Being a trainer’s kid is not always glamorous, but it sure comes with some perks. Read all about this hard-working junior rider who’s finding success in every ring she enters!

By: HH Contributor Kristina McCombie

HH: Who is Aedan? Tell us a little about yourself …

AM: I am 14 and going to be a freshman this fall.  I am very competitive but also love cheering my teammates on! We have such a fun barn family at Capall Glen. I absolutely loves horses and am always wanting to ride. I started riding at four years old and I went to my first CHJA show at the age of 8. At my second show I moved up to the cross rails and  fell off in the schooling ring. After that I refused to show again until I was 11.  I was terrified!  I’m currently showing in the 3’3 junior hunters, equitation, and medals. I also show in the medium and large ponies and sometimes other hunter divisions on younger horses.

HH: What horse(s) do you have right now and what are you working on?

AM: I currently have Shining Star (Sunny) a medium dutch pony who I’ve had for about 2 years, Royal Classic (aka Audrey) a large German Riding Pony mare we got last year and Jaleo 4 (aka Jelly) who is a 16’3 Hessian Warmblood gelding who I’ve been riding for about 9 months. I also get to ride a really special medium sale pony, Rebel Yell, (aka Rebel) who was sent to us by Bill Schaub from Wellington. I’m happy to ride anyone my mom puts me on at home or at shows. I’m really lucky to have that opportunity.

I am currently practicing for Junior Hunter Finals in Sonoma next month, trying get the cute, fat ponies ready for Pony Finals and have lots and lots to learn to be ready to compete in my first indoor finals. This year I competed in my first USHJA Hunter Derby in Scottsdale and finished 10th and was leading Junior Rider. I was also 6th in a USHJA Derby here in Colorado at The Colorado Horse Park. I love the Derby’s and love to watch and learn from the amazing top riders in all rings. It is so inspiring! I finished in the top 10 at Pony Finals last year and was 4th place overall owner/rider for the Medium Greens.  I had the opportunity to go to Thermal to work with Karen Healy and got to step up to the 3’3” Juniors on Jelly — ending up Reserve Champion in the 3’3 hunters, won the THIS Medal and was 5th in the NHS. It was so intense – and I loved every minute of it!! I went to IEA nationals for MS flat and was 7th. It’s been such a fun year!

HH: What were some of your accomplishments this past year and what are your future goals?

AM: Stepping up to the 3’3 equitation and hunters was big for me … as was transitioning to the rated circuits.  The Oaks, in California, was an incredible learning experience and I’m just so grateful for every opportunity I have been given.  I still love the ponies and it’s a challenge to go back and forth, but rewarding. (Editor’s note: As someone who used to go between the junior hunters and pony ring quite often, this is a HARD thing to do successfully! Go Aeden!)

HH: Who do you idolize in the sport?

AM: Some of my idols in this sport are Karen Healey, Beezie Madden, John French, and Mclain Ward.

HH: Who have you ridden with and what have you taken from each trainer?

AM: Brannon Mooney: I’ve ridden with my Mom for as long as I have ridden and I’ve learned most everything I know from her. I’ve learned the basics including position, feel, and how to jump, horsemanship, sportsmanship. When we first opened the barn I learned to do everything with my Mom…from mucking to meds to night check. Dan Schiefen: I rode with Dan for a while when I was really little and went to my very first poles horse show with him. Among other things, I absolutely learned discipline and and the importance of really clean tack! Dan is great. Kay Beard: Kay came and helped teach for my Mom and while she was with us she really helped me learn how to ride Sunny better because of her knowledge. I gained more confidence overall riding with her…lots of no stirrups!!  Karen Healey: I’ve been riding with Karen at the away horse shows and she has really helped my grow as a rider and she has pushed me to where I needed to be pushed without breaking me. She is demanding and has helped me connect with my horses more and relate to them.

HH: If your horse(s) was/were a person who do you think he/she would be like?

AM: If my horses were people:  Audrey would be Audrey Hepburn with the short term memory of Dory from Finding Nemo … she is beautiful & elegant, but is super peeky and sometimes she forgets she can jump… “What’s that?? A jump?? What’s a jump??!! EEEKKK!”- Audrey.    Sunny would be a little dutch Tiny Tim because he’s so mild and eager to please.  Jelly would be Dude Crush from Finding Nemo because he’s incredibly laid back (lazy!!) and goes with the flow, and Rebel would be a flying squirrel with confidence issues – who doesn’t yet realize he can fly. They all would make good characters!

HH: What is always in your tack trunk?

AM: Some things that are always in my tack trunk are my tack cleaner and lots and lots of treats!

HH: What’s your favorite show and why?

AM: My favorite show is either Pony Finals in Kentucky or The Oaks in California…So green and so peaceful.

HH: Do you have any good luck charms or are you superstitious about anything?

AM: I always wear a certain pair of socks and always carry the same crop.. and I have a thing about a certain gray scrunchy….don’t judge.

HH: If you weren’t riding and showing what do you think you’d be doing?

AM: Honestly if I weren’t riding or showing, I would be wishing I was!!