Olympia High alumna Marjory Andrade is fairly new to the world of showing horses, but she’s taken to it like a champ. During a recent show, the Winter Garden resident placed third in one of her English hunter classes. Sunnybrook Farm owner Rebecca Berry considers Andrade one of her star pupils, praising her for her hard work.
When did you first start riding?
I rode when I was little in Brazil, because my grandpa had a farm and tons of horses. When I moved to the United States, I spent a little while without riding, so I started back up with riding in 2012. It took me six years or so to get back into riding.
What made you decide to get back into riding and begin showing?
I really missed it, and I was always talking to my mom about how I wanted to ride and start competing. I just wanted to get back into it, because I missed being with horses and with nature. I was inside a lot on my computer and the TV, so I wanted to get out and do something.
What is your favorite part of being out at the barn?
Just being with the horses, honestly, that’s what I love most. Just taking care of them and being with nature — I love riding, but I think one of the biggest things about riding is just having that connection on the ground.
Tell me about the horse(s) with which you work.
I actually ride two horses. One is my project horse, which is Aladdin, and Leon is the horse that I usually show. I’m trying to get Aladdin into showing … hopefully by the end of the year, I’ll be showing him.
What’s your favorite part about showing?
There’s a lot — I get really nervous being in the ring, but I love it. I get so, so nervous, but when I’m there I’m like, ‘OK, this is cool.’ I guess it’s being in the ring and seeing other riders as well — seeing the community around you riding.
What is the most challenging part of being an equestrian athlete?
Just getting over your habits. You have to trust the horse, and I think that’s my biggest thing. It’s been a challenge for me — I trust my horse, but my nerves make me want to do everything for him.
Is there anything you’re working on learning or improving right now?
Just sitting up there and letting the horse do its job. That’s one of the biggest things I’m working on right now, because in the last show I totally messed it up because I got completely closed up and I froze.
How do you prepare for a show?
We always clean up the horse and groom them, and we do a lot of conditioning for the shows. We practice at least two times a week for the shows. One day would be flatting and the second day would be jumping. If I come more I’ll practice both in one day. It’s just getting the horse ready and getting yourself ready mentally and physically.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I just breathe and go through everything in my head. I go through my courses, because you have to memorize courses, so there’s like eight jumps you have to memorize. I breathe, and my little mantra is ‘Sit back and relax.’ That’s what I do, I just have time to relax, even if it’s just for one minute to shut off for a little.
If you could have any meal in front of you right now, what would it be?
There’s this Brazilian meal called chicken stroganoff and I think if I had it sitting in front of me that would be perfect — that’s what I’m feeling right now.
What are your other hobbies?
I’m a singer and a disc jockey. I deejay a lot and i’m working on my singing career right now. It’s mostly in Brazil, like I’m doing the music mostly for Brazilians, but I want to start doing music here. I sing songs in English, but it’s mostly projected to Brazil.
Is there an artist or genre of music you’ve been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to a lot of gospel music, actually. I recently got into gospel because f my boyfriend and he showed me. The stuff I go toward with singing is electronic music, but I really like listening to gospel.