Heritage Farm: Beyond the Ingate with Cecelia Perry
Cecelia Perry and Post Malone. Photo by KIND Media, LLC
Hometown: Boynton Beach, FL
Horse(s): Post Malone, Cornet Z
2023 Highlights: Fifth, USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals - East; eighth, ASPCA Maclay Region 2 Championship
Cecelia Perry had never before ridden at the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals - East ahead of her October 2023 debut in Gladstone, NJ. Her mount, Heritage Farm's Post Malone was even lighter on experience. The 12-year-old KWPN gelding had never before jumped in a USEF Show Jumping Talent Search class.
But that meant nothing to the talented duo, who finished fifth in the Championship, receiving scores of 84.5, 88 and 90 over the course of the respective flat, gymnastic and jumping phases.
Perry, whose show age is 16, is admittedly not one to thinkabout names, numbers or circumstances. After the flat phase, the Boynton Beach, FL native wasn't aware that she sat as high as 16th, or that her gymnastic phase had moved her up an additional 10 places on the leaderboard.
"I felt very well prepared, but this was still my first Talent Search Finals and Post Malone's first ever Talent Search class, and I wasn't sure how he was going to react [to the atmosphere]," Perry said. "I was really happy with his flat, and I didn't think much about [the standings]."
Cecelia Perry and Post Malone received fifth honors at the USEF Show Jumping Talent Search Finals - East. Photo by KIND Media, LLC
Perry arrived at Heritage Farm just eight months ago, but she quickly made an impact, taking wins in the USEF Medal and WIHS Jumper Phase during the 2023 Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. Getting involved with the Heritage Farm Development Program, she has helped produce several equitation mounts for Heritage, and after the program moved north for the summer season, she began monthly commutes to Katonah, riding any horse offered to her across the Junior Hunter, Children's Jumper and equitation divisions.
"I've gained so much confidence at Heritage: I know I can walk into the show ring and be competitive. I'm not worried that my horse and I aren't going to be on the same page. I'm not worried that I'm not going to know how to ride the lines," Perry said. "Andre just gives me a lot of confidence. He teaches challenging exercises at home, so when we go to the show, everything in the ring seems easier."
Photo by KIND Media, LLC
While working with a variety of mounts, Perry was uncertain whom her partner would be for the fall championships, until Dignelli sent her a video of a horse he was importing this summer. Named Post Malone (and affectionately called, "Baxter"), the athletic bay had jumped some impressive classes in Europe and showed promise for the equitation ring.
"Andre sent me a video of him while I went home for four days. He looked amazing, like he’d been doing equitation for a while, when he'd been jumping some big classes only a few weeks before," Perry said. "When I came back to New York and rode him, I fell in love instantly; he's exactly my ride. He listens so well, and he does all the things. He's obviously new to equitation, and he has so much more to learn, but I do, too." Perry and Baxter kicked off their partnership with an eighth place finish in the ASPCA Maclay Region 2 Championships at Old Salem Farm. They also earned ribbons in the 16-Year-Old Equitation at Capital Challenge before heading to Gladstone. "I’m excited our future together," Perry said. "Our placing at Gladstone really showed me that we’re able to be competitive in these next upcoming finals." Perry has also qualified for the USEF Medal Final, WIHS Equitation Championship and ASPCA Maclay National Championship this fall. It will be her first time competing in each of the three national championships; in addition to Post Malone, she will also show Heritage Farm's Cornet Z. "Short-term, I want to have a good indoors. I'm excited about the upcoming shows. I'll also be riding Cornet Z, who is only seven, but has had 'it' from Day One," Perry said. "Beyond that, I want to continue to learn and hopefully have some great results. I just want to get better at everything."
Photo by KIND Media, LLC