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Summerlynd Nelson 2013 Equiery Perpetual Hunter Award Winner


by Katherine O. Rizzo Ten-year-old Summerlynd Nelson has of-


fi cially become the youngest Maryland eques- trian to win an Equiery award. And although she is only 10, this McDonogh School fourth grader has already proven that she is focused, determined and ready to face whatever life throws at her inside the show ring and out. “She is just a really tough kind


of kid. T e kind of kid who never sheds a tear no matter how many times she might fall off or if she places or not,” trainer Amy Daw- son Moore stated. “She has got to be the toughest kid I have had for sure and it shows.” Summerlynd fi rst sat on a pony when she was at J Mar Stables summer camp. She was barely four years old at the time but her mother MaryRose said she had already been asking for a pony. “She seems to have been born wanting to be on a farm. Not just wanting to be around ponies. She loves all animals. By the time she was three, she was asking for a pony. I’ll never forget it, when she was four she said, ‘How long will it take to get my bottom on a pony!’ so we got her riding lessons for her birthday.” When Summerlynd started kindergarten at McDonogh, she began taking regular formal riding lessons with Amy. “I don’t normally take kids that young but she just begged for lessons. She was really little but determined,” Amy re- membered. Summerlynd’s parents started leas- ing her a pony and the showing began, fi rst with leadline classes before moving “off line” into children’s pony divisions. Now, the entire family is fully immersed in the horse show world, and loving it!


It Takes a Village “Riding is so good for kids. It teaches them


responsibility and confi dence, things that help Summerlynd in life too. She is very indepen- dent and level-headed about everything,” MaryRose commented. With shows practically every weekend, bal- www.equiery.com | 800-244-9580


ancing schoolwork, family time and riding can be a challenge, but somehow Summerlynd fi nds ways to do it all. “I used to ride just once a week but since joining the team, I ride four days a week,” she said, adding, “During lacrosse season, though, I drop back to three days.” Be- cause Summerlynd excelled at riding so quickly and rides with kids twice her age, her parents encouraged her to join another sport where she would be interacting with children her own age. “She rides with all the big kids in les- sons so we feel it is important for her to join a team with her peers as well,” MaryRose explained. “School always comes fi rst but the rewards from rid- ing are worth all the juggling.” “She has ridden with the older kids


from the beginning and it has been good for her.


It


really made her learn faster be- cause she had to keep up. And she always kept up,” Amy proudly stated. “I like riding with the


Summerlynd with her trainer Amy Moore and Logan in May of 2013


older girls. It really has helped me a lot being able to watch and learn from them,” Summerlynd said. “Amy challenges me and can teach me a lot of things. I’ve also taken lessons from other instructors at Mc- Donogh and learn diff erent things from everyone. Amy works hard every year to


fi nd the right pony for me to learn from and be challenged with.” MaryRose agrees with her daughter, saying, “It


really is like a big family here at McDonogh. T e older kids have helped Summerlynd and all of the instructors have guided us through the show world.” “Summerlynd’s whole family is


really devoted. She has huge fam- ily support, which is great!” Amy added. Even Summerlynd’s older brother Price, who doesn’t ride him- self, spends a lot of time at the barn, which is helpful in its own way; MaryRose comments, “If he weren’t willing to hang out at the barn with Summerlynd, I’m not sure what we’d do.”


Summerlynd aboard In A Pinch at McDonogh when she was only 7.


excited when I found out I won because that was my goal for the year. I’m just happy that I was able to do it,” Summerlynd said. Her mom added, “I’m so proud of her. To follow in the footsteps of the riders here is very special.” And now that Sham’s Loganberry has car- ried his third rider to win this trophy, one might ask, what is so special about Logan? Summerlynd feels it is his personality: “He never bites, is really good about being brushed and tacked up. He’s just really great in general! I’m learning so much from him.” Amy adds, “Logan is by far our best pony. He is so versatile and just a good guy. And we don’t just put anyone up on him. You have to work really hard for years and earn the ride on that pony.”


Summerlynd began leasing Logan at the end of the 2012 season, spending the winter getting to know him. “She was still very little when she fi rst started riding him. He can jump hard off the ground and she fell off a few times,” Amy said. “But that never stopped her and she never cried. I’m telling you, she’s tough.” Summerlynd and Logan traveled around the


Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania circuits for most of the 2013 season, competing at the Prince George’s Equestrian Center, James River, Swan Lake, Penn State and at home at McDonogh. “Penn State was really fun but so muddy! It rained so much!” Summerlynd remembered, laughing. “I got to do the pony derby there which was really fun. T ey had all the jumps set up to make it look like it was outdoors.” “I think a lot of people thought I was crazy for


Summerlynd and her older broth- er Price on her 10th birthday


That Special Pony By coming up through the McDonogh ranks,


Summerlynd was very aware of T e Equiery trophy, as McDonogh students have won this award for the past three years. “I was really


entering her in the derby classes but she showed everyone she could keep up and do well. She had one of the highest scores at State College and qualifi ed to go back in the ring for the fi nal round,” Amy stated. “T at is where everything sort of came together for her. She had grown into Logan a bit more


and after that, she was just super consistent no matter where we took her.”


Life’s Lessons Now with the super pony 19 years old, he and


Summerlynd are entering their second compe- continued...


MAY 2014 | THE EQUIERY | 15


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