Today we had the chance to talk with the Wellington based professional show jumper Rileigh Tibbott. She owns and operates her farm, Tibbott Equestrian. Born in a small town in Pennsylvania, Rileigh moved to Florida to pursue her passion of riding right after high school. She has had great success in upper level jumping as well as the development of young horses. She is also a successful polo player and simply just enjoys being around horses.
- How long have you been riding?
I have been riding horses since I could walk. I started out trail riding as a child and instantly fell in love with the sport. I became a professional in 2017. It hasn’t been an easy journey but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
2. What discipline(s) do you ride? Do you have a favorite?
I do the jumpers and also play polo. My business is all aimed towards the jumpers, mostly buying and selling imports from Europe but my favorite pastime is most definitely playing polo.
3. What is the most difficult part of owning your own business?
The most difficult part is being away from my family. I have lived on my own in Florida for about 6 years now but being away from them never gets easier. Also having the self discipline to do what I have to do and have proper time management skills is essential.
4. Tell us more about your horse! Height/age/breed/quirks?
I currently have quite a few horses but my horse of a lifetime is Charley. He is a 13 year old warmblood by Numero Uno. I have had him for about 4 years and he has taken my career to places I only had dreamed of. When I got him he was most definitely very temperamental. After a lot of work and time to get to know each other he eventually showed up to the 3* level with me. His biggest quirk is his fear of water. I am always having to school liverpools before shows and make sure that he is in the right frame of mind.
5. What inspired you to start your own horse business? How long have you had it?
My grandfather is my biggest inspiration when it comes to business. He always believed in my riding ability and did what he could to make sure I could be successful. I knew at a very young age that I would always want to have horses in my life. I have had my business for about 3 years now. It is definitely the most challenging thing I have ever done but every year I learn more and grow and I am forever thankful I took the risk.
6. What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part about my job is seeing the growth in my horses and clients. There honestly is nothing better than seeing something I was a part of succeed. Most importantly selling horses that go on to be successful with their new owners.
7. I love seeing all of the places that you travel to! Where are you looking forward to visiting most this year?
My absolute favorite place to go is the Kentucky Horse Park. The show venue is so amazing and the people are so kind. I really feel as though the horses benefit so much from being there because it is so natural for them and not like a regular show. They can go gallop around the fields on their day off and just be normal horses.
8. What tips can you provide to someone who is wanting to start their own horse business?
My advice is take your time and understand what you are getting into. You have to be aware that your riding and personal career will most likely be put to the side while you focus on getting your business organized and up and running. It will all be worth it in the end though!
9. Do you have any plans to show this year?
Yes! I plan on going to Ocala, Kentucky, and possibly Tryon with a group of my horses and a few client horses.
10. How do you deal with overcoming the injuries you have sustained while riding?
The injuries are the hardest part of the sport. It really is a mental game. The horses can most definitely feel if you are nervous so you always have to make sure you are confident in your decisions. Getting back on is the most important thing.
11. When you are not riding, what are you doing?
I really enjoy music so I like to play guitar and be around people I care about. I also really love modeling which has recently become a passion of mine.
12. What is your advice for young riders hoping to start their career in show jumping?
My advice is follow your dreams and believe in yourself. It’s something that is said so often but couldn’t be more true. I never would have imagined the life I am living but determination goes a long way and hard work truly does pay off even if it takes years to show.
13. If you weren’t a show jumper, what would you be?
My dream as a kid was always to be a large animal vet. I learned how to give horses IVs when I was about 12 and totally fell in love with what the vets do.