A/A SPOTLIGHT: Dylan Ryan


What is your day job?

I am a recent graduate currently looking for jobs in the field of cognitive science and speech-language pathology. I also do odd jobs around the barn and manage the front counter at my dad’s sporting goods store to help offset barn costs.


How many years did you train for your day job?

4 years at Occidental College. I majored in Cognitive Science, with minors in Linguistics and French.


How old are you?

21


How do you fit in riding and competing?

I was very fortunate to be able to ride while at college. I tried to sign up for courses where I had large blocks of time between classes in order to make it out to the barn. I’ve been lucky these last few years with my drive to the barn being only about 15 minutes, making it easy to get rides in before or after work if need be. As for competing, I have an idea at the beginning of the year of how many shows I’ll be able to attend, so I pick out a few target shows and use those to form my training schedule.


Interesting tidbit about yourself?

I am very lucky to have connected with event trainers Mark and Mimi Combs on the east coast a number of years ago. I have gone to ride with them a number of times now, during which I learn the ropes of dressage and cross country. It has really helped round out my riding skills as well as introduce me to a great new community.


What is your horse’s name?

I am incredibly grateful to have three horses. I had a 31-year-old thoroughbred, Wise Guy, who just recently passed away. My jumpers are Rapid Transit, aka Bart, and Zaccheaus Z, aka Z. I’ve had Bart since 2016 and have competed through the 1.25m on him. Bart absolutely loves his job, is lightning fast, and would likely jump the fences without me. Z is new to the family and I’m hoping to step up to the 1.30-1.40m on him in the future. It’s been really fun getting to know him and start really advancing my skills. My hunter/eq horse is Mirror Image, aka Louie. He had to step down

from the bigger hunters so now I give my dad lessons on him.



Your biggest accomplishment in the ring?

My biggest accomplishment in the ring is building a relationship with my horses. When I first got Bart I couldn’t stop or steer him hardly at all. He sort of just dragged me around the ring once we started jumping. It took about 8 months before we really clicked, but since then we have basically been unstoppable. I finally got him to trust that I know what I’m doing (most of the time) and we now have this great bond where I can ride him bareback with a neck rope then turn around and win a 1.20m speed class. I think he’s just happy someone took the time to understand all of his quirks and I love him even more because of them.


Your biggest accomplishment in life?

Pursuing my academic career while maintaining a quality riding schedule has been an absolute dream. I had a great experience at school where I really discovered my passion for the brain, and I’ve met so many fantastic people through horses that have been very supportive. I feel very fortunate to have formed these relationships that I can rely on as I move into the next stage of my life.


Advice to other Adult Amateurs?

It can feel frustrating to not progress as quickly as you want and it’s easy to forget why you are riding in the first place. I grew up thinking that every ride needed to bring me closer to my competition goals and maintain my horse’s fitness. I am now realizing that having quality rides that give you or your horse a mental break are just as important. Your horse doesn’t know what your show goals are, he’s just happy to see you each day. Going out just to spend time with your horse or riding with no specific goal in mind is okay. Don’t forget why you love horses or riding in the first place, a lot

of it has to do with simply spending quality time with your horse, in or out of the saddle.