Life, Horses and her Journey to the Top: 10 Questions with Shelby Brost

Canadian eventer Shelby Brost has had a successful season with Crimson, her own 15-year-old Thoroughbred mare (Etta x Dixieland Heat, by Cojak), including top 10 finishes in the Poplar Place CIC2*, Bromont CCI2*, and Jersey Fresh CIC3*. At just 20 years old, the 2016 NAYC CICY2* gold medalist was also called up to represent Canada on her first senior team in the Great Meadow CICO3* in July. We catch up with her on the eve of her fall season. 

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Shelby Brost and Crimson representing Canada at Great Meadow in July 2018. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Q. So you just competed on your first senior team for Canada this summer at Great Meadow. What was it like?

A. Competing on a senior team has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. The success of any dream, especially one I had been striving towards for so long, is complete euphoria. I am beyond grateful for being given the opportunity and truly enjoyed every second of it!

Q. Reflecting on the event, what do you feel you learned from the experience and what do you think you can take away moving forward as you aim to continue to represent your country on senior teams in the future?

A. There are so many things that I experienced during the entire Great Meadow competition, not just while riding. Exposure to competition is experience, which can’t be taught in lessons. The involvement with the team was an amazing learning experience and I am grateful for all the advice, support and knowledge they passed on. For myself the end result wasn’t what I had hoped to for, we had two really successful phases and things were going really well on cross country as well, until that one corner that I didn’t set her up for. I am learning from my mistakes and look forward to putting in the work to contribute a successful score in future events to come.

Shelby Brost and Crimson at Stable View in 2017. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Q. Coming off representing Canada at the Young Rider level not too long ago with much success and then stepping up to a senior team yourself, what advice would you give to young riders coming off their young rider experience and looking to move up into the senior ranks?

A. Be tenacious. Have persistence, determination, a strong support team, and a solid and methodical plan on how to get there. Everyone has their own journey up the ranks but a common trait that most, if not all, the top riders that I look up to have is an insatiable hunger to succeed. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else’s journey — focus and work hard on your journey.

Q. After the big build up to Great Meadow and the anticipation, after it was over what was your next step with Crimson and how did you unwind?

A. It was a long drive back to Ocala for Crimson and I from Virginia. During this time, I reflected on the outcome of the weekend over and over … and then started planning the fall season ahead. She had a well-deserved vacation and I was able to go to my parent’s home in Vernon, BC, where I spent time with family and friends.

Shelby Brost and Bo Brown, her up-and-coming 1* horse, at Bromont 2018. Photo by Leslie Threlkeld.

Q. Now that your horses are coming back from vacation, what have you been doing with them at home in particular to help prepare for the fall season?

A. They eased back into a regular work routine. We use the treadmill here at the Fredericks yard so we can change the incline, this helps since we don’t have access to many hills in Ocala. Their workload will increase quite a bit in preparation for plans to run a fall CCI. I also use a heart rate monitor when they gallop or do trot-sets as a key tool to help assess their fitness and all my horses wear Flair strips when galloping and jumping to help open their airways. The Theraplate is a big part of maintenance during training and at competitions, the horses love standing on it so that makes it easy to use as an instrumental part of my program.

Q. And what are your favorite products to use to help keep your horses and yourself in top shape and feeling good?

A. The Ecolicious products are an amazing line of grooming/care products for horses and people that are also free of harsh chemicals. They are actually organic and 100% all-natural. Crimson tends to be on the sensitive side and these products made such a difference for her. I also have them on APF Pro — it’s a liquid supplement that I give orally (can be topped on their grain but Crim is super picky). It is basically a wonder supplement that supports gastric health, muscle development, proper immune function and healthy cellular metabolism. For their overall wellbeing after a workout, the Benefab by Sore No-More products are incredible! I love using the Sore No-More liniments in their baths or on their legs.

Shelby Brost and Crimson at Southern Pines in 2016. Photo by Jenni Autry.

Q. And you always look amazing too! What sort of products do you wear?

A. Oh gosh, well if you look good, you feel good! Contrary to what some people think, you can still look great even in the barn and I think wearing clothing that you feel comfortable and confident in is a huge part of being confident in the saddle as well. I love wearing Asmar head to toe because their clothes are breathable and extremely comfortable. I wear only JojoSox inside my boots. It is amazing how much of a difference a good sock can make when you’re in your boots all day long!

Q. I think a lot of people may be wondering, what is it like juggling all this while still being relatively young and living on your own in Ocala, Florida? What do you like to do maybe outside of riding to try and keep the horse, life balance?

A. Honestly, I wish I had an answer to finding this magic balance between the two. I was fortunate to have my parents support me to make the decision to put off being a full-time student in order to try and achieve this lifelong goal of competing horses and hopefully representing Canada at the Olympics one day so I feel like my entire life has revolved around that since making the move to Florida. It was only since my niece was born, actually during my first year of NAJYRC, and then my sister was sick and passed away from cancer that I realized how important it is to have a balance between horses and family.

I like to keep my riding life professional and very tuned in 24/7. However, I know it’s also important to return to my home lifestyle, and take a step away, only when the horses have some down time from competing of course. You must be willing to alter your entire lifestyle to compete at the highest levels of any sport so there’s little time for “regular teenage things” but taking time with family is crucial.

Shelby Brost and Crimson at NAYC in 2016. Photo by JJ Sillman.

Q. So what’s next? What is your fall plan with Crimson?

A. After running Chatt Hills intermediate to get back into the swing of things, I plan to run the Plantation CIC3*. Finally, our end goal for this season would be to complete the CCI3* at Jockey Club. The Jockey Club event in November is absolutely incredible and to have a CCI3* literally 10 minutes from home is fantastic. Come out to support this event, it is 100% worth it!

Q. And finally, what are your goals for this season and beyond. What would you like to take into next year?

A. Our plans are based on long-term goals with hopes of making the Pan Am team next year. Pan Ams would be the stepping-stone towards the 2020 Olympics goal! It’s important to set a goal and make a plan to set the wheels in motion to work toward that goal.