Jumper: Regan Denchfield

Town: Chevy Chase, Marlyand

Quote: “Not everyone can win National Titles, very few ever compete beyond local or regional level and only the especially fortunate ever make it on to the world stage but no who has ever sat in a saddle has lost.” – USEF, United States Equestrian Federation
Chevy Chase, MD

About Regan: I picked up skiing 3 years ago when my now fiancé (former vail mountain groomer) introduce me to the sport. The sport he is so passionate about. I will always cherish the gift of having learned from someone who is purely passionate and enthusiastic about that sport. While he was introducing me to the world of skiing that he is so consumed by, I showed him my equally consuming sport of horseback riding. At the time I had two horses of my own, Skyler a black and white pony and Bucky an Off The Track Thoroughbred that I have had since I was 14. When I started skiing my weeks consisted of school at the University of Maryland, riding my horses 5 days a week and trekking out to the slopes with Cory on the weekends. I believe that skiing and horse back riding can be related as far as understanding that while you are skiing or on a horse you are the smallest piece to the puzzle. Whether its standing at the top of your first run through the trees or sitting on a 1,100 pound beast, you are not in control, I now feel humbled every time I get to experience this.

When I first got Bucky in middle school I had no idea what was in store for me. I had been riding horses my whole life, but to say that my family or I had any idea what we were getting into would be an understatement. Bucky was by no means a walk in the park; in fact I don’t think he ever walked with me that first year that I owned him. My mom learned how to drive a horse trailer so she could take Bucky and me to competitions that we would consequently be eliminated from – because Bucky would jump out of the ring, with me on his back, and head back to the trailers. My goals when I first owned Bucky were to take him Novice level eventing, and eventually go Prelim with him. After a few months of owning him my goals had changed, I had to learn how to simplify my goals and set ones we could achieve. My then goals were to get through one competition at a time without being asked to leave with my dangerous horse. And we got there!

Regan Denchfield 2

Bucky and I never got to Prelim level eventing, we hardly received blue ribbons, but what I got was a lesson in never giving up, appreciating what you have even when your convinced what you have is trying to kill you, and learn to be humbled with every lesson learned. Bucky taught me so many things, of course I am a better rider because of him, I also learned to ignore chatter from other competitors speaking illly of me, and to never ever give up. I could never have achieved the things I eventually did with Bucky without my mother, a woman who at first didn’t know my horse from the horse next to him, the woman who learned to drive a horse trailer and console me after every competition that first year or two, even though there were many times I wanted to leave Bucky on the show grounds and give up my mom wouldn’t let me think that way. She has a way of encouraging and teasing me at the same time. I remember so many long drives home in tears and then bursting out laughing because my mom always knew how to cheer me up, usually at Bucky’s expense. After years of lessons – taught by Bucky – from staying on for dear life or learning to stop this beast that is 10x your body weight, Bucky and I eventually clicked! I was able to jump him over things that were so big and scary that I thought we’d never make to the other side, but that athletic beast jumped it every time, I learned to ride with him, I couldn’t control his speed like I had tried to for so long to do but to ride as a team. He eventually calmed down and became the farm favorite for children to ride! My mom still won’t believe me that he plods around an arena with kids on his back and is a perfect, safe saint!

When Cory first taught me to ski I was reminded of what if felt to be discouraged again, this time it wasn’t a 1,100 pound beast but a relatively simple blue in the mountains of West Virginia. I felt this humbling experience again, I would get so mad at myself for falling 16 times that day, but I would be reminded that the mountains weren’t against me, but that I had to learn to ski with the mountain. It took me a whole season of falling down every run that I finally had that ahhh hah moment! I skiing and I clicked! Three years, hundreds of falls, a few crashes into trees, one beautiful Rocky Mountain engagement later, with a plan to move to the Rockies to become ski bums as a married couple, I am so excited to see what the mountains have in store for me. I know I will never control a mountain and I just need to remind myself to ski with it.