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Member Spotlight Questionnaire
What is your farm’s name and where is it
Tribute Hill Farm in Cream Ridge, New Jersey.
When and how did you get involved with
I started amateur handling three years ago
with encouragement from my trainer, Emily Ann
McDonnell. At the end of the show year there
was a “Significant Other” amateur handling
class at one of the horse shows that other
exhibitor family members were participating in.
I decided to give it a try and really enjoyed it. I
followed up the next year and began amateur
handling at the horse shows.
Can you describe a favorite moment in your
One experience that made a big impression on me
and that has been a big part of how I show was
my first amateur handling class at Devon. I was
nervous and had never been in a class that big and
in such a prestigious horse show. A friend of mine –
Becca Hunt – said to me “Hey Austin, we'll do the
class together! Follow me into the ring...” Becca's
encouragement really made me feel at ease in such
an intimidating situation. Ever since then I have
always made an extra effort to be friendly and
encouraging to other amateur handlers -
encouraging anyone who may seem nervous or unsure
going into the ring. After all, in the amateur handler
classes, we're all there to have fun an enjoy our
horses. I'll never forget that.
What lessons has horses taught you?
Patience, persistence, and practice.
If you could ride any horse in the world, who
would it be?
I think that I would love to be able to ride my
horse Hannah again. She suffered an injury years
ago and has a mechanical lameness so she's
retired now. She was so much fun!
What's in your tack trunk?
All the usual stuff... helmet, gloves, boots,
half-chaps, and plenty of peppermints. I like to
spoil the four-legged children.
Do you have any superstitions when it comes to
No superstitions really. I just remind myself to do my
thing and have fun.
What do you like to do when not handling?
Playing drums in my band in front of a crowd. It's my