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Hello, Zebras! My name is Jordan Mangan, and I'm a 16 years old male equestrian from the Philadelphia Suburbs. I am a hunter/ jumper rider, although I've been focusing more on jumpers in the last year.
My start, especially for a male rider, was a bit unusual. No one in my family owned, rides, or leases any horse. We had nothing to do with the equestrian sport until I started. Let's go back in time, five years ago when everything started…
I was 11 years old and in 6th grade. My family was sitting on the beach for our summer vacation, and out of nowhere, horses were brought up. I asked my parents if I could try riding, and they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. They agreed to let me get a lesson at a barn about 30 minutes from my house after calling around and trying to get the best trainer for me. I went to the lesson and had an absolute blast, but my mom thought it was just going to be a one-time thing, and I'd move onto something new in a matter of days. She was thoroughly surprised when I fell in love with riding. I started to take lessons once every week and progressed as a rider.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I started to lease my first horse named Buddy. He was absolutely perfect. We would do lots of hunter schooling shows, and I had a blast. We would often pin in the top three, and I was delighted with that. I would lesson one day a week and then hack one day a week for my lease ride. It was again a small step because my parents wanted to make sure I was committed to riding before they spent lots of money. I leased him for about four months and then moved up.
Recently, I started leasing a horse named Reggie and competing in jumper shows. When I tell you I love jumpers so much, something about it makes me get so excited. I liked the freedom and less strict rules than the hunters have to follow. You just had to go in the ring and get a clear round… nothing else. In addition, being a male equestrian had some influence on going from hunters to jumpers. It's a lot more relaxed and much easier to find show clothing that will fit and is available. The sport is very female-dominated when you're competing at little schooling shows or even at IEA shows. But when you start to go to more rated shows like the HITS series, there are so many more guys. When I went to HITS Saugerties, there were about equal amounts of guy and girl riders, which was nice to see. In addition, I feel like being a male rider helps a lot with being noticed. Usually, more people are watching you, which does put more pressure, but I enjoy the challenge.
Thanks for reading!
To see more of my journey, you can follow me on instagram @jordanmanganeq