3 Reasons Why Jumping Skybreaker Makes Me Smile

Have you ever met a special horse who inspired you to become a more confident rider? Lila Gendal shares her story.

Top photo: Skybreaker a week ago making me smile!

From Lila:

Believe it or not, confidence does not come naturally for me. I am a little bit of a worrier, a definite control freak, and I grew up being slightly terrified of jumping. Of course I was more afraid to speak to someone than I was of jumping, but nevertheless, my confidence over fences didn’t magically appear overnight.

The biggest shift came when I started riding at Tamarack Hill Farm. I gained an incredible amount of knowledge and got the opportunity to start riding some really cool horses. Again, none of this happened within 24 hours but rather has developed slowly over time. The next thing I know… see picture above. This is my life now and I wouldn’t change it for a million dollars.

One horse in particular — Skybreaker — has made me a more confident jumper, and here’s why!

1. Mister Casual! Quite honestly I had no idea that Skybreaker, a hefty 16.2-hand Selle Luxembourg with Quidam de Revel as his grandsire, was my type of horse. I didn’t start riding Skybreaker until a couple years ago and thought what a big galumph when I first saw him! He looked so slow, lazy, and hard to motivate. Well, little did I know, this horse has all the qualities I could ever want in a horse. He is personable. He is incredibly forgiving. He is relaxed. He is unbelievably athletic and he is incredibly sane. Having a horse that casually jumps 4’11” is an incredible feeling. His laid-back personality feeds my confidence, which I would have never known if I hadn’t started riding him.

more smiling

More smiling…

2) He’s hilarious. This horse, in my opinion, is one of the most stunning creatures I have ever laid eyes on. He sometimes will act a little sassy. He will occasionally throw a “yippee” type of buck in warm-up. He is like a teenage boy. He sometimes acts like he knows it all, but deep down he is a sensitive and sweet soul. He truly makes me laugh. Even when I accidentally bury him to a 4-foot oxer, he just quietly, but decidedly jumps up and over, like no big deal.

and I'm still smiling!

…and I’m still smiling!

3) “Why is everyone so intense?” Like I mentioned, I am a bit of a control freak who, at times, can become slightly frantic and intense. This horse reminds me that there’s NOTHING that requires such intensity, not even a 4’6” airy vertical. Skybreaker is one cool horse. He can quietly canter to a huge combination and jump it with his eyes half-closed and yawning. He is so sure of himself and exudes confidence when jumping. Translation: Now I feel incredibly confident jumping.

What horse has given you confidence and why?

My name is Lila Gendal and I am 27 years old. I am from Vermont and have been riding horses since I was 6 years old. I have been eventing since I was 10. I have been riding and training with Denny Emerson for the last 7 years. My goal is to compete at the upper levels someday. I currently have a 2005 Holsteiner mare, “Valonia” (Contester X Parlona), who is currently going training level, and I am riding one of Denny Emerson’s horses, a 2005 Selle Luxemburg gelding, “Beaulieu’s Cool Skybreaker” (Beaulieu’s Coolman X Une Beaute by Heartbreaker) who will be moving up to training soon! When I am not on a horse or in the barn I am likely working in my office on what I like to call Equine Media… or social media for equestrians and equestrian websites.

V king oak 4 (1)


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