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A Year of Planning Pays Off for Joyride's Elodie Watrous

Joining the Top Ranks at Devon and Junior Hunter Finals

Elodie Watrous and Joyride's Paper Trail at the Devon Horse Show. Photo Kind Media

Wilmette, IL - August 2, 2023 - Qualifying for the Devon Horse Show by being in the top 20 in the country was no small feat for 16-year-old Elodie Watrous (Wilmette, IL/Wellington, FL). Thanks to a well-planned program for both Watrous and her horses, the young junior rider was able to pilot her 11-year-old warmblood hunter, Paper Trail, to top ribbons against the country's best junior riders and horses. Watrous took on the Devon Oval and landed top ribbons with a third place in the Small Junior Hunters 15 & Under Handy and a fifth place in the Stake class. Demonstrating her consistency, thanks to the program, she again, claimed top placings at the USEF Junior Hunter Finals in Traverse City, MI, taking home a third place ribbon in the Overall Small Junior Hunter 3’6" 15 & Under. For the team that supports this stunning pair, the outcome was not a surprise, rather, it was the result of a year of meticulous planning and execution. "I was so excited to compete at Devon and the Junior Hunter Finals and walk away with great ribbons," said Watous. "I've been working hard with my team at Messenger Hill Farm to be able to show at these events and do really well. My horse is amazing and everything just came together for us!"

“Of course, when you are dealing with living, breathing animals, even the best-laid plans can fail," said trainer and program planner Jodi Vazquez. "Horses are not robots, any number of roadblocks can jump up into your path but we started pointing Elodie and her horses toward these big tracks back in January and made plans for every contingency along the way.”

Messenger Hill’s boutique approach to training and showing has created success stories for many of their clients. In Watrous' case:

  1. Small Client-to-Trainer Ratio - With four trainers (all of whom ride and compete themselves at National and International levels) spread over two locations and every horse show in between, the pair was able to train for half of the year in Wellington, FL, at the Winter Equestrian Festival and at home in Chicago, IL, anytime she needed to there for school or personal reasons. No matter where she needed to be, she didn’t have to put training on hold.

  2. World Class Facilities - Because Messenger Hill has the same surfaces, jumps, and other facilities that a horse show does, jumping at the show feels exactly like jumping at home. MH creates an environment where jumping at the horse show doesn’t feel out of a rider’s or horse’s element.

  3. Personalized Planning - Vazquez has the unique ability to see the end game and breaks down all the steps along the way. Figuring out the logistics of rider and horses throughout the season is a challenge but with the right planning, both horses and riders are ready for the upcoming competitions no matter where the training needs to happen.

  4. Quality Horses - Thanks to the combination of Joyride's dedication to find quality horses and the expertise and connections of Messenger Hill, the program teams up the right horse for each rider as part of the equation for success.

Elodie Watrous and Paper Trail proudly celebrate a victory in the winner's circle at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival after winning the Small Junior Hunter Classic and earning the division championship.

The Joyride pair continues to be at the top of their game, earning the division championship in the Small Junior Hunters and claiming the top prize in the Junior Hunter Classic at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival just last week.

Vazquez again gives credit to Messenger Hill's ability to create customized plans for their clients, “It’s all thanks to the formula. We are so lucky to be able to create these really detailed plans for our clients. It’s a formula that has worked for many years!”

Discover Joy

Discover Joyride Eq Showjumping

Sharon and John Watrous Quickly discovered the importance of a good horse when their daughters started riding. It became apparent that some horses had "it" and some didn't. "You know, there's the intangible "wow" factor in some horses. We've been lucky to have help with sourcing some really nice horses. But what if someone didn't have the connections that we did?" questioned Sharon. So Joyride EQ Showjumping was created. All Joyride horses have the elusive "it" factor. They bring joy to their owners and riders. We want to set you up for real success, and we want you to have fun while you do it!

Today, Joyride horses bring happiness to riders all over the USA, from cross rails to the Grand Prix level.

Discover the joy of horses with Joyride.

Contact Joyride Eq Showjumping at



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