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A Magical Louisville Debut



            The magic that is horses and the magic that is Freedom Hall has a way of bringing out the best in horses and people. Relationships are often solidified and enhanced in a way that is unique to the horse industry.

            Every parent wants their child to do well in whatever they do and there can be no more prideful moment than seeing your beautiful daughter master the green shavings with the horse that she loves so much and do it with an open and joyful heart.

            Sarah Tompkins had that prideful moment twice at the World’s Championship Horse Show as she watched daughter Salay ride Cabernet Girl to the Eight and Under Walk and Trot Reserve World’s Champion of Champions title after earning the reserve world’s championship in the qualifier earlier in the week.

            Sarah Tompkins has been teaching people to ride at Zubrod Stables for 18 years and she’s seen many of them achieve tremendous success in the show ring, whether at Louisville or elsewhere. Watching them translate those lessons into personal successes must be tremendously satisfying.

            None could be as satisfying however as watching her daughter emerge from the experience of Louisville with great ribbons and a great attitude.

            “Salay did everything I ever asked her to do,” said Sarah, speaking about Salay’s rides with Cabernet Girl. “She did such a great job handling the pressure.”

            Salay and Cabernet Girl only became a team in the Spring of this year and debuted at River Ridge where they were crowned the Walk and Trot Equitation 8 and Under Champions. KASPHA May Classic, Rock Creek, Lexington, ETSA Midsummer Classic followed and Salay earned a blue ribbon at each of those shows. At ETSA she was the walk and trot grand champion and champion for the 10 and under riders and at Lexington she won the 8 and under challenge cup then came back to be the 10 and under walk and trot reserve grand champion.

            “I’ve cried all year,” said Sarah, speaking about the successes of Salay and her mare in 2017. “When I was pregnant, I just wanted her to love horses. I wasn’t even dreaming yet of wins in the show ring.”

            When it came to the World’s Championship Horse Show, Sarah wanted to keep it like any other show for Salay, to lessen some of the pressure.

            “I knew I could give her a great foundation,” said Sarah, “but it wasn’t just me. It was the entire team at Zubrod Stables.”

            She added, “The stars have to align in addition to having to work hard and put in the time. Salay has definitely put in the time. She wants to ride every minute of every day and she definitely listens to me and respects me as an instructor. She respects adults and she has the best sportsmanship. She couldn’t wait to go meet Khloe Jankowics and congratulate her. There is a bigger picture here besides just the color of the ribbon.”

            When asked what she liked about equitation, Salay had this to say “I like equitation because it makes you a better rider. You have to look strong and ride your horse well.”

            “My goal for the rest of the season is to be able to work the bridle a little more and go to Kansas City.”

            The magic that is horses and the magic that is Freedom Hall led to a fantastic first Louisville for Salay Tompkins and Cabernet Girl and their future looks bright. For mom and instructor Sarah Tompkins the picture is so much bigger and her daughter couldn’t be more beautiful.

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