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Because of Horses

Dec 14, 2018

In today’s episode, Elise talks with Denny Emerson, named by The Chronicle of the Horse as “one of the 50 most influential horsemen of the Twentieth Century.” Denny is the only rider to have won both an Olympic Gold Medal in Eventing and a Tevis buckle in Endurance. He has been inducted into the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Hall of Fame, awarded USEA’s Wofford Cup for lifetime service to Eventing, as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Riding Instructor Certification Program. He also served twice as the USEA’s President and as the United States Equestrian Team (USET) Vice President of Eventing for seven years.


Now, in his almost five decades of competing at the preliminary level (or higher), Denny Emerson is — without question — one of the horse world’s greats. He has worn many hats over the years: eventer, trainer, coach, author, leader, and activist. Throughout his phenomenal career, Denny has been a significant, influential force in the equestrian community.


And today, with Elise, he dives deep into what he would like his legacy in the horse world to be, some of the turning points in his career, his experience as an endurance rider and participating in the Tevis Cup, and gives his thoughts on what he believes the future may hold for young riders in the horse world.


Topics of Discussion:

[:19] About Elise’s guest today, Denny Emerson.

[1:24] What Denny would like his legacy in the horse world to be.

[2:48] Having been born in a non-equestrian family, what does Denny think drew him to horses so deeply?

[4:47] The pivotal experience that truly ignited his love for horses.

[7:28] Does Denny suppose that the very nature of having ridden in many disciplines has made him a particularly great rider?

[12:58] A pivotal horse in Denny’s early life: Cat.

[15:52] Another important horse in Denny’s life that led to a turning point in his career: Victor Dakin.

[19:59] About Denny’s book, How Good Riders Get GOOD, and his thoughts on how riders can significantly improve their skills.

[23:11] The critical importance of getting your hands on the horse and riding a lot of different horses.

[29:09] About Denny’s incredible instruction and lessons, and his approach to teaching.

[35:13] Elise tells a story about someone who has had a huge effect on her.

[36:36] What about endurance riding appeals to Denny, what makes a great endurance horse, and his experience competing in the Tevis Cup.

[47:25] About Elise’s book, A Parent’s Guide to Riding Lessons.

[48:05] What Denny believes the future may hold and the evolution of the horse world.

[53:53] Denny’s thoughts on the idea of riders aging out of the industry faster than new riders are getting introduced to the horse world.

[58:25] About next week’s episode of Because of Horses.

[59:10] Some suggestions for getting more young riders and their families fully immersed in the horse world.

[1:00:48] Denny’s final thoughts on some of the positive changes in the horse world.

[1:02:43] Where to learn more about Denny and what he is up to.


Know Someone Inspirational, Whose Life Has Been Forever Changed Because of Horses? Because of Horses would love to get to share their story!

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Mentioned in this Episode:

United States Eventing Association (USEA)

American Riding Instructors Association

United States Equestrian Team (USET)

Lone Ranger (radio show)

How Good Riders Get Good: Daily Choices That Lead to Success in Any Equestrian Sport,
by Denny Emerson

BOH Episode with Stacy Westfall

Know Better to Do Better: Mistakes I Made with Horses (So You Don't Have To),
by Denny Emerson

The Tevis Cup

A Parent’s Guide to Riding Lessons: Everything You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive with a Horse-Loving Kid, by Elise Chand

United States Pony Club

Next week’s episode of BOH

Tamarack Hill Farm’s Facebook Page

Denny Emerson’s Facebook Page

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