Today in PonyApp’s Young Professional series, we catch up with top junior rider Daisy Farish about her new adventure working for trainers Ken & Emily Smith at nationally renowned Ashland Farm in Kentucky. Brought to you by Dover Saddlery’s Ladies Wellesley Knee-Patch Breech.
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All things considered, if you’re thinking about a career in the horse industry, you couldn’t ask for a better resume than 18-year-old rider Daisy Farish.
With a mile-long list of junior achievements in the hunter, jumper, and equitation rings (think: an Individual gold medal at Young Riders in 2018, winning Grand Champion at Junior Hunter Finals, and taking home the Platinum Performance/USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals – East in 2018), Daisy has been busy expanding her international accolades as well.
Last fall, the PonyApp U25 Ambassador was part of a U.S. contingent that won gold in the Young Riders Challenge Cup at CSIOY Opglabbeek on her top horse, Great White. That followed on the heels of the pair’s first, 1.45m CSI5* win at Spruce Meadows last June. This spring, Daisy is beginning a new chapter working for Ken and Emily Smith’s Ashland Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, where she is helping to campaign sale horses and even pitching in as an assistant trainer.
(c) Jump Media
“I’ve been doing a lot of riding on a couple jumper sales horses and hunters that they have, and [also] a little bit of showing and preparing clients’ horses, and a little bit of training as well,” says Daisy.
“I love working with the younger horses and horses that are new to their jobs that I get to show and train a little bit. I like watching them come along.”
Farish grew up on her family’s racing farm in Kentucky, where her passion for horses blossomed at a young age. She had her first ride at age four and hasn’t looked back since, competing on everything from ponies and junior hunters to grand prix prospects—and catch riding quite a few in between.
(c) Alden Corrigan Media
“As a junior, I rode horses for so many people [and] I got a lot of different tips and training from different professionals, so I’m able to use pieces of everything that I learned,” Daisy says, adding that the coaching she received during her formative years with Andre Dignelli at Heritage Farm has been equally beneficial.
“The the first week that I showed [for Ashland], I rode, like, 12 different horses, some of which I’d never [sat on] or jumped. My junior years, showing all those different horses, and catch riding all types of horses, and hopping on horses I didn’t know, for sure, helped me transition into that, because it was something I was used to doing.”
As her training role continues to grow at Ashland and beyond, Daisy already has a clear understanding of the kinds of values she wants to pass on to future students. “One thing that I’d like to see happen is that, with a lot of barns, the horses are always trained and [prepared] for the clients and kids [before they go into] the ring. That’s very helpful for them, but I’d also like for them to learn how to train and set up horses for themselves,” Daisy explains.
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I [also] think it’s very easy, in our sport and in competition, to get on a role, and get ahead of yourself, and get excited with a horse. You always have to keep in the front of your mind that the horse’s health, both mentally and physically, [always] comes first.”
In respect to her own career, Farish says, her ultimate goal is to one day ride for her country on a Senior Nations Cup Team. But there are no stars in Daisy’s eyes. “I’d love to be, of course, showing jumpers at the top level of the sport, but I know I have a long way and a lot of different steps I need to take before I’m at that point.
“It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of long days. You have to be very passionate and know that it’s what you want to do,” she says. “I think having a positive attitude is very helpful as a professional. Everyone gets frustrated, and overwhelmed, and stressed, and being able to be level-headed is [important].”
Also key? Staying in touch with the reasons that brought you there to begin with. “I love [just] being around the horses and spending time with them,” Daisy says. “The number one thing that makes me passionate about the sport is how much I love horses.”