Monica Monroy is a bright light at the barn everyday. She always has a smile and something positive to say. Monica is from Mexico and rides and trains in Wellington and works virtually at her job .
1.Tell me about your life journey with horses. When did you start riding? How and why did you decide to make your commitment to riding and horses?
I started riding when I was 13 years old. I don’t come from an equestrian family, and I didn’t have much contact with horses growing up. Since I can remember, I’ve always have been in love with horses. Every time I saw one, I wanted to pet him/her, give treats and / or ride. I thought it was like having a “puppy”, and that I could have it in my back yard, since we had grass and horses eat grass lol. So I kept asking my parents if I could have one. The big day came on my 13th birthday when my parents gave me the nicest surprise and the gift that has changed my life for good: “Calcetín”. I still remember the first time I rode “Calcetín”. Once I got on, I couldn’t stop smiling, that smile has stuck around until today.
2.Do you find it hard to balance work and your riding?
I don’t find hard to balance work and riding because I have amazing teams that helps me around when I must allocate more time into one or the other. I am very blessed in that way. What I find the hardest is to balance my riding with my personal life. I am passionate about horses, I want to be around them ALL the time! I would rather be cuddling with one of my boys than doing anything else.
3.Have you always been a dressage rider or did you start with jumping or eventing?
When my parents gave me “Calcetín” he was stabled at a barn across from where my dad worked. I started taking lessons with Cap. Espinoza who was the riding instructor there, he was a jumper therefore I became a jumper. For years, I wasn’t aware there were more equestrian disciplines. In 2006 I moved barns to Rancho Madero Viejo. This is where I met Karina Amorós and I fell in love with dressage.
4.Why did you first decide to come to Florida?
I had competed in dressage in Mexico for several years. I got to a point and level where I could and wanted to represent my country. I wanted to be as prepared as I could to do so. Florida seemed a good choice because it is closer to home than Europe and also has great trainers and lots of international shows so I decided to come for the season.
5.You have stayed in Florida since the start of the Pandemic. Why did you make the decision not to return to Mexico?
I arrived in Florida December 2018 and my plan was to stay for the season. As soon as I got here I realized I had been living in a bubble in Mexico. I was scoring hi 60’s in Mexico and when I arrived to Wellington I was scoring 50’s. It was very disheartening. I didn’t allow this to get on the way of my goals, I did as the saying says: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I knew that if I wanted to be a competitive international rider I needed to do something different so I did. I kept my horses in Florida to get them better trained and I started flying back and forth. The pandemic made it easier since many people adopted virtual ways of working. I was able to do that and work virtually.
6.Do you have a family here in Florida or only in Mexico?
I have two cousins that live north from Wellington who are very dear to me. My immediate family lives in Mexico.
7.You are a very accomplished Adult Amateur rider. Who do you train with here in Florida?
I train with Katherine Bateson Chandler. I am not sure I believe in luck, but this was definitely a lucky strike. I was looking for a trainer and accompanied a friend to get a lesson from Katherine. I watched her teach and I have stuck with her since then. I am so grateful because she helped me gain back my confidence. Her program takes you step by step and sets you up for success. She works with positive reinforcement and gives me lots of encouragement. Most importantly, she believes in me and in my goals and is committed to them.
8.Tell me about your horses. What are their names and ages? Breeding? And tell me if they have any interesting quirks to their personalities? Do they like to go to shows? Do they like the activity at shows? Have you ever jumped them just for a bit of cross training? Do you go on hacks with them?
I have four horses at the moment.
Calcetín, he is 36 years young and this year we will have our 27th anniversary. I don’t know his breeding, and my guess is that he is a mix of the biggest heart, a Labrador and a pony. He was the one that taught me to ride, jump, trust. He is very protective of his space, especially of his stall. He has been retired for about 16 years now and goes out to the field mostly with mares. His best friend is La Güera. They play and are by each other’s side all the time.
Max is a 19 year old KWPN by Rhodium. He is a hard worker; he loves to perform and shows it in the ring. He is very confident and powerful. He loves to roll in the mud and get completely covered with it. He loves going out to the paddock and when he gets bored he calls for us to go and get him.
Monty is an 18 year old Rheinlander by Laurantier. He is super talented, sensitive, and communicative. He doesn’t realize how talented he is, and he needs lots of reassurance from me. He needs me to tell him when he is doing it correctly and feels so proud when he does, his eyes shine brighter. His favorite hobby is to eat, and he likes all kinds of food. His next favorite hobby is to play with his teddies.He even takes the teddies of his brothers.
Drogba is a 12 yo Danish warmblood by DeNiro. He is a smart, teenage horse. He understands everything you explain to him, and he has outstanding memory. He loves to get his way and if he doesn’t get it, he has a tantrum. He knows he is a special horse and asks for special treatment. He is very picky when it comes to his
human friends. He is so brave, he knows and wants to perform at the highest level. He enjoys dogs and birds. There is a hawk that often comes to visit. When I feed his grain in the paddock he leaves some behind so the birds come to visit him. I LOVE to show. I think I wouldn’t like riding as much as I do if there weren’t shows involved. I enjoy having goals to work towards to. Regarding cross training, Monty loves to jump, even if it is only cavalletti he enjoys it very much. Max hates it. He doesn’t see the point on doing it. I enjoy going out on hacks very much, or at least the thought of it because I don’t do it as often as I would like to.
9.Did you ever consider becoming a professional rider?
Yes, I have considered it. What could be better than to make your passion your profession?
Thank you Monica for taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you all the best for you and your horses .
I’d love to hear from you!