2028 Olympic Talent Watch: Anna Mitchell, Age 9

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] This week’s edition features Anna Mitchell, age 9, nominated by mom Angie!

I would like to share a little bit about my 9-year-old daughter, Anna, and her hard work to achieve her eventing goals. Anna started riding at age 4 and began taking lessons with her trainer, Ellen Doughty-Hume, at age 5. Anna began with lessons on one of Ellen’s former Prelim horses before we made the decision to buy her a pony.

Her first pony, Dots, was 28 years old and excellent for teaching her how to walk/trot/canter and jump cross rails. At age 6 she moved up to Champ, a 24-year-old former hunter pony, who took her to Starter level and helped her complete her first horse trials.

Photo by Angie Mitchell.

At age 7 she moved up to her current pony, You Have A Friend In Me, a 5-year-old 13.2-hand Welsh/Quarter Horse cross affectionately known as Woody. Anna has done most of the training on Woody, who is now 7, taking him from never having evented to placing in several USEA events at Beginner Novice.

Anna and Woody recently finished fourth out of 19 in the Jr. Beginner Novice division at Texas Rose, and second at Chattahoochee Hills against numerous adults in the Beginner Novice Rider division. They have qualified for the 2018 USEA Area III Championships, the 2017 USEA Area V Championships, and earned a qualification to the American Eventing Championships this year.

Photo by Ryan Hall.

Anna and Woody are schooling Training Level questions, competing at Novice in local schooling shows and hope to move up to Novice at USEA events in the fall. When she’s not eventing, she and Woody have been dabbling in the 1.0 meter jumpers and even did a puissance where they tied for third place after clearing 3-foot-11.

Photo by Angie Mitchell.

Anna spends her summers and time off school as a junior working student for Ellen. She helps with feeding, filling water buckets, hacking horses and assisting the beginner riders at summer camp. Her days typically go from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and she’s often begging to stay longer.

She’s recently started working with her first project horse, a 4-year-old OTTB mare named Lucky. With Ellen’s help, Anna took Lucky around her second jump course and is putting lots of hacking miles on her. She hopes Lucky will fill Woody’s horseshoes when she outgrows him. She also helps ride and school the sale ponies and has had the privilege of riding numerous upper level horses, including Ellen’s own CCI4* mount Sir Oberon.

Photo by Angie Mitchell.

Anna is extremely dedicated and her goal is to ride in a CCI4* one day. With her work ethic, positive attitude, love of horses and willingness to help, I believe she can accomplish anything she desires. I am very proud to be her mom!

Photo by Angie Mitchell.