We will be kicking off the 2019 AGDF season in just four short weeks! This week, Ariana Chia is stepping under our rider spotlight. The Canadian rider has accumulated even more impressive accolades aboard her talented horses during the rest of the 2018 show year. Catch a glimpse of her exciting summer and all that she’s looking forward to for the 2019 season!
How has the rest of your 2018 show year been since AGDF?
It’s been really good! I did one CDI in Calgary. I actually haven’t competed on Canadian soil since I was a young rider. I did the 3* up there, and I finished in third place with 67.8% in the freestyle with my grey horse, Teo. He’s my main, older, “schoolmaster” type horse. He’s just wonderful! I worked with my young horses at home, while my main competition horses got a bit of time out of the ring to rest. They went on a lot of hacks, did a lot of cross-training, and then we started gearing up for the season again. I usually use the summer to really focus on getting my clients out to competitions and giving my young and inexperienced horses more training. Just keeping my horses fit and happy!
Will you returning for all 12 weeks of AGDF?
Yes, I will! I’ll have my grey horse, Teo, who I did all of the night classes and the grand prix with last year. I’m so excited to show him there again. He’s so fit, sound, fresh, and eager to work everyday, even though he’s coming on 20 years old. He really is a superstar! And then I have my really exciting 8 year old, Fiderflame, who I’m going to be campaigning for Pan Am. I have six horses coming down in total, and the rest are clients’ horses. I have juniors and adult amateurs coming down. It’s the first season for some of them, and they’re so excited to experience Wellington. It really is equestrian Disneyland.
Are there any horses you’re most excited about?
My up-and-comer is definitely Fiderflame. He’s the kind of horse who I can take in the ring, have a hiccup, and still get a 70%. He’s such an honest horse with a wow-factor to him. The judges really like him and he tries his hardest for me! He’s produced such good scores consistently every year. Last year, my focus was more on Teo, so I’m really excited to focus more on Fiderflame and get him some international experience, and hopefully try for a spot in the Pan Am Games!
What’s your favorite thing about AGDF?
Oh my gosh… everything! I love the atmosphere in the international ring. It’s just such a beautiful arena to compete in. The horses are always happy in there, as it’s just the right amount of excitement for the horses. It’s not too overwhelming, but not too quiet. In Canada, we drive hours away to different shows, so I love the fact that everything is in one place. It’s 12 weeks of competition practically at your backdoor. It’s so great to keep stepping back into the same ring, too. The horses get so comfortable with it as it becomes part of their routine.
Are there any classes you’re looking forward to?
If I could go into night classes a few times again this winter, that would be amazing. Last year was my first time doing that, and it was so incredibly exciting. I grew up watching my favorite riders compete in the grand prix night class, so to be in it last year was just surreal and so much fun. I’d love to do that again. I’m also really excited about getting Fiderflame really steady in the one-star small tour!
What advice would you give to someone who’s never competed at AGDF before?
Don’t be intimidated. Just go out there and do your best. Don’t be afraid to be brave. Don’t worry about what other people are thinking or who’s watching. Just focus on your horse, the communication you have at home, and it will produce good results. That’s what I try to do!
Best of luck this season, Ariana! We’ll see you soon at AGDF for the 2019 season.