This change meant that I needed a new trainer to help Patrick and I continue progressing on a weekly basis. Luckily, I already knew the perfect person. Her name is Julie Devine. She is a friend and a well-known trainer locally. She started riding hunters as a child and did a little bit of “A” showing while in her high school equestrian program at Chatham Hall. The basics of her riding are George Morris-influenced. She is a firm, but forward and sympathetic rider. This style has served her well throughout her career, particularly in her work with young horses. She rode IHSA in college and was the captain of her team at Kenyon College. She also became intrigued with eventing during college, and began competing in the discipline. She’s been a working student for Missy and Jessica Ransehousen, who are international event and dressage riders, respectively. Jessica served for many years as the chef d'equip of the US Dressage Olympic team.
Julie also worked for the Woodlands pony farm in Virginia where she trained the young stock. Julie is known in these parts as the go-to trainer for young and problem horses. She fixes horse problems that other people say can’t be solved. She’s exceptionally brave and strong for her size. She has evented her aptly named baby thoroughbred, Shakey Man, through training level successfully, and they are just getting started.
In addition to possessing some serious riding and training skills, Julie is an all-around great horse woman. She spent about a year as the manager of our 27 stall boarding barn before resigning to take a job in her degree field as a counselor for troubled youth. Let’s just say that those psychology skills will probably come in handy while teaching my lessons! For my friends and me, she remains the go-to person for all questions about horse management.
So, I am looking forward to working with Julie. I think that her hunter-turned-eventer background is going to be helpful. I love the precision of the hunters but respect the “gallop on and don’t sweat the small stuff” mentality of the eventers. I think that Patrick and I can benefit from an infusion of this mentality into our hunter rounds. As always, we’ll let you know how we’re doing.