I can’t wait to compete at the Washington Horse Show this year! I’m happy to answer questions you have http://www.wihs.org/

Proof: https://twitter.com/wihs/status/1050885316855377921

Comments: 274 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

Sometimesiworry64 karma

I often hear ”it’s the horse doing the work” How do you respond to this?

Adriennesternlicht108 karma

In order to compete at a high level, you need a talented horse who is responsive and eager to do his/her job. That being said, its a team effort - a horse cannot do it without his/her rider and vice versa. I'd say its more about building a relationship with your animal than letting him/her "do the work."

Sometimesiworry36 karma

In my childhood there was never the economic posibility for me to have picked up horse riding, even if i had wanted to. How do you view this problem? With children not even being able to play football because of expenses.

Adriennesternlicht4 karma

The economic obstacles in our sport are higher than most, especially when competing at a high level. That being said, many top professionals have reached the pinnacle of the sport through hard work and determination, like anything else.

NinetyDolphions28 karma

Is horse abuse still a common thing?

Adriennesternlicht17 karma

It's not common in our industry but unfortunately animal abuse is a pervasive issue that is impossible to completely eradicate.

KestrelLowing21 karma

The dog training world has fairly recently (in the last 10-20 years) gone through a fairly major change in that positive reinforcement/reward based training is becoming more and more the norm.

Has anything like this happened in the horse world?

Also, I've heard that horses don't really know their own names. Is this just a load of crap?

Adriennesternlicht24 karma

I dont know much about dog training, but I'd say there has been a bit of evolution in our training system, as all sports evolve over time. Id say horses are no different than dogs in this respect, they know the pitch of your voice rather than knowing their names. All my horses know my voice and are very responsive when I enter the barn.

youdontknowjacques16 karma

I’ve been riding since I was 8 years old and have always been a somewhat anxious rider, lacking in confidence. For some reason, I still manage to love horses and riding regardless.

Have you ever grappled with your own fear/anxiety/self-doubt as a rider? Any advice for those who are held back by their own lack of confidence?

Adriennesternlicht24 karma

Yes I have, absolutely!! It took me a while to figure out how to manage it, I really had to find a way to shift my focus inward. I'd say to first recognize that there is nothing holding you back but instead a narrative that you've subconsciously decided to take on yourself that you don't have self-confidence. Once you realize that there is no truth to you not feeling good enough, its pretty freeing!

ihearttombrady11 karma

Another question -

I think I saw that both you and your mentor McLain Ward will be competing next weekend in the Prix de Penn National. How do you feel to be competing against McLain, instead of as teammates?

Adriennesternlicht18 karma

We are always on the same team, no matter what the format of the competition is. I appreciate that he will never let me win and vice versa, we are both pushing each other to be at our best, as that sort of mentality will make us most successful long term.

travelgalhere11 karma

How many competitions do you do a year - how big the commitment?

Adriennesternlicht25 karma

I compete around 25 weeks a year, give or take. Its a 24/7 sport, there is always something to be done around the barn, where we ride 6 days a week and we are on the road a lot!

NoVAfamilyfun9 karma

Will you be competing during Barn Night? Can you give us a preview of your costume?

Adriennesternlicht47 karma

I think so!!! My plan is to be Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she's always been a hero of mine!!

vfrbub9 karma

I don't know how to ask this delicately, but what is the earnings range for a rider of your caliber? It seems like competetive show jumping may be harder to earn a living at than playing in the NFL.

Adriennesternlicht13 karma

The minimum average salary in the NFL is more than what probably 95% of show jumping professionals make in a year. That being said, the prize money at the top level is improving. Most professionals make a good portion of their living through buying and selling horses, or training clients.

smiljan8 karma

Do professional horse athletes own their horses, or is it some kind of team arrangement where the team's ownership buys the horses, stables, equipment, and selects riders to pair with the horses like in racing?

Adriennesternlicht18 karma

Most professional riders either own their horses, or have sponsors who own the horses, often through a syndicate.

eride68 karma

What's your favorite thing about Cristalline? What's her barn name? :)

Adriennesternlicht22 karma

Her barn name is Stella! I dont know that I can pick one quality of hers, she's pretty perfect in every way. Probably that she always rolls when you hand walk or graze her, its pretty funny :)

ihearttombrady8 karma

How do you handle nerves before you begin a course? Do you ever deal with nerves on course? I find that (especially in competition) if I am riding a would-be spot on round, I often feel my nerves building and end up missing my distance or making some other silly mistake just before the last fence. Any advice to help me stay relaxed?

Adriennesternlicht25 karma

I have a pre-competition routine that includes meditation (Headspace app) and going for a long run (before competing on an important day), and sticking to this routine very closely has helped me enormously. Routines provide comfort more than anything else. I used to often have rails at the end of the course, I would shift my focus to thinking "oh good I'm clear" or "one fence away" while I was still on course. Its not that these thoughts are bad, but they represent a shift in focus. I now think about maintaining my focus "throughout and beyond", as in beyond the last jump, and that has helped me enormously.

mnbutler8 karma

If someone isn't into show jumping, what is the one thing you'd say to them to get people psyched to watch some show jumping?

Adriennesternlicht14 karma

Watching top level show jumping is like watching any high level sport - you're seeing the best of the best and thats always fun to watch!!

flamsk748 karma

Hi! Did you compete in the FEI World Equestrian Games last month in Tryon, NC? If not, is there a difference between what you're doing in Washington vs the World Equestrian Games?


Adriennesternlicht11 karma

hi! Yes I did, it was an amazing experience! I am bringing a different horse to Washington than I rode at WEG, his name is Fantast :)

lurking_digger7 karma

Hello, thank you for your time!

What are some strengths in various horse breeds you've observed?

Adriennesternlicht11 karma

Warmbloods tend to have a lot of natural ability and possess the various qualities of a top show jumping horse (carefulness, intelligence, well-balanced) , so we typically ride warmbloods in competition.

Kilofix6 karma

My wife and I run a farm and we have horses but I actually know next to nothing about show jumping. What do you look for in a horse for show jumping, how early do you need to train it and was it difficult finding the right horse?

Adriennesternlicht10 karma

When Im looking for a horse I look for a horse that is athletic, well-balanced, intelligent, and naturally careful, i.e. doesnt want to hit the fences. Typically show jumpers begin to be ridden under saddle around the age of 3, and then start competing as 5 year olds. It is very difficult to find the right horse!! Professionals often have 1 or 2 horses that stand out in their careers as "horses of a lifetime," it is a career long pursuit!

Iloveanimals88336 karma

When did you start riding and competing? Do you have a favorite childhood memory with a horse?

Adriennesternlicht10 karma

I started riding when I was 6 and competing when I was 9. My family has never been involved with horses so my first time riding was at a play date with Sydney Shulman, she had a horse in her backyard and I refused to get off :)

travelgalhere6 karma

What is the best part of competing in WIHS?

Adriennesternlicht13 karma

Being in the capital city!! The crowd has so much energy and its really neat to compete in the Capitol One Arena where so many other high level sports competitions are held.

highaboveyou125 karma

When you first got serious about riding, was it always a goal to get to this level or did you surprise yourself?

Adriennesternlicht9 karma

I always dreamed of it but it seemed very far off to get to the level I'm at now. I think a lot of things have to fall into place but I was always willing to commit in whatever way necessary to get here.

workingtrot5 karma

What's your out of the saddle fitness routine? What's your favorite exercise for a horse that rushes fences and/or gets sloppy?

Adriennesternlicht10 karma

I do a lot of cardio and yoga. I love to run, and I work out with a trainer as well. I like a gymnastics exercise of 3 verticals in a rail, with a 9 foot rail at the vertical coming in. Each vertical should be 21 feet apart and a pole in between each fence as well :)

NoVAfamilyfun5 karma

What advice can you give kids just starting competing?

Adriennesternlicht15 karma

Be patient and trust the process! I think its really easy to see what others are doing and want to move up the levels quickly, but I'd say trust your trainer and work on developing foundational skills that are very important the further you get in the sport.

ruinevil2 karma

Are show jumpers small people like racing jockeys?

Adriennesternlicht1 karma

Nope! While its important to stay fit for the horses, there are no weight restrictions in show jumping as there are for jockeys.

WMU_FTW2 karma

Do you ever compete in the 3-Day Event shows, or strictly Show Jumping?
If 3-Day is a yes, check out Chardon Valley Farms in Decatur, Michigan: USEA sanctioned up to Training. Hoping to expand to Prelim soon.

Adriennesternlicht5 karma

Hi! Only show jumping!! I've played polo a bit and done dressage but never competed in 3-day shows. Eventing looks like so much fun, I hope to try it sometime soon

DeadGuy9402 karma

I think show-jumping is cool, but know nothing about it. I can ride and that's about it. So, do the horses do "work-outs" like in racing? Do the riders have work-outs? Do you have to starve yourself to stay light?

Adriennesternlicht13 karma

In regards to racing, its different in that respect. We are not like jockeys, we dont have to weigh 118 lbs including tack. It is important that show jumping riders stay fit, however. I do a lot of cardio and yoga and ride my horses 6 days a week

chuckaholic1 karma

I do work for Haras Dos Cavaleiros in Magnolia TX. Have you competed at one of their shows?

Adriennesternlicht1 karma

No I have not!

LangerJan1 karma

As a german speaker, I must say: That‘s a beautiful surname you have there! Do you know anything about the origins?

Adriennesternlicht2 karma

Thank you! Yes my last name means Starlight, which is why my farm is called Starlight Farms :)

Shaggy_Frogfish1 karma

Have you ever competed at Spruce Meadows in Calgary?

Adriennesternlicht1 karma

Yes! Its an amazing venue, its one of my favorite shows of the year.

Emranotkool1 karma

Is there such a thing as horse drugging, pro or anti as in helping horse or making horse ill? I know that many sports deal with doping.. is this an issue in your sport?

Adriennesternlicht1 karma

I'd say doping isnt a major issue in our sport because the sport is highly regulated (particulary at the top level). When horses are competing in international competitions, they live in a barn that is monitored 24/7, as are the people who come in and out of these areas.

the_dude_imbibes1 karma

Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?

Guessing the duck, cuz, y'know...

Adriennesternlicht2 karma

duck sized horses :)

Atomicblonde1 karma

Cross-training seems to be strongly on the rise with top riders. Reed Kessler seems to do boxing, Ellen Doughty-Hume swears by crossfit, etc. What do you do to cross train?

Adriennesternlicht2 karma

I run a lot, I do a lot of cardio and yoga. I just started boxing which I think is really fun! I used to play squash competitively so I do that a bit as well :)

chips151 karma

How do you handle the drama associated with the sport? Does it improve or get worse as you become a higher level competitor? I grew up barrel racing but moved to mounted shooting to get away from the bad atmosphere.

Adriennesternlicht1 karma

I think at the highest level, the sport is more pure in a lot of ways. People are less concerned with the drama that's definitely prevalent in some areas. I really try to stick to myself when I'm competing, I try to compartmentalize and keep my social life a bit separate from riding. That's probably been the easiest way for me to remove myself from anything toxic.

TalkingBackAgain1 karma

Adrienne, what drew you to riding horses?

What have you not yet achieved in horse riding that you would still want to do?

Have you ever fallen off of a horse and how dangerous is it really?

Be safe out there, Adrienne!

Adriennesternlicht2 karma

I think the horse bug is somewhat genetic, I've always been drawn to them. I really want to go to the Olympics in Tokyo, so that is my next big goal. Yes I've fallen off many times and broken many bones, it is definitely dangerous!

TacosaladMonkey1 karma

Did you compete at the World Equestrian Games? If so, what did you think? If not..well what do you think about them anyway? I work on the production team at the venue that hosted them, so im curious about what people think!

Adriennesternlicht1 karma

Yes I did! I thought the venue was great for show jumping. The courses were excellent, the footing was super and the atmosphere was great as an American competitor!

fuzzydice_821 karma

How would you encounter someone If you just found out that this person tortured or drugged his/her horse to win a competition? ( Also, i dig your last name, it's "Starlight" in german)

Adriennesternlicht1 karma

At the top level, the horses are highly regulated when competing so its fairly unlikely that this would happen!

UnicornsRMyDrug1 karma

How long of a break will Cristalline have now after WEG? When will you show her again?

Adriennesternlicht1 karma

She is off for the rest of the year unless I get into Geneva, in which case she will compete in Paris and Geneva :)

Bugs_on_the_train1 karma

Do you happen to know what your surname means in German?

Starlight. Such a beautiful name...

Adriennesternlicht1 karma

Thank you! That's why my farm is called Starlight Farms :)