Friday, June 12, 2015

Interview: Eventing 25 Rider Bailey Moran

 Bailey Moran is an up and coming young eventer from Texas. This year, she has moved up to Advanced Level with her Irish Sport Horse, Loughnatousa Caislean(Leo), who she bought as a five-year-old, and she has a goal of someday competing in the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. She really inspires me because I too dream of competing in the upper levels. To me, riders closer to my age who are just beginning to compete in the upper levels are far more inspiring than those who have been doing it for decades, however great the latter may be. Riders like Bailey make my dream seem even more real and attainable. 

Bailey Moran and Loughnatousa Caislean(Leo)
1. The Aspiring Equestrian: How did you get started in eventing, and did you always dream of reaching the upper levels?
Bailey Moran: My parent's tried absolutely everything. Gymnastics, swimming, dance.. But nothing kept my interest for more than a couple of weeks. My mother finally succumbed and let me try riding lessons when I turned six. Not three lessons in, I told them both that I wanted to go to the Olympics one day-- so upper levels have been on my radar for quite some time!

2. TAE: Which rider(s) have you admired growing up?  Which rider(s) has/have been influential in helping you reach Advanced Level eventing?
BM: I started riding with Donna Kinney when my parents and I moved to San Antonio due to my father's work. I trained with Donna for almost seven years. With her, I moved from beginner novice to intermediate. She taught me to be safe, smart, and to always listen to my horse. She was hard on me when she needed to be, and as proud as could be every time I crossed the finish line. She wakes up every day ready to work harder than the last. I wouldn't be half of the rider I am today without her.

3. TAE: How did you find your horse, Loughnatousa Caislean, and how did you know that he was that special one when you found him?
BM: In August of 2011 I flew to Ireland having absolutely no idea that I'd be coming home with a tall, lanky, uncoordinated five year old. Best decision of my life. He was actually the second choice when my first failed his pre-purchase. Looking back now, I know it was fate. I took him cross country schooling and after less than ten minutes, told my dad "I have never felt this confident on a horse."

4. TAE: What is Leo like around the barn? What is he like to ride, and what are some things you love about him?
BM: Oh dear. Leo is the epitome of a quirky Irishman. It's usually adorable. Sometimes exhausting. For a horse that is absolutely fearless on cross country, he is a gigantic chicken. He's known for his famous snorts of worry or surprise. He's very aware of everything going on around him and can be picky about strangers, but he's pretty easy to win over if you offer him a handful of Sour Patch Kid's. His tack trunk is never without a supply of "SPK's"!

5. TAE: Could you tell me about your first Advanced Level competition? How was it like to accomplish something you have dreamed about for so long?
BM: Well I don't know if "accomplish" is the right word. We made it around 90% of the show! I was ecstatic to be through with dressage and it's hard not to feel confident going into show jumping with Leo. He's practically allergic to wood-- I really have to mess up to knock anything down! If poles do fall, it's never his fault. I hate to admit how nervous I was going into cross country. I blame my RF on that-- I was just too tense, so when I missed a stride and he jumped anyway(because he's a saint), I just popped off.

Bailey Moran and Leo on cross country
6. TAE: Not too long ago, you earned your way onto the Eventing 25 Developing Rider List. Could you tell me about this program? How has this improved your riding?
BM: The Eventing 25 program is incredible! Leslie is a fantastic trainer with more knowledge than I can fathom. It's hard not to stand in awe of his wisdom when attending the sessions. He takes our training to a whole new level and focuses in on the details that we don't always remember to emphasize. Plus, he has some pretty hilarious stories!

7. TAE: How do you prepare yourself and Leo for an upper level event?
BM:  I try not to, haha! I always try to get our schedule planned out a couple of weeks in advance so that it's just another day, even as the event approaches. It keeps me from getting nervous which in turn keeps him relaxed. As we get more experienced I'm getting more comfortable and gaining confidence, but I still try to think about the events as little as possible for my own sanity!

8. TAE: So far, what has been your most memorable experience riding and competing in eventing?
BM: This past April, Leo and I jumped clear around the CCI2* at the Ocala International. It was a phenomenal feeling crossing those finish flags in show jumping after adding only some time on the course to our dressage score. He was so flawless all weekend that I was nearly in tears. It was a huge show with a taxing course. I was unbelievably proud of our finish.

9. TAE: What are your goals for this season and beyond?
BM: This year I'm headed to KY to ride in the CCI2* at NAJYRC. Leo will get a nice break after running there and then come back for AECs. In December I'm heading to California to work with Tamie Smith for a few months. I'm really hoping to move up to Advanced(again) and run a CIC3* before I come back to Texas. Ultimately I'm crossing my fingers to qualify for Rolex. Only time will tell when everything will fall into place!

Bailey and Leo show jumping 
10. TAE: What challenges have you faced in working toward the upper levels? What advice do you for a young rider who aspires to reach Advanced Level?
BM: Plans don't always go the way you hope they will. You have to roll with the punches and keep your head up. Kick on. Be strong, brave, and positive. Something I've struggled with-- and still struggle with --is feeling like I'm good enough. It's easy to look at all the names on an entry list and suddenly feel so small and insignificant. At the end of the day, none of it matters. It's about going out with your best friend, trying your hardest, and having a blast doing it.

11. TAE: What do you love most about eventing?
BM: The people. Eventing is one of the most welcoming, supportive, all around kind hearted sports. So many good people are involved in it that it's hard not to come away from a single event having discovered a new lifelong friend. You meet so many different people from so many walks of life-- and you all can identify with each other because of the most wonderful animal to have ever walked the earth; horses.

 I'm wishing Bailey Moran the best of luck with her goal and hope to see her at Rolex next year! If you have any equestrian(rider, equine professional, or other interesting equestrian) that you would like me to interview, please let me know.


  1. Awesome interview. It's interesting how many bold cross country horses are spooky as well.

    1. Thanks! I guess birds and other out of place things are scarier than huge jumps, haha.

  2. Awesome interview! :) So cool that you're getting to interview such great riders.

  3. Awesome interview! Lots of interesting .nformation. Are you planning more interviews?

    1. Thanks! yes, I plan on doing more interviews. If you know of anyone interesting, please let me know and I will contact him/her.


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