Jacqulyn Laraway, a 22-year old working student with Poulsen Dressage, first started riding at East Hill Farm in 2016 as part of a year-long high school project to learn a new skill.
“I rode Crumble under the instruction of [East Hill Farm instructor and Poulsen Dressage Assistant Trainer] Emilie Goddard once a week from 2016-2017,” explained Jacqulyn, a native of Randolph, Vermont.
At the end of her senior year in high school, she demonstrated her new skill by riding an unofficial Introductory Test A judged by [EHF co-owner and co-founder] Kathie Moulton. While she fell in love with dressage during that year of learning, she took several years off from horseback riding to pursue her undergraduate degree.
Originally studying to be a math teacher at University of New Hampshire (UNH), she quickly realized that her inspiration did not lay in classroom teaching and she switched to an Equine Studies: Equine Science major.
However, just like everybody else in 2020, COVID-19 happened and Jacqulyn original plans for her senior year of university got tossed out the window!
Looking at a semester in isolation on campus or online from home, she made other plans.
“I applied and got into the six-month-long Kentucky Equine Management Internship,” said Jacqulyn. She credited this position with exponentially improving her ability to work with and handle horses on the ground.
As spring semester approached and remembering her connections at East Hill Farm, she reached out to Emilie Goddard to ask about a working student position, and the stars aligned!
Jackie and her ability to absorb information and how quickly she can-amazes me! Jackie joined us in December in Florida this past winter and she was a welcome addition.
The horses and clients love her and her hands on experience this winter will send her ahead for her last year at UNH for her degree in Equine Science and Management.Ruth Hogan-Poulsen
“The day my internship ended in Kentucky, I drove to Florida and started working for Ruth and Emilie at Bespoke Farm on December 6th, 2020. I’ve been working for Ruth since, and I intend to stay until my last school year comes around!”
As a working student, one of the perks of the job is that Jacqulyn regularly receives riding lessons from Ruth Hogan-Poulsen or Assistant Trainer Emilie Goddard.
While some of Ruth’s working students ride their own horses, many join Team Poulsen solo and ride Ruth’s and East Hill Farm’s reliable stable of schoolmaster and lesson horses.
In Jacqulyn’s case, she is grateful for the patience and ability of Trish Sawyer’s amazing Grand Prix schoolmaster Ravel a 21-year-old PRE Andalusian gelding, whom Jacqulyn had the privilege to ride throughout the Florida season.
In Vermont this summer, Jacqulyn continues to ride Ravel as well as her old friend Crumble and Rudy.
A self-described beginner rider who hadn’t ridden in several years, Jacqulyn is particularly grateful for the patience and knowledge of both instructors.
“I used to be so nervous when I knew it was Ruth teaching me because I didn’t want to disappoint her,” stated Jacqulyn. It can be intimidating to be a new rider and take lessons from such an accomplished rider and coach! “But Ruth never once made me feel bad for being a beginner… She knows how to boost my confidence just the right way and gets me to stop overthinking.”
“Yes, I had some general knowledge but mostly I started over [with learning to ride],” she admitted. “I mean, the relearn ‘how to move my elbows’ type of starting over! There were some super basic lessons on the lunge line first with Emilie!”
She feels like she’s taken huge steps in her riding education in the months since she joined Team Poulsen as a working student.
“Emilie has taught me so much and is so incredibly patient watching me make the same mistakes over and over and just continuing to calmly instruct me on any correction.”
On June 6, 2021, Jacqulyn rode Abercrombie in Introductory Test B in her first show ever, earning a 70.7%!
Interested in an internship or working student position with Ruth Hogan-Poulsen? Follow Ruth @BespokeFarm on Facebook and subscribe to her newsletter to hear when openings come available! Read More Staff Stories.