BY SUSAN WINSLOW
The past three years have been a whirlwind of excitement for 17 year-old Caroline Bradley of Lubbock, Texas. Although she has always loved horses and ridden since the age of five, the daughter of Dr. Jason Bradley and his wife, Anne, was so green to big-time showing that when she won her first significant title, an AQHA Level 1 Championship in Youth Working Hunter with Envy This One in 2015, she didn’t even know what a victory lap was. Since then, she has become quite accustomed to that time-honored tradition and is racking up even more titles.
In 2016, Caroline won Level 2 second place titles in Youth Working Hunter and Youth Equitation Over Fences. She was also the 2017 All American Quarter Horse Congress Champion in Youth Hunter Hack 14-18. She was the 2017 Reserve World Champion in Youth Equitation Over Fences at the NSBA World Show and holds the Reserve NSBA Champion Year End award in Youth Hunter Hack. This past summer, she won Level 2 Working Hunter at the AQHA Youth World and finished with Top Ten finishes in all Level 3 Over Fence classes with two different horses.
Riding with David Miller and Scott Jones out of Showstring in Boerne, TX, Caroline is thriving on the challenge and excitement of competing at an elite level. Despite her meteoric rise to World Champion status, she has maintained a refreshing love of the horse, the sport, and the dues she has paid to get there. David Miller has high praise for his young rider. He says, “Caroline is one of the most caring and compassionate junior exhibitors we’ve ever coached. Her drive and love for our sport is only eclipsed by her true passion for her horses and fellow competitors. She loves to make friends at the horse shows and never loses sight of the importance of sportsmanship and good old-fashioned fun! Her successes have come quickly in our world, but she remains very true to her solid work ethic and desire to improve upon every ride and every show.”
Caroline’s mother, Anne, laughs when she recalls a recent show when she stopped in the stabling area to check on the horses after an evening hospitality event. She recalls, “There was Caroline, in her fancy dress, with the pitchfork and muck bucket, cleaning out her horse’s stall. But that’s just who she is.” Anne describes her family’s introduction to the horse world by saying, “We were not a horsey family. My husband and I didn’t know anything about horses when Caroline said she wanted to take riding lessons. We signed her up at a local farm when she was five years old, and we thought it was so cute that she had this passing fancy for ponies. Twelve years later… here we are!” Caroline is just as mystified about the origin of her passion for horses, but she has never doubted it. “From as long as I can remember, I just loved horses,” Caroline says. “I don’t know where it came from, but it was just always there. I’m so grateful my parents have supported and encouraged me. From the beginning, I wanted to ride and jump. Here in Lubbock, there’s a lot of Western Riding and rodeo, but not a lot of English. I appreciate those disciplines; but, from the beginning, I loved hunters and jumpers for their elegance and athleticism.”Click here to read the complete article