THIS medalist profile: Ayanna Kimbro
Ayanna Kimbro is a freshman at California State University Northridge and is currently ranked in the top five on the THIS/NHS Adult Medal Rankings. At 18, she recently made the transition from junior rider to adult amateur.
“From a young age I always loved horses, but I didn’t ride a lot because I had terrible allergies,” says Kimbro. “My parents tried to put me in summer camp when I was six, but I was sent home after less than an hour because my eyes were so swollen. When I was nine , I told my parents that [riding] was something I had to do. I started with one lesson a week, taking allergy medication every day.
As a junior, Kimbro competed primarily in the equestrian classes, including the THIS Children’s National Medal, the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3″ Medal and the 3’6″ Big “Eq” classes. She says that the transition from high school to college and from junior to amateur status was difficult.
“It was hard, especially since I was able to ride every day during the [COVID pandemic]says Kimbro. “Now that I’m back to in-person lessons, I’m basically going to school Monday-Thursday and riding Friday-Sunday. It’s definitely easier to be an amateur, because when you’re a junior, [chasing equitation] points are hard.
“Now that I’m competing [as an adult] in the CE medal for adults, I think it’s a lot less stressful,” she adds. “All the adults seem a lot less concerned because when you’re a junior you feel like you have so little time to do everything, but I think we amateurs allow ourselves to have more fun.”
Kimbro owns two horses but rents one to another rider. She currently competes on her horse Outkast.
“Outkast is a 13 year old Belgian Warmblood. I started showing him in my senior year as a junior, mostly riding 3’3″ and a bit of riding 3’6,” she says. “He has his quirks, but he tries his best every time, he’s the best.”
Kimbro says she prefers horseback riding because she is able to test her skills and challenge herself.
“I think the riding lessons are super fun. You have some classes where you get the normal eight obstacle hunter course, but you also get the technical lessons. In riding you can really show off what you know and what what you can do,” says Kimbro.
“THIS adult medal is currently my favorite class to compete in. I always like a flat workout, and after I got older I missed being able to compete in the ASPCA Maclay Medal or the Hamel Foundation NHS 3’3” because I loved the flat phases,” she says. “When I started participating in the THIS adult medal, I realized that I could still flat [and test my skills.].”
For the remainder of the year, Kimbro plans to continue competing in adult riding classes with Outkast and is looking forward to the THIS/NHS Adult Riding Championship Finals.
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