Our interview with Kaylee:
My name is Kaylee Cribbs. I live in Newport Beach and am a senior at Newport Harbor High School. I have been riding horses for 11 years, but I started competing about 3 years ago. My horse is Rolls Roy, or Rawlie, who is an 18 year old Austrian Warmblood gelding trained through I1. My life is filled with riding, working at a grocery store, and making sure my grades stay straight A’s. I’m quite a perfectionist 😛
Q: When did you decide to ride dressage and when did you start riding:
I started taking riding lessons when I was 6 years old, but I have photographs of me on my grandma’s old quarter horse from when I was around 6 months old. I’ve always loved horses. I distinctly remember the time I decided that I wanted to ride dressage, and really get somewhere with it. I was at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center with my friend and grandma, and saw Debbie McDonald ride for my very first time. The harmony, perfection, and connection she had with Brentina, and the way they floated and danced so effortlessly around the arena made me decide that this is what I wanted to do. And here I am.
Q: Who are you training with?
I have been training with Stephanie Field first at Huntington Beach, then Lakewood Equestrian Center for 6 years.
Q: How often do you train:
About 3 or 4 days a week. I usually take 2 lessons a week, and come out and ride another day or two during the week..
Q: What is your warm-up routine?
We barn walk around for around 15 minutes. Then we go into an arena and trot around in a low forward stretchy trot. We go both directions; the time varies depending on how stiff he is. Then I take him up to a training level frame and trot and canter forward both ways, then we go back to walk. We do lots of leg yields, turn on the haunches, and turn on the forehands to really get him off and listening to my leg. Then repeat and trot and canter. Both directions of course. Then we slowly begin to collect him up making sure he maintains his impulsion and respect of my leg.
Q: Tell us about your horse and his/her personality:
Rawlie is a 16.2 dark bay Austrian gelding. We’ve owned him for 4 years. Since he’s a schoolmaster, he knows all the tricks in the book, and will not do what you want him to do unless he has surrendered and you ask the correct way. He’s definitely not an angel, and can get very “excited” at times. But he never tries to be super naughty and get me off his back, sometimes he just doesn’t want to work. He loves to cuddle and give kisses and follow you around like a little puppy dog. He’s a major bully to other horses when he’s in his stall, but can’t live without horses when hes in the arena working.
Q: Do you go Trail riding?
Occasionally. Rawlie loves the trail, but he has to be in the right mood for me to be willing to take him down it. He can lose his mind sometimes. haha
Q: What are your goals with this horse?
We recently won 4th place in the 3rd level So Cal CDS Jr. Champs, and Reserve Champion in 4th level, which I am really proud of. I want to qualify for FEI JR/YR CDS and USDF regionals next year. I also hope to be able to show a few I1 classes so that I feel like I rode him to his potential. As well we will be learning a freestyle pretty soon.
Q: Who is your mentor and why:
I have two mentors. The first would be my trainer Stephanie Field. She has watched me from my struggling to make a 20m circle, which sadly, sometimes still happens, to getting 8s and 9s on upper level movements. I would be no where near where I am without her, she has taught me basically everything I know about dressage, and riding. She is the perfect example of the type of rider I aspire to be. I owe every credit to her. From finding Rawlie for us to teaching me how to be a 4th level rider.
The second would be my grandma Karen Cribbs. I would probably be some girl begging to go take a lesson once a month if I didn’t have the grandmother I do. She has supported me both financially and emotionally through every step of my equestrian life, as well as my entire life. She helps me back up when I would get stuck, and helps me see the good parts in my riding when things get frustrating. I love both Stephanie and my grandma more than they will ever know. I owe everything I’ve accomplished to these two extraordinary people.
Q: What can you tell other junior riders about reaching their goals?
Seriously, dressage is probably one of the most difficult sports. Its not like you can have that perfect play and score a touchdown. It can be really good, but its NEVER perfect. There is always some thing to improve on. So remember that sometimes you’ll have a great ride, and then all of the sudden you can’t get back to that point. Dressage is a massive roller coaster, so you have to be willing to go on those downward hills to get those high points. As my wonderful trainer said, “You’ll never know good if you’ve never known bad.”
Q: What is your favourite dressage movement:
Tempi changes are by far my favorite movement, especially twos. I can’t help but have the most massive grin on when I do them, they’re a blast. I’ve gotten 5 ones out of him, my dang legs don’t move fast enough yet, but when that happened I just about passed out from excitement.
Here is our interview with Kaylee: