There are great riders and great horses, but there’s a certain magic that happens when just the right combination is paired together. Anna Jane White-Mullin and her Thoroughbred horse, “Rivet,” are an excellent example of such a partnership. Their story is one of hard work, horsemanship, and the heart of a thoroughbred.
While most of the top junior riders competing in the equitation classes today have mounts specifically dedicated for that purpose, that was not the case decades ago. Riders often had one horse to show, and that horse would typically perform “double duty,” ridden in both the hunter and equitation classes, and sometimes in the jumpers as well. Rivet was no exception. Anna White-Mullin was kind enough to share her story with me so that I might share it with others. The following is her account of how she and Rivet came to be:
“Later that day, he had to be measured before we could compete in the junior division, and the steward said he measured as a Large Junior Hunter. I tacked him up and showed in my first hunter class at the Ox Ridge Horse Show and was lucky enough to win it. Afterwards, my coach, George Morris, said, ‘How did this horse get measured as a large? He couldn’t be a large!’ So we had Rivet measured again, and he came up as a small. I was then faced with the decision of whether to keep my points for the win in the Large Jr. Division and show as a large for the rest of the year, or to forfeit those points and show in the Small Jr. Division thereafter. I decided to keep the points and continued to show him as a Large Jr. Hunter for the rest of my time with him. After he was sold to Bradley Caine at Winter Place Farm in Maryland, he was measured again and shown as a Small Junior Hunter thereafter.
“Rivet turned out to be an interesting horse to show. He was easily spooked, so I had to longe him or give him a controlled gallop on the show grounds to work him down enough to score well in the early classes. He served as both my Equitation horse and Junior Hunter, and he usually came through for both.