Friday, January 18, 2013

New Challenges | 2/18/2013

Jodi Hemry Eventing

by Pam Gleason 

“Each horse is different,” says Jodi Hemry. “When I’m training a horse, I try to tailor the individual program to the horse and do what works for him – something that works on one horse isn’t necessarily going to work on another one. I really try to listen to the horse, and do what he is telling me.”

In June of this year, Jodi, an event rider and trainer formerly based in Ridge Spring, started her own business, Jodi Hemry Eventing LLC. Her operation is currently located at Bridle Creek Equestrian in Aiken, adjoining Red Oak Farm, which is owned by Phillip Dutton, the Olympic eventer. There, she is giving lessons, working with horses for clients and training her own competition horses.

“A big part of my business is selling horses,” she says. Jodi takes in sales horses for training, and has discovered that she has a knack for finding them the right homes. Her success as a matchmaker relies on the same philosophy of listening to the horse and finding him the right job.

“I’m not just limited to eventing,” she says, noting that one of the great things about being in Aiken is that there are so many different disciplines in town. “I might get a horse that has evented, but that doesn’t really enjoy running around a cross country course. That horse might do well in the hunter/jumper ring – he might be happy to jump four feet all day long. Sometimes I get a horse that is a really lovely mover, but isn’t all that enthusiastic about jumping. I might sell that horse as a dressage horse.”

Whatever the discipline, Jodi is always thrilled when she has made a good match, which relies as much on finding the right rider as on finding the right job for the horse. There is a little bit of mystery in this: the horse has to be suited to doing what the rider is hoping to do, but a good match always depends on chemistry.

“There are times when a rider tells me about what they have done and what they are looking for in a horse, and I’m not sure if they will get along with a particular horse or not. But then they come out and ride, and you can see right away that it is going to work. They just click, and you know it’s going to be a really good pair. You can see it on the rider’s face and you can see it on the horse’s face. That makes me really happy.”

Jodi, who is originally from Montana, was first exposed to eventing when she was in college at Colorado State. She graduated with a degree in business, and then one of her riding instructors encouraged her to pursue a career in horses. She took a position in Massachusetts as a working student with Torrance Watkins, a member of the 1984 gold medal-winning U.S. eventing team. From there, she went to work for Bruce Mandeville, a Canadian Olympic eventer who spent his winters in Aiken. Bruce brought her to Aiken in 2003, and she liked it so much she never left.

Today, in addition to selling horses, Jodi also competes and coaches her own students. She has had considerable success in both arenas. One of her students, Amy Boyle, was the United States Eventing Association Preliminary Amateur event rider of the year in 2011, on her horse Skip to My Lew.

“I really enjoy teaching,” says Jodi, who focuses on imparting good basic skills and on giving her students confidence in their abilities. “When my students have a successful event, or when they move up a level or jump something for the first time, it’s a real sense of accomplishment. It’s always great when they do something they didn’t think they could do.”

In her own riding, Jodi works with Kim Severson, an Olympic medalist and a regular on America’s international teams. Jodi has brought horses along to the two-star level and hopes to compete in the Advanced division in the future. In the short term, she is focused on getting her horses ready for the upcoming season, and expects to compete in one- and two-star events in 2013. She says that she loves eventing for its challenges, as well as for the fact that it produces wellrounded horses.

“I really like that the horse is trained in more than one discipline,” she says. “You get the dressage training, which is the basics. You get the galloping for the cross country, and then the technical skill that you need for the stadium. I think the horses enjoy the cross training, and I think they benefit from it. It’s challenging, but I enjoy the challenge.”

Jodi Hemry Eventing LLC currently has a number of horses for sale, and has room for a few more students. Jodi says she would like to take in more horses for training or for sale, and that she expects the market for event horses to be good this winter. She is looking forward to a busy season in Aiken doing what she loves: teaching, training, competing and just being around event horses.

For more information, visit the website: www.

This article is copyrighted and first appeared in The Aiken Horse. It is reprinted here by permission.