Tory Grauer Ketchum discovered her future her while on a family vacation at age six. Her name was Freckles, and she was an Appaloosa quarter horse at the A-Bar-A Ranch in Wyoming.
“When we left I was heartbroken to leave her behind,” Grauer says. “when we got home I asked my parents if I could take riding lessons. A family friend was riding at Grand Central Show Stables with Robin Greenwood. Later that week we went up and met with Robin and that was it!”
But Grauer couldn’t just stick with being (a fantastic) amatuer rider—she took her love of all things equine a step further and made it her business, too. She now lives in Florida with her husband and five dogs, where they are building out their own farm named Copperline.
We talk to her about pre-show rituals, her horses, and the perfect breeches, in this week's Ringside Chat.
Free x Rein: What are your horses names and what events to you participate in?
Tory Grauer: I have four horses that are showing currently, and two that are coming back from some time off. Isaac, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, shows in the High Amateurs and Grand Prix. Lingapore, an 8-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, shows in the Medium/High Amateurs. Maestro van de Volkaert, a new 7-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, shows in the Low Amateurs, and Be Happy, a new 10-year-old Holsteiner mare, who is doing the Medium/High Amateurs!
FxR: What makes the Free x Rein breeches different than others you have tried?
TG: They are comfortable but flattering. I love the material and the zip pockets because they don’t bunch. I think it’s really hard to find breeches that fit well if you aren’t 6 feet tall (I’m 5’5”)! I have found you have to give up comfort for a pair that looks good or looks for comfort and with the Free x Rein you get both!
FxR: What are your goals for riding?
TG: I’ve been really lucky to have accomplished some big goals recently, specifically showing in the 1.45 Junior Amateur Derby at the Hampton Classic a couple weeks ago. Isaac was amazing and we ended up 5th! My next goal is to show in my first 2* Grand Prix which will be at Split Rock in Ohio next week!
FxR: What's an important ritual you have to get ready before a competition?
TG: I always make sure to ride the horses that are showing in the morning of a competition day. I think it’s a really important way to get a feel of your horse and connect before the craziness of the day starts. I also make a point to go over my course out loud with my trainer, Jeffery Welles, a couple times. If there are a few of us (his other clients) all walking together and showing in the same class, we will say it out loud again to one another just to make sure we our plans are solid.
FxR: Who is a female rider you look up to?
TG: It’s hard to narrow it down to one. There’s so much female power in the riding world these days and it comes in so many different levels in show jumping. The obvious answers being Beezie and Margie, to name a couple who are such incredible riders and have accomplished so much, but truth be told I also look up to my friends as well. They are all such strong women in and out of the show ring. Some have children, some have full time jobs, some have both and some do this full time. They are inspiring and I am so grateful to have them in my life. We support each other. Women supporting women. In this day and age that’s probably the best thing to look up to!