The San Mateo High School senior and her horse, Lorelei, have qualified to ride in the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, to be held Nov. 3, in Syracuse, N.Y. The national event is held annually at the prestigious Syracuse Invitational Sporthorse Tournament. Past Maclay finalists have gone on to become Olympians and top international riders. James, 17, has been riding since age 6 and trains at Round Meadow Farm in Atherton.
How important is it to compete well at this tournament? I would like to do well and show off my riding skills and how well I can ride. But making it this far was my goal. Now the focus is having fun. I want to do my best to represent Northern California.
Do you have ambitions of competing in the Olympics? I do. I think that would be an excellent goal to achieve. But I’m going to go to college first. I’m not sure if I will keep riding through college. I want to have the full college experience. I haven’t decided what I want to do yet. Concentration on riding may be in the summer. My parents made it clear to stay in college.
Equestrians often have the image of coming from great wealth. Does this stereotype fit you? The stereotype doesn’t fit me. I’ve only ever had one horse and have never had a new saddle. I worked at another barn to help pay the costs to compete. Although some of the other riders might come from wealthier backgrounds, I never feel looked down upon. It’s a nice community of people.
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