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Cathy Lycholaj

Cathy Lycholaj was invited to go for a ride to “a horse show Lendon Gray is putting on” with the Pessoa rep from ERS who was meeting Lendon to discuss sponsorship. The show grounds were so impressive and the show was running so smoothly even though there were so many kids and horses! She attended the Youth Dressage Festival several times to cheer on friends before her daughter entered and won her division as a first-time competitor! Cathy was invited to join the Committee after helping out at the boutique for two years and jumped at the chance to be more involved. “I was hoping for a way to give back to the horse world and this is it.”
As a child, Cathy’s mom told her she could ride when she could afford to pay for it herself. Obsessed with horses, she memorized the World Book Encyclopedia entries on horses and riding and as a Girl Scout was able to go trail riding at a dude ranch (where she was run away with) and at camp (she was run off with there, too. She doesn’t recommend the encyclopedia as a training manual.) At 19 she was able to start riding lessons with a hunter/jumper trainer in Glen Cove, NY. A year later, she started riding with a trainer from Kentucky who worked with Francois Lemaire. “Lots and lots of time on a lunge line. Weeks. Suppling exercises. Tons of time without stirrups – at the trot and over cavaletti. We never worked over fences in the winter. That was our time to work on the flat. It was never called a “Dressage” lesson because only old ladies did that in our area, but it was my favorite work. Since I had been run away with, I was afraid that I wouldn’t have control and dressage allowed me to work on controlling my body without the hiccup of a fence. I was an assistant instructor (I got to be in the middle holding the lunge line a lot) and spent all my spare time at the stable. A barn rat at 22. I took a long break after having my children and returned when my daughter started riding. I was given my QH – Meiji – about 10 years ago – he competed at Intro at D4K with one of my students – and my daughter bought a horse about eight years ago and then joined the Army so I have an OTTB – Doc, they both live at home with us. I love teaching beginner riders. Their excitement at being on a horse and being able to stop, walk and trot is exhilarating and I am thrilled every time they make a connection.”
The most helpful advice she ever got: “When I first started riding, I was depressed because I could only ride once a week. Betty, my trainer, told me I could ride every day, even if I wasn’t on a horse. I “rode” all day long at my desk by sitting on the edge of my chair with my ear, shoulder, hip and ankle lined up and when I typed I kept my elbows at my side as if I were holding my reins. It helped me a lot and, bonus, I was complimented on my excellent posture.”