Elevate Event Team Rider Q&A with Mimi Richards
Mimi Richards is a junior rider based in Lexington, Kentucky. Her current ride is a very athletic and brave OTTB named Whitfield. When it comes to courage and guts, Mimi has both, she and Whitfield make an excellent team.
Kentucky Performance Products: What age did you start riding and how long you have been riding?
Mimi Richards: I began riding when I was 7 or 8 years old and I have been riding for about 10 years.
KPP: When did you decide you wanted to become an eventer?
MR: When I first started riding, I only rode once a week. I rode for fun, because at that time I was involved in competitive gymnastics, which was my main priority. After a couple of years I started to like riding more and gymnastics less. In 7th grade I made the decision to quit gymnastics and really focus on my riding. My trainer at the time evented and I found the sport exciting, so after I quit gymnastics I put all my competitive energy into eventing.
KPP: Tell us about your horse.
MR: Whitfield is a bay OTTB. He was sold as a two-year-old for $190,000. He was originally owned and raced by Michael Matz. Jennie Brannigan retrained him to be an eventer after he retired from racing. He raced five times, twice in Europe and twice at Gulfstream in Florida. His fifth and last race was at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. The best he placed was in his first race and that was 3rd. He is by Private Vow out of Seda Fina by Known Fact. He was born March 15, 2010, which makes him 6. His barn name is Whitty or Whitty Whit Whit. He has a very sweet personality and loves attention. Out on cross-country he is very brave and quick on his feet.
KPP: How did you and your horse find each other?
MR: The first time I saw Whitfield, he was in a for-sale ad posted on Jennie Brannigan’s website. I was looking for a new horse, and my mom emailed Jennie to see if she had any horses in our price range. She told my mom about Whitfield so I went to her website to check him out. At the time Whitty was at Jennie’s barn in Ocala. We made a stop in Ocala to look at horses while we were vacationing in Florida that winter. Whitty was the first horse I rode that day and I liked him the best out of all of the horses I tried.
KPP: What do you love most about your horse?
MR: I love his personality. He is so sweet and he tries so hard for me. He loves cross-country and is a cross-country machine!
KPP: What is your biggest challenge as a rider and how do you face that challenge?
MR: The biggest challenge I face is dealing with show nerves. I am still working on learning how to relax and not tense up. Whitty is so sensitive that when I am tense, it makes him tense too! This is a real challenge in the dressage phase. We do a beautiful test at home but when I get to the show the tension hurts us. I am positive this will get better as I continue to compete and gain more experience. In the meantime, in an effort to calm my nerves I imagine that I am at home. I know I am headed in the right direction because our dressage scores keep improving.
KPP: What is the highest level of competition you and Whitfield have done as a pair?
MR: Training level.
KPP: What is your happiest competitive memory?
MR: To date my happiest moment was at the Carolina International Horse Trials when Whitty and I finished on our dressage score. It was only our second time competing at Training level and the cross-country course was very big and had lots of different technical questions. Whitfield was a little crazy in warmup, because he was feeling really good. He was used to being turned out all night and he had been cooped up his stall at the show, so his energy level was very high. It was also cold and rainy! Once we left the start box he was amazing and we had such a fun time out on course. I was so happy when we crossed that finish line with a double clear cross-country. It was a moment I will never forget.
KPP: What advice would you give a rider new to the discipline of eventing?
MR: I would tell anyone who is new to the sport to make sure you always have fun. I do this sport because I love the relationship it builds between me and my horse. I love my horse and I want it to be a good experience for both of us. I would like new riders to keep that in mind. It isn’t about just winning or climbing up through the levels, it should be fun.
KPP: What do you like most about being part of the Elevate Event Team?
MR: I love everything about being a part of this team. Everyone is so helpful and supportive, and there is no way Whitty and I would be where we are today without this team.
KPP: List the KPP supplements you use in your horses feeding program.
MR: Neigh-Lox Advanced, EndurExtra, Ker-A-Form and Summer Games Electrolyte.