Q & A WITH CALLAN SOLEM
Have you ever considered trying out for the Olympics?
It has always been a goal of mine to compete in the Olympic Games. A big part of accomplishing this goal is finding a competent equine partner. The search continues, but I have high hopes!
How did you know you wanted to become a rider?
I have known that I wanted to ride professionally since I was ten years old. The connection that I feel with horses makes it so much more than a sport to me. The first time that I felt a horse trying to do his best for me, I was hooked!
Are there any opportunities to meet you?
My tentative schedule for shows for the year is posted on this site, and I will update it with any clinics or other events that I might do.
How do I get started riding?
The best way is to find a stable near your house that offers riding lessons on school horses. This way you can figure out if you really love it before you buy or lease your own horse.
Who in this field do you look up to? Who is your idol or inspiration?
Beezie Madden is obviously at the top of the sport right now, and that is the result of a lot of talent, sacrifice, and hard work on her part.
Joe Fargis has been at the top of this sport for thirty plus years, proving his longevity. I have so much admiration for the respect that he has for the horses. He is fair, precise, and quiet. Horses feel comfortable with him.
Norman Dello Joio is maybe one of the greatest competitors that you will ever see on horseback- an inspiration to watch!
Mark Jungherr has trained me for years and made the biggest difference of anyone in the effectiveness of my riding. He has an immense knowledge of the horse and is always challenging me to find the root of whatever problem might arise. He says that if you ride a horse better, it goes better...Genius!!
Carol Thompson was my trainer and sponsor for years. Without her support and fierce competitive nature, I would not be where I am today.
What is your favorite place to ride?
I really enjoy riding in the show ring the most. It's just me and the horse, and I really enjoy the intense focus that goes with competing. I also enjoy getting to test out all of the things that I've been practicing.
What is your favorite type of competition?
I love jumping in grand prixs the most. Also, although I've only done it four times, I really enjoyed Nations Cup competitions as well! Speed classes are really fun; the young horses are also great... I guess I really like it all!!
How much time do you spend training every week, on average?
I ride anywhere from 40 to 60 hours per week, depending on our location, time of year, etc.