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Ask Nicole Bellissimo: How did you know that you wanted to ride at a higher level?

Ask Nicole Bellissimo: How did you know that you wanted to ride at a higher level?
Thanks for your question, Lily! From a very young age, I realized I wanted to ride at a higher level and have an equestrian business. However, when I was a junior, I really struggled with my nerves in the ring and would make a lot of frustrating mistakes and struggled a lot with my confidence. When I was 18, I purchased a 6 year old mare, who completely changed the sport for me. She was a bit difficult and very feisty, but I developed a connection with her that allowed me to trust her completely, and in turn, have confidence in myself as a rider. We grew together and moved up the ranks, and as she got older we had a lot of success at the FEI level. From that point, I began to believe that I could do show jumping for a living. More than just competing at a higher level (which I do love), I am addicted to the process of bringing along a young horse to a higher level. I love working with them and take so much pride in their gradual progress. Showing with them at the FEI level when they are ready is really just a bonus!

Nicole