The USEF has named the 2015 Eventing 25 riders, and we’re excited to get to know each of them with a series of profiles on EN. These young riders are the future of our sport in the U.S., so remember their names and join us in giving them the recognition they deserve. Keep checking back for new profiles. Go Eventing 25!
It seems rare that young riders remain at the same farm with the same trainers throughout grade school. Yet, Rebecca (Becca) Gall met Chrissy Hollnagel and Sara McGowan of Willow Run Eventing through Pony Club when she was in kindergarten. They introduced her to eventing and she still rides with them today.
“I would like to thank Chrissy and Sara for helping me get to where I am today in my riding,” Becca said. “They have taught me many valuable lessons over the years which I am very grateful for. They are always pushing me to do my best and always believe in me, knowing I can get the job done.”
Now 18 and a senior in high school, Becca has a lot to be proud of. She qualified for her first AEC at age 10, qualified for her first CCI1* at 15 and has represented Area IV at NAJYRC twice. This year, she was talent-spotted onto the Eventing 25 list for the first time, which will undoubtedly be helpful as she looks to compete on the two-star team at Young Riders this summer.
“The opportunity to work with Leslie Law and watch the other participants will help me continue to build a strong foundation in my eventing career,” Becca said. “The learning doesn’t stop once you get off your horse and I am looking forward to learning from watching the other rider/horse combinations.
“I take this opportunity very seriously and am ready to work with Coach Law to become a more competitive pair in our upcoming competitions.”
Can Ya Dig It (Digger), is Becca’s 12-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who never made it to the track because he was too “immature.” Indeed they had their ups and downs when Becca first started riding him, but his “willing heart” kept her persevering.
“There were many days when I would call one of my trainers in tears asking her what I was supposed to do with a horse that jumps up and down instead of trotting forward,” Becca said. “Both trainers would tell me to be patient. Give him time.”
Digger had some experience at Training already and he was intended to help Becca get there. Then they moved up and competed at Preliminary for nearly three full years, getting experience and solidifying all three phases, before successfully advancing to the Intermediate level last September.
“My trainers began telling me that they could tell he was a ‘special’ horse and that the two of us were ready to keep going. We are truly a team; he knows me as well as I know him.”
Becca hopes to eventually go Advanced, but her focus is on education and the well being of the horse. “Digger, along with my coaches, will help me decide when we are ready for that move up.”
When Becca isn’t riding or studying, she baby-, house- and pet-sits to pay for her horse expenses while her family provides logistical help.
“As we all know, showing requires a lot of time away from home. From my dad making sure all the behind the scenes stuff is taken care of to my Grandma moving in to help out with my brother and sister while my mom and I are gone at shows, I have an amazing team!
“My mom is always willing to jump behind the wheel and help get Digger and I where we need to be. I also want to thank her for dealing with me before I go into the show ring or start box as I can get a little crabby when I am nervous!”
After graduation Becca will be starting an plumbing apprenticeship. But she won’t be leaving Willow Run any time soon.