Name and barn you are currently riding at. (Please include area your barn is located in)
My name is Emily Styskal and I ride at the Essex Equestrian Center in West Orange, New Jersey
Tell us a little bit about you and your horse
I recently leased a 15-year-old Western Paint named Hans Solo. I just call him Hans. He is the sweetest horse who can hear me walk into the barn. His ears perk up and he looks out of his stall to see if it’s me. I’ve only been riding him for two months but it feels like we’ve been riding together for years.
What are your goals as an equestrian? (Can be short term, long term, or both)
I’m currently riding on the Essex Equestrian Center IEA team. I feel like this is my passion. So I’m looking to attend the Centenary College in Hackettstown NJ and major in equestrian studies. My ultimate goal is to make it to the Olympic Equestrian Team (USET) for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo Japan.
How are you working towards those goals?
I ride 4-5 days per week with my trainer Jennifer Griggs. She pushes me to always do my best. I continue to challenge myself daily to do things that I never thought I could do. One way I challenge myself is to compete at IEA shows. I hope to ride with the Essex Equestrian Center Show Team next year to heighten my level of competition. I feel that if I ride and compete with riders that are more advanced than me, it will make me a better rider.
Who is your riding role model? Who is it and why?
I’ve always looked up to Valentina Truppa. She is an Italian Dressage rider. Truppa represented Italy at the 2012 Olympics. She is a police officer just like my mother. Valentina Truppa started riding when she was four and entered her first competition at the age of 12. We seem to have a lot in common. I hope to mirror her success as I move ahead in my equestrian quest for the Olympic Gold!
Biggest success or funniest fail?
My biggest success was making my barns IEA Team. There were so many girls that tried out for the team. Most of them I felt were much better than me and had more experience. When I make the team I felt so proud for not giving up and pursuing my dream.
My funniest fail was at my first show. Halfway through my first course, I lost a stirrup. I didn’t know what to do and I was so embarrassed. I looked at my trainer who had a big smile on her face. The only thing I could do was smile and laugh and work through the rest of the course. I finished with a fourth place ribbon. Not bad for only having me stirrup!
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