The 2028 U.S. Eventing Team is already out there somewhere, and it’s up to us all to nurture their talent and their big dreams. “2028 Olympic Talent Watch” is an (adorable) new series in which we identify junior eventers who are already exhibiting the heart and the guts to lead American eventing to glory in the (distant) future. Any short-stirrup riders you know come to mind? Email us their story at [email protected]
Today’s featured junior rider, Kloie Hicks, was nominated by her fellow Pony Clubber Miranda Levin. Miranda says, “We have been friends for a few years, and we go to shows together and take lessons together. I’m 17 so she is kinda become my little sister in the last couple of years!”
Kloie Hicks is one of the coolest kids I know. She is a small 11-year-old and rides a 14.2-hand quarter pony named Sugar. This kid is a star in the making! She rides mainly eventing, but she also loves dressage and Pony Club games.
Kloie started riding a friend’s horses who was in training to be therapy horses when she was 4-and-a-half years old. The family friend said that she needed to be in lessons because her talent needed to be developed in a more constructive way. Kloie then started lessons with Dawn Buis at Pony Tail Acres when she was 5, and she has been riding there since.
The first horse that Kloie fell in love with was the patron saint of lesson ponies, Fantasy. The Arabian mare taught her the basics and the two competed at Pre-amoeba and Amoeba in local schooling shows.
Once Fantasy retired in early 2016, Kloie started leasing a quarter pony named Rosie. Rosie is a super cute pony that Kloie competed Amoeba and Tadpole with at schooling shows and through Pony Club in dressage, eventing, show jumping and games. Their first show together was the South Region Pony Club Dressage Rally in early 2016. Through both their tests, Kloie was smiling so wide that she lit up the ring.
The two went to a cross country clinic at Gibbes Farm with Beth Stelzleni. She was the youngest person there by far, but she showed up most of the adults in her group. Even though she was nervous, the other riders remarked that she was the one giving them confidence to jump.
Kloie and Rosie’s last event was the Pony Club Games Rally in March 2017 where they qualified for Pony Club Championships. After Games Rally, Kloie’s parents bought her current pony Sugar Rush.
Over the summer, Kloie competed with Sugar at a USDF show in the pony Training level tests at Chattahoochee Hills, The National Dressage Pony Cup at the Kentucky Horse Park at Training level, and in several local schooling shows. Later, she and Rosie competed at Champs in games on a scramble team as she was the sole rider from the South Region for games. She also took Sugar to Champs to participate in Pony Club festival. Currently, Kloie and Sugar just completed their first horse trial at the November Poplar Place H.T. where she placed second in Starter. She plans to move up to Beginner Novice for her next event and is so excited to jump higher!
Kloie is my best friend. She is one of the hardest working and determined kids I know. She is a super funny kid with huge goals. He current goals are to go to NAJYRC for eventing, ride at Rolex and the Olympics, to rescue work with horses, and to never stop riding. Kloie has the biggest heart and loves all horses and animals. Her maturity always astounds me. She does not always win, but as she told me one at a particularly rough show, “I am not at this show to win. I am here to learn.”
I love Kloie and I know that she will be riding in the 2028 Olympics, and I will be there to cheer her on!