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Nicole Bellissimo

Bellissimo certainly rings a bell to you, and it’s not by chance. From Wellington Equestrian Festival to Tryon World Equestrian Games, the Bellissimo family is deeply linked to the greatest of American equestrian sports. This week, we receive Nicole Bellissimo, who is immersed in a family equestrian culture since her childhood, and is shining on the showjumping circuit.

Hey Coleen!

I do not follow any kind of diet in particular. I have a really bad sweet tooth, so I try to cancel that out with cooking very healthy whenever I can! I am all about moderation, but I also try to remember that we are athletes and need to nourish our bodies accordingly.

Nicole

Hey Jodie!

I actually am not involved at all in the businesses my parents run. I solely focus on my equestrian business with my fiancé, Charlie Jayne.

Nicole

Hey Maddy!

Tough question! I think a quality of mine is my patience, especially with young horses. Our horses only know what we teach them, so if they are not understanding what we are asking, that means we are not communicating it well enough! I also like to take my time moving young horses up to the higher ranks, and I think it has really paid off. While I know I have many flaws, I think my biggest flaw is over analyzing during completions. I tend to stress myself out more than necessary!

Nicole

Hey Kessy!

I absolutely love cooking and I spend a lot of time experimenting with it. I also love exercising and getting outdoors, so I go hiking whenever I’m in an area where I am able to. I play basketball once a week in Wellington with a group of riders.

Nicole

Hey Connor!

I am currently competing 2 horses in the FEI division, a 12 year old stallion named Casino and a 10 year old mare named Jersey V.D. Hunters.

Nicole

Hey Molly!

I definitely want to stay in the US. I love traveling to Europe to visit, but definitely enjoy living here.

Nicole

Hey Linda!

A typical day is waking up at 6am, having breakfast, and heading to the barn. I am on my first horse at 7am and typically have 6-8 to ride, spending 45 minutes on each one. I take a lunch break around noon, and then head back to the barn to either finish riding or hand grazing the horses. I also love doing carrot stretches with them all in the afternoons. Then I go to the gym every weekday. I absolutely love cooking, so I make dinner for my fiancé and I after the gym. Then I typically read a book or watch a show, and we are asleep by 9:30!

Nicole

Hey James!

It is really incredible having your family wholeheartedly understand what you are most passionate about. I am extremely close with my mom and sister, who both ride, so whether I have a great day or terrible day at a competition, I can call them and discuss it. Also, I absolutely love when we have our horses in the same place and can all ride together and enjoy our horses as a family. The way in which horses have brought so much joy to our lives is something we can all share.

Nicole

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

Hey Brittany!

I really love working with ground rails and cavalettis to work on ride ability and suppleness. Some days, I will just set up three in a row at "normal" distances (depending how big the ring is, they may each be a normal 6 stride). Then I practice asking them to leave a stride out or add a stride. With the young horses, I will start with ground rails and advance them to cavalettis when I think they are ready. For a slightly more advanced exercise, I will put the ground rails/cavalettis in a circle, and work on adding/leaving out strides on the circle. The important thing for all exercises with young horses is to be very clear about what you are asking, but to make sure to have patience and never get upset with them for their greenness. Horses only know as much as WE teach them, so their understanding of the exercise is our responsibility. If they are not understanding it, there is something wrong in our aids and communication. If you are getting frustrated, just simplify the exercise by taking one element out until they can master just two rails. Lastly, recognize that any progress is progress and they should be rewarded for even very small improvements.

Nicole