Wilmington, Ohio – This week’s Wilmington Sunday Spotlight shines on Emma Crawford of Promise Hill Farm in Elgin, Illinois. The ten-year-old junior rider has piloted jumpers and hunters around World Equestrian Center – Wilmington since she was four years old, but she is infamous for her unique trick riding with her beloved pony, Gabby. Crawford has performed in the Sanctuary Arena during the National Anthem before numerous grands prix and has gained a following through her unique performances.
We caught up with Crawford in between her Children’s Pony Hunter, Novice Children’s Jumper, and her opening show for the $30,000 CWD Grand Prix to learn more about her riding journey!
WEC: Tell us about how you started riding.
I started riding when I was six months old. My parents put me on a pony, and I rode around while they held on to me. I started trick riding when my mom’s friend sent her a video of her standing up on her pony. I wanted to try it and it turned into my favorite part of riding!
WEC: What horses did you bring to WEC – Wilmington this week?
My jumpers name is Danari. We lease her and she is 18-years -old. She is such a good girl! Danari showed in the Novice Children’s Jumpers and won the speed class today. The course was very open, so it was very fun for us.
I am showing a Children’s Pony Hunter this week and his name is Huey. He is seven-years-old, and I ride him for my mom’s friend. Huey was a little bit spooky, but he was still a really good boy, and we got around both classes. I also have a small pony named Willie. He stayed at home this week. Willie is 15-years-old, and he is blind in one eye.
If my horses could be any other animal, they would all be zebras or dolphins!
WEC: Tell us about your trick pony, Gabby.
Gabby is my trick pony, and she is about to turn 20! She doesn’t know that she is 20, the zero is just a placeholder. Gabby does what she wants when she wants. She will sometimes drag you to her stall to eat her hay, but she is the best girl, and she always listens to me.
WEC: Tell us about trick riding.
Trick riding is super fun, but it is really hard. Now that I understand how to do it better and I have learned more, it has gotten easier. It is easier to do if you have a good pony like Gabby. They need to have a wide back so you can stand up easier and have more space to do tricks. The tricks that I do are around the worlds, vaulting, standing up backwards, and lead changes riding backwards.
WEC: What is your favorite thing about WEC – Wilmington?
This is my favorite horse show. I started coming here and showing when I was only four-years-old. I have a lot of friends here now and I always make a lot of new friends every time I come. It is so much fun to horse show and do my performances with Gabby.
WEC: What does a normal day look like for you?
I am in fifth grade, and we are home-schooled. I ride every day of the week when I am done with school. I ride all four of my horses and ponies and sometimes I ride extra horses on the weekends. All of the horses have Monday off. Gabby is my favorite pony to ride every day!
WEC: Which discipline is your favorite?
I love the jumpers, hunters, and doing tricks. They are all my favorite; it depends on which one I am riding in that day! I usually like the jumper ring more than the hunter ring at shows. I think that trick riding is probably the most fun.
Thank you, Emma, for taking the time to speak with us! We wish you continued good luck in your future riding career.
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Results can be found at HorseShowing.com.
All horse show images are provided by Winslow Photography and can be purchased onsite at WEC – Wilmington or online through their website.