I look at my years working with horses, and stories like Julia’s remind me how much beyond horse training is happening at the farm.
I feel so blessed to have grown up in a barn like East Hill Farm and to have been able to nurture this same environment at Bespoke Farm, building friendships and lifelong connections as we work, ride and train alongside each other.Ruth Hogan-Poulsen
Equine professionals take many paths to build their careers. Learn more about Julia’s career path so far as she joins Ruth as a working student this season!
Julia McIntyre, a 27-year old from Orange, Vermont, first started riding with Ruth Hogan-Poulsen 15 plus years ago.
This winter season (2021-22), Julia has joined Team Poulsen as a working student at Bespoke Farm in Loxahatchee Florida. Working closely with the rest of the barn staff, Julia provides daily care to the dressage horses while also developing her own young horse.
As Ruth tells it, Julia grew up riding at East Hill Farm (EHF) since she was 10 or so. Her first pony, a paint mare named Twinkie, is now in her 20s and still teaching lessons at EHF.
“It’s such a pleasure to have seen Julia growing up with Twinkie, then her dressage horse Coast and now training up her own young horse Willow in tandem with her mom,” shared Ruth.
Julia’s credits her love of dressage (and her success as a junior rider) to her teen years working for Ruth at EHF.
“The freestyle Ruth created for me to ride at the Children of the Americas Dressage Invitational (CADI) is still (12 years later) one of my favorite pieces of music,” reminisced Julia of her championship-winning ride. “It’s my favorite horse show memory.”
Looking back on her years growing up at East Hill Farm, Julia emphasizes that Ruth and the grownups at the farm taught her so much more than just how to ride a successful dressage test.
“Through my teenage years, they taught me about positive work ethic, professionalism, management skills, self-confidence and respect (for horses, clients, and each other!) All these life skills have proven to serve me well through school and jobs thereafter.”
Returning to Riding as an Adult
After taking a break from riding and training for a few years during college and early career opportunities, Julia discovered that she missed riding and her time at the barn more than she could have imagined.
“I couldn’t stay away any longer! My mother [lifelong rider Sarah Field] and I bought my now-7-year-old Hanoverian × Arabian mare, Willow, as a 2 year old with the goal of having an all-purpose adult amateur horse for us to share – I would ride Willow in the ring, and Mom could trail ride.”
Ruth’s coaching along with assistant trainer Emilie Goddard’s help have been irreplaceable in developing my young horse, Willow.Julia McIntyre
Ruth’s calm, encouraging, and supportive coaching style has been a particular boon while helping Julia bring along her young horse.
“I admire the way Ruth patiently works towards figuring out what is best for me and my horse. No matter how tough of a ride I felt as though I had, Ruth is always helps pull out the positive and is continually coming up with creative ways in which to help solve struggles and reach goals.”
The First Winter in Florida
During a riding lesson last summer, Ruth repeated her invitation to Julia to join Team Poulsen in Florida.
“I could hardly believe it when I said yes to joining her! An experience I have been dreaming about since I was 12 years old coming true!” exclaimed Julia.
“My mom will get her chance to ride Willow someday, but for now, Willow and I are enjoying our time and learning with Team Poulsen in Florida.”
In addition to her daily work at Bespoke Farm, Julia also has been making time to volunteer at the nearby handicapped and para riding program this winter season.
“You can’t find a more loyal, sweet and intelligent young woman to be part of the team,” Ruth said as she described bringing Julia onto the team at Bespoke Farm this winter.
“Julia’s instincts and horsemanship as well as her talent on top of a horse are evident every day.”
An experienced hand, Julia still finds the focused atmosphere of the Florida training barn really ramping up her horsemanship as well as training skills.
“In just my first month at Bespoke Farm, I have already seen progress in my horse as I learn new information daily.”
Gifted with a copy of Ruth’s Dressage Rider’s Journal at the start of the season, Julia has been keeping track of her progress and lesson notes, not wanting to forget these valuable nuggets of information that she’s picking up every day!
While Julia is being immersed in the focused equestrian energy of the greater Wellington Florida area this season, she’s personally staying focused on keeping her young horse Willow happy and interested in her ring work and hopefully working on a new musical freestyle one day soon!
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.