American Kingsland rider Reed Kessler is busy at the Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera, Spain. With her Reed has six of her horses, all at different stages of their career – some have a lot of experience, some have less, some are new to Reed while some have been in her stable for years. While doing our photo shoot of the 2017 Summer Collection, Kingsland sat down with Reed to hear more about life at the Sunshine Tour:
“Well, I love the Sunshine Tour because in my opinion it is the best place to start the year. It is perfect footing, beautiful grass rings – a great experience for all the horses, not just the young ones. Also for the older horses, it is some of the best surfaces you can jump on.
When we get here in February, it is sometimes a little bit rainy and windy for the first weeks. So, I make sure to bring all the Kingsland rain-gear and rain-pants, as well as a good change of clothes in my tack trunk in case we get rained out. But, right now we are on week three and it is beautiful sunny weather so we can ride in our pretty short-sleeve Kingsland shirts.
I have six horses with me. A day at the show normally consists of me flatting all the horses, also the ones I am showing – but if we are getting short on time I will ride probably three or four and then my stable manager Chloe will ride one or two. This year I don’t have young horses with me, so I am doing most of the international classes – that means our schedule generally starts on Thursday and goes through to Sunday. We make a plan for each of the horses at the beginning of the week – ride in the morning and then they do their respective classes.
I switch them on and off each week so that everybody gets to jump and everybody gets to have a rest. Each horse is different, I have a few of my old friends here so I try to give them what they need to feel their best. Perhaps that is a week showing, a week off, a week showing. You have to adjust it to the horse, and its needs. Another good part of the tour is that there are huge areas in the woods here to ride in – so on the weeks the horses are off, they can really let down – just be horses and go hacking.”