Life on the Road

Life on the Road

Life on the Road

Our first spotlighted rider is Lexi Miller from Richfield WI.

Lexi started riding with Emily Elek (also known around the circuit as “The Pony Lady”) about 12 years ago. During that time, she has been blessed to catch-ride hundreds of ponies and horses. Lexi has competed throughout the Midwest from WHJA (Wisconsin Hunter Jumper Association, her local horse show series) up to National Pony Finals, and all the different types of shows in between.
When you ride for a trainer like Emily Elek, you ride everything from just broken, to green, to top-notch show ponies, but you also fall off, get dumped off, and experience an occasional crash. Lexi and her parents chose to be loyal to IRH because IRH helmets have kept Lexi safe throughout all of those accidents. One particularly frightening experience was when Lexi got kicked in the head, and the IRH helmet she was wearing protected her from serious injury.

The accident replacement policy is a great feature that IRH offers to riders who want to stay loyal to the brand that proved to protect them during unfortunate spills.

When Emily saw Lexi’s first new IR4G helmet, her response was “if I had known IRH had such stylish and well-priced helmets I would have been recommending them to my clients sooner"    

Lexi’s love for the animal is what makes her a tactful partner. She always makes sure that her ride is exactly what that particular pony or horse needs, even though that might mean not winning a blue ribbon every time. A successful catch rider must communicate to the pony that they they can trust their rider going over every jump, a rider who is not pulling on their mouth, a rider who is not going to blame the horse for any imperfections.

One of the things we love about Lexi is that she is a humble rider, and doesn’t require the spotlight.

Lexi never went into the show ring to showcase brands, she went into the show ring to showcase the horses and ponies that she rides. Lexi won blue ribbons, championships, and even ribboned at Pony Finals without following the expensive trends. Staying loyal to the brands that she was comfortable in, Lexi focused on the performance aspect of the ride. Lexi and her parents appreciate that the IRH helmet is more affordable, just as nice to look at, provides the quality and safety like other helmets, and allows the rider to still win in the show ring without spending additional hard-earned money just to say she is wearing a certain brand.

When we asked her mom (Candice) and dad (Randy) how Lexi managed to avoid peer pressure during her journey, they responded with:

“Yes, unfortunately some kids may have looked at her with puzzled looks from time to time. I remember at one show a girl asked her why she wore a collared shirt. Lexi responded with “because I like it”! I was so proud of her. 

Lexi’s trainer Emily was also one who was all about the animal and the quality of the ride, not the brand of the rider’s clothes or equipment. We commend Emily for that way of thinking as opposed to pressuring young riders and their families to spend money unnecessarily. At the age of 17 years old, Lexi is still riding ponies for Emily Elek, and she has also has been gifted with riding sale horses as an Amateur Jr rider.

Lexi has always been able to wear those name brands if she chose to, and now that she’s older more than ever, but along with her Essex shirt or Tailored Sportsman breeches, she sports her IRH helmet proudly, and is happy to represent the company in the future as she continues with her amateur catch riding career!!

We asked Candice and Randy some questions regarding the education aspect of the child rider “on the road”. Let’s see what they had to say… 

1) How are Lexi’s grades in school when she’s traveling and horse showing during the competition season?

Lexi works extremely hard and has maintained a 3.8 GPA 

2) How did Lexi manage to keep her grades up while competing on the show circuit?  

She works very hard to stay focused, is well organized, is NOT a procrastinator, works on her homework in school and each night. When Lexi is not schooling/riding at the show or watching barn mates or others do the same, she is on her laptop doing schoolwork or does it at the hotel at night. It takes dedication and determination to want to keep your grades up in order to have the opportunity to travel to horse shows. Yes, that can sometimes lead to stress, but it has taught her how important time management is and how to be organized with everything you have on your plate. 

3) Did the On-Line Schooling years (Covid times) make it easier for Lexi to be successful in school while showing ponies for Emily Elek?  

Lexi likes seeing her friends daily, but yes Lexi liked on-line schooling. She liked working at her pace and could handle that ‘freedom’. Her high school does not offer virtual learning as an option but she is able to take two classes on-line so does that and continues to succeed.  

4) Despite the active competition schedule, did Lexi have any significant scholarly achievements?

Lexi was inducted into the National Honor Society in October 2021. She recently received her academic letter in school (verses a letter in a sport). We are very proud of her commitment to her education, and hope that Lexi will continue to follow her equestrian based dreams throughout her college days.