Wilmington, Ohio – This week’s Wilmington Sunday Spotlight shines on Stella Cross of Malvern, Pennsylvania. The 13-year-old junior rider has spent most of her winter juggling academics and her showing schedule at World Equestrian Center – Wilmington. Not only does the young athlete average three mounts at the shows, but she also participates in lacrosse, tennis, basketball and golf. In between the Large Pony Hunters and the Children’s Hunters, Cross paused to talk to us about her busy schedule and her riding journey!
WEC: How did you get started riding?
I started eight years ago when I was five. My neighbor’s relative was my first trainer and she really got me started. She took me to all the local shows and had nice ponies for me to ride and show. It really took off from there! I started riding with Jonathan Martin at Hunt Hill Farm two years ago in November. Jonathan prepares my horses and ponies so well and they are always perfect. He does the best job training and I owe so much to him for everything that he does.
WEC: Tell us about your current string of horses and ponies.
I have had Marvel Comic aka Marvel for over a year now. He is my Large Pony Hunter and has been great. He has taken me to many places, like indoors. He is really sweet but sometimes he can be a little bit sassy!
I also have a pony named Bellingham aka George. I have been doing him for a few months now and we are still figuring him out. We aren’t quite sure what we will do with him yet, but he is already qualified for Pony Finals. I have my horse Esperanza and his barn name is Perry. I do him in the Children’s Hunters and he took me to my first finals on a horse.
WEC: How do you juggle school with training and showing?
It’s a lot and I try really hard to keep my grades up and it pays off! I miss a lot of school, but my teachers understand and are willing to give me my work to do when I go away to shows. I go to school early in the morning and when I am done, I go straight to the barn. I usually have a lesson on one of mine and then hack one. I have my other sports after that, lacrosse, basketball, golf and tennis! I travel for riding and lacrosse. We usually do two or three horse shows a month; horses are my favorite!
WEC: How has WEC Ohio influenced your riding?
So, I started here last year, and we spent six weekends here. It was my first time here and it was really fun. I had so much fun doing the pony derbies and the larges. I am getting a lot of points and it has really taught me a lot. I have been able to move up divisions here and I have learned a lot.
I usually go to Starbucks here in the morning through the ride-thru! I hack my ponies and sometimes I have catch rides. I hang out with my friends and ponies here a lot during the day. I have made so many friends since I started showing here. We usually end our day by going to the Paddock Club for dinner and to play games.
Thank you, Stella, for taking the time to speak with us! We wish you continued success with your horses and ponies!