Wilmington, Ohio – This week’s Wilmington Sunday Spotlight shines on Kendall Meijer of Grand Rapids, Michigan. With her two striking geldings, Meijer can be found with Meadowview Farms at both World Equestrian Center locations in the Adult Amateur Hunters and the Amateur Owner Hunters. The skilled amateur rider has taken this competition season to re-center and find the joy in the sport again. We caught up with Meijer in between rounds to learn more about her career.
WEC: How did you get started riding?
I started riding when I was nine. My grandfather wanted to take my family on a dude ranch trip out west. I was the youngest cousin at the time, and I had never been on a horse before. So, my mom wanted me to have a couple riding lessons prior to the trip. I had such a fun time, when we got back from trip I started taking lessons more regularly. Fun fact, my very first lesson was Meadowview Farm with Cathy and Hilary Johnson and that’s who I still ride with today.
WEC: How do you balance your work outside of horses?
I do a lot of philanthropy work and volunteering with Make-A-Wish Michigan. I also work for the Meijer Family Foundation as well. I guess it’s become easier to balance now that things are somewhat virtual. So, it’s easy to hop on a zoom call or a conference call. I just kind of plan my show schedule around some of those little appointments. It’s easy enough for me now!
WEC: Tell us about your horses.
Elliot is my adult Hunter horse and he’s 10 years old. I’ve had him for about three years. He’s just wonderful. He’s really quiet and very brave. We’re gearing up for Harrisburg, and then the adult hunter final at the National Horse Show, so this is kind of like my practice show before those two big finals. He plays around in some derbies and performance hunter classes just to get some pro rides in.
My other horse is Apple, Out of Office is his show name. He came with his name, I love it! I just purchased him in September. So, he’s a new arrival for me. He has been the ultimate confidence ride. So, I’ve been having fun in the derbies, and I moved up to the amateur owners with him. He is just a joy to ride. He’s so much fun.
They both really love their job, so it makes it easy!
WEC: How has WEC been influential in your riding career?
I am not alone when I say that I love WEC! It has truly transformed the equestrian sport industry having the facility here in Ohio, as well as the facility in Ocala. They’re both state-of-the-art places to prepare for big finals. They have plenty of space to ride and the decorations are always stunning. The rings today are just decorated to the nines. It is so nice; it really makes it feel special and it doesn’t feel like just another horse show. It feels like a prestigious thing.
WEC: What are your goals moving into 2024?
It was my goal this year to reframe my competitive mindset into having more fun with the horses and having that be more of the number one priority. I’ve totally succeeded at that. I’m having more fun in the sport than I have in years. I am just trying to stay away from that burnout mentality and appreciate the horses for what they do. You know, winning is fun, too, but that’s secondary to why we really do this sport. I just want to continue with that mindset and grow with my horses. I hope to start riding a couple of my younger horses as well and work on developing with them.