By Amanda Alexander
Gillian Warner is a 15-year-old H-B Horse Management and C-3 Traditional member of Lion Country Pony Club in the Eastern Pennsylvania Region. Gillian writes a blog for Eventing Nation, highlighting her experiences as a Pony Club member competing and learning in the great sport of eventing. She joined Pony Club to help further her equine education and to spend more time with friends. Gillian’s ultimate riding goal is to become a professional in many equine disciplines as well as to one day potentially compete in the Olympics. Sidelines caught up with Gillian to find out more about her blog and Pony Club experiences.
Sidelines: How did you get into blogging?
Gillian Warner: It actually started when I rode Jane Sleeper’s mare, UN. I had the amazing opportunity to have a lesson with Jane on UN through the Area 2 Young Rider Silent Auction. I posted about my experience on Facebook. I’m friends on Facebook with some of the staff at Eventing Nation and they contacted me asking if I would write a story. I wrote a blog about riding UN, and apparently it was good so they asked me to be a regular blogger!
Sidelines: Can you give us a small synopsis of what your blog content is about?
GW: My blog content ranges month to month. It usually depends on my mood and what month it is. For example, in September before the season was over, I wrote “The Eventer’s Guide To: Sleeping on the Go,” which included many embarrassing pictures of myself and my friends falling asleep on the way to and at horse shows. Then, as the season ended and the weather got cold, I interviewed a few riders whom I’ve worked with over the past few years and wrote about how they prepare for the winter.
Sidelines: What inspires you to write?
GW: I like that my blog lets me feel more connected to the horse world. I hope that I can make a difference for people; that I can make them laugh, that they can relate to something I write or that I share a helpful tip. My family and friends are always there to help. I bounce ideas off of them quite often to make sure I get the best idea for that month.
Sidelines: Has Pony Club had an influence on your writing?
GW: Pony Club has been a huge influence on not only my writing, but my entire life! I’ve gained so much knowledge about horses and also about how to better present and communicate with others; you have to really know how to best express yourself and your thoughts at certifications! Pony Club has taught me how to share what I want to communicate, which is obviously necessary in writing.
Sidelines: How do you balance time between school, riding and writing?
GW: It’s a busy life, but every horse person can relate to that! Riding, school and writing are all extremely important to me. I’m a productive person and I’m good with managing my time. In school, I’m part of Student Government, the business club DECA, Future Farmers of America and a group that helps with giving tours to new students. I’m home from school by 3:30 in the afternoon. Then one of my parents takes me to ride until about 6:30 or 7:00 in the evening. I do homework usually until 10:30 at night, depending on how much I get that day. I write mostly on the weekends or whenever I have the time. I also try to hang out with my friends and be as social as possible usually on Friday nights or on the weekends when I don’t have school the next day. I’m usually very busy, but my parents are so supportive and helpful! I couldn’t manage everything without them.
Sidelines: What do you most enjoy about Pony Club?
GW: This is a tough question! I honestly cannot imagine where I would be without Pony Club. I probably enjoy the people in Pony Club most though. I have met some of my best friends through Pony Club — whether they’re in my club, my region or somewhere else — and have made so many connections through camps and certifications that have led to other opportunities.
Sidelines: What do you enjoy most about horses in general?
GW: I’ve always been horse crazy. I love horses for the same reason I’ve always loved horses: I love the connection between horse and rider as well as how gentle and trusting horses can be. When there’s a special partnership, the horse will do anything for the rider and the rider trusts the horse with their life.
Sidelines: What advice do you have for future Pony Club members?
GW: Appreciate the opportunities that you are given and always remember the path that helped you get to where you are today. Riding is a sport that takes a large amount of people for a pair to be successful. Behind your success is everyone who has helped you and given you opportunities. I’m so grateful for everyone who has supported me and my dreams!
Check out Gillian’s blogs, The Eventer’s Guide To: Sleeping on the Go at http://eventingnation.com/bloggers-row/the-eventers-guide-to-sleeping-on-the-go/ and Preparing for Polar Vortex 2! at http://eventingnation.com/bloggers-row/preparing-for-polar-vortex-2/.