well with in the Short Stirrup. My first “official” Pony Hunter was Bamboozle. I got him as a catch ride originally, and he was really tricky. He was really young and there was a long time where we couldn’t really get him around a course. He was really anxious. Something clicked a year or so later, and he was perfect. He was Circuit Champion at WEC two years ago and Reserve Circuit Champion last year in the Medium Pony division. He’s been Circuit Champion at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. He’s just perfect now, and he actually just got leased to a little girl a few months ago and they’re doing great. So I’ve kind of just now officially transitioned into just riding horses.
Tell us about some memorable show experiences you had growing up.
I was always at shows, but I didn’t really start showing until I was about seven or eight. That’s when I really started to want to be competitive. The first memory I have was probably being Circuit Champion down in Gulfport, Mississippi at the Gulf Coast Winter Classic. It was either in the Crossrails or the Short Stirrup. I won OHJA Medal Finals in 2017, which was really special because it was my horse Lasino Boy’s last show. I rode a Medium Green Pony for someone that same year named Hot Wheels, and we did really well at Pony Finals. We ended up seventh over fences and eleventh overall, so that was really cool.
Tell us about the horses you have now.
I have the one that won the $2,500 USHJA National Hunter Derby this week, C Beyond. We call him Carl. I also have a Jumper that I do in the Childrens Jumpers named Pingree, and we call him Piglet. I got him about a year and a half ago. He’s the best, I love him so much. I just recently got Boujis from Willow Way Farm. I showed him for the first time this week and he’s so perfect. I’m so excited about him. I ride Michelle Gajoch’s horse Maximus L. Michelle is one of the customers at our barn, and she lets me ride Maximus L in the Childrens. I also just started riding with Ashland Farms down in Florida. They’ve been really nice and have let me catch ride a few of their horses. But Piglet, Carl and Boujis are my three that I ride all of the time.
Tell us about your horses’ personalities.
Carl is like a puppy dog, he’s so sweet. He’s really talented, he jumps out of his skin every time. He’s the coolest horse. He always wants to try really hard. He’s always willing and just so sweet. Piglet is so sweet, too. He wants to do everything you ask. He’ll leave from here to China or he will fit it in. He’s so trusting and you can tell he wants to win. I had ridden others in the Jumpers before but he was my first one where we really went after higher classes, and he’s been so great. Boujis, I don’t know a ton about yet since he’s newer, but I can already tell he wants to do it all. I was planning to stay conservative this weekend and not do any inside turns since he’s a new ride for me, but I saw them and went for it and he was so good. I can just tell that he really loves what he does. I’ve been really lucky, all of my horses have been like puppy dogs. I would let them stay in the house if I could.
What are your future riding goals?
Right now, for my Junior years, I’m just starting to get into the 3’6″ Equitation. So, I’m hoping to qualify for some of the Equitation finals. I’d really like to have that same trend continue throughout my Junior years and stay consistent. After my Junior years, I personally love the Jumpers, so, if I ever go professional, I’d love to go the Jumper route. If the opportunity presents itself, I really want to do that. I want to do the Prix one day. It’s funny, because I get the most nervous before the Jumpers, but once I get going that goes away. Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush a little bit. I think, in the Jumpers, you have to have so much trust between you and your horse, because you’re making a lot of crazy turns, and I feel really good when I have a good round. I think it’s really cool that you have a good enough trust between your partner and you to be able to go fast and do those turns.
A personal note from Caroline:
I want to thank everyone that has helped me in my riding. My moms Jen Nadalin and Chris Eadline, Tanya Truszkowski, Katie Borden, Chase Passarella, Tori Vogel, and everyone at Ashland Farms including Ken and Emily Smith. I’ve gotten to do so much that I never thought would be possible, so I’m really grateful to everyone.
Photos courtesy of Andrew Ryback Photography.