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Joyride's Elodie Watrous in the News

A Year of Planning Pays off for Joyride's Elodie Watrous

Elodie and Paper Trail at GLEF 2023. Photo By Meg Gehron.

Wilmette, IL - August 2, 2023 - Qualifying for the Devon Horse Show by being in the top 20 in the country was no small feat for 16-year-old Elodie Watrous (Wilmette, IL/Wellington, FL). Thanks to a well-planned program for both Watrous and her horses, the young junior rider was able to pilot her 11-year-old warmblood hunter, Paper Trail, to top ribbons against the country's best junior riders and horses.

Watrous took on the Devon Oval and landed top ribbons with a third place in the Small Junior Hunters 15 & Under Handy and a fifth place in the Stake class. Demonstrating her consistency, thanks to the program, she again, claimed top placings at the USEF Junior Hunter Finals in Traverse City, MI, taking home a third place ribbon in the Overall Small Junior Hunter 3’6" 15 & Under.

For the team that supports this stunning pair, the outcome was not a surprise, rather, it was the result of a year of meticulous planning and execution. "I was so excited to compete at Devon and the Junior Hunter Finals and walk away with great ribbons," said Watous. "I've been working hard with my team at Messenger Hill Farm to be able to show at these events and do really well. My horse is amazing and everything just came together for us!"

“Of course, when you are dealing with living, breathing animals, even the best-laid plans can fail," said trainer and program planner Jodi Vazquez. "Horses are not robots, any number of roadblocks can jump up into your path but we started pointing Elodie and her horses toward these big tracks back in January and made plans for every contingency along the way.”

Messenger Hill’s boutique approach to training and showing has created success stories for many of their clients. In Watrous' case:

  1. Small Client-to-Trainer Ratio - With four trainers (all of whom ride and compete themselves at National and International levels) spread over two locations and every horse show in between, the pair was able to train for half of the year in Wellington, FL, at the Winter Equestrian Festival and at home in Chicago, IL, anytime she needed to there for school or personal reasons. No matter where she needed to be, she didn’t have to put training on hold.

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