Eventing 25: Third Time’s the Charm for Lizzie Snow & Coal Creek

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!

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Galway Downs CCI3*. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Galway Downs CCI3*. Photo by Jenni Autry.

As the most experienced pair on the Eventing 25 list for 2015, Lizzie Snow and her seasoned partner Coal Creek are looking forward to their third year of participation in the program that has already benefitted them so much. At the young age of 22, Lizzie and the 14-year-old black Thoroughbred gelding “Devon” have conquered two CCI3* events in 2014 and are planning on big things for 2015.

Lizzie has been riding for as long as she can remember, and most of her family is involved in horses in some way or another. Her grandfather was a great polo player, and her mother competes in eventing, as well as owns and operates Gallops Saddlery in Oregon. When she was 15, Lizzie moved to Southern Pines to work for four-star rider John Williams and hasn’t looked back since.

While eventing at the upper levels was always a goal in the back of Lizzie’s mind, she credits much of her experience and exposure to the top levels with being in the right place at the right time. “When I was younger, I never told myself that I absolutely had to ride at the upper levels,” she said. “It was a goal, but never a necessity. It’s just kind of fallen into place.”

Lizzie has been competing at the FEI levels for five years now, including five trips to the NAJYRC on three different mounts, four with top 10 finishes. When Devon came to her in 2011, Lizzie had just completed her first CCI2* on her fabulous OTTB Pop Star and had no idea what she was getting herself into with the experienced gelding, formerly ridden at the CCI3* level by Amy Tryon.

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Bromont. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Bromont. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Kathryn Rosson owned Devon at the time and originally decided to send him to Lizzie for a year before placing him for sale, but changed her plans after watching the two of them compete together. “Kathryn was more than generous in wanting to keep half of him and letting us purchase the other half,” Lizzie said. She now owns Devon in partnership with her mother Diane Snow, as well as Kathryn.

The three-year partnership between these two has certainly had its ups and downs, but they have become a staple at the Advanced and three-star level in that time and are competitive on a regular basis. This year they were third at Bromont CCI3* and traveled all the way to Galway Downs CCI3* in the fall to finish in fourth place. They also killed it on the PRO Tour Leaderboard this year, winning the Under 25 Rider division, placing third overall in the rider division, and with Devon taking home reserve champion position for all horses.

However, getting the ride on a fully formed Advanced horse made by a different rider hasn’t always been easy.

“Devon has definitely taught me how to ride; he’s quite the character!” laughs Lizzie. “He can be a bit of a terror to ride at home. Most of my flat lessons end up with me in the woods next to the arena because of the carriages trotting up the road or a car being too noisy for his liking. Hacks turn into bolting and spinning days, and gallops days are not necessarily something that I love. He doesn’t mean to be silly; he just can’t help himself.

He’s taught me patience beyond my years and that in some cases with him, it’s better to walk away and come back another day.  I’ve learned how to ride a runaway and how to develop a partnership with something I didn’t know how to approach in the beginning. The experience he has given me is certainly irreplaceable.”

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Galway Downs. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Lizzie Snow and Coal Creek at Galway Downs. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Their success has been due in part to their continued participation in the Eventing 25 program, which they have participated in since its inception in 2013. Eventing 25 is unique because it not only includes lessons under saddle, but also an all inclusive approach to education about management.

“It’s been a huge help to be able to work with David (O’Connor) at events this year,” says Lizzie. “I feel like we are continually building on previous lessons, and I’m starting to become more comfortable with the things that David is having me do. All of the additional lectures during the sessions from vets, farriers, nutritionists, grooms and David himself have been eye opening as well. The information that they are giving us are the key ingredients of what it takes to make a serious program.”

With Leslie Law just named as the Developing Rider Coach for the Eventing 25 and 18 programs yesterday, Lizzie is very excited to see what he can bring to the table and how his approach can benefit the group.

Additional education and a fresh approach is coming at an integral time, as Lizzie is tentatively aiming Devon at a very big competition this coming spring.

“If everything goes completely to plan, which it never does, I will aim Devon at Rolex Kentucky,” Lizzie said. “I’m trying not to think too far ahead and just keep taking things a day at a time.”

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