by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Soul of Photography

Riding Champion

student_stuart2Jillian Stuart has shown horses across the country, from the Del Mar Horse Park to the Capital Challenge Horse Show in Maryland. Jillian began riding at age four, and what started with watching her oldest sister Savanah grew into multiple and far-reaching accolades of her own. “Before each show I really work on schooling the horses and making them as sharp and ready as they can be. It really is a team sport because both you and the horse rely on each other,” she said.

Besides champion as overall high point rider in her division, Jillian’s first big award came at the US Pony Finals in 2012, showing her small pony, Prima Ballerina. Out of 114 top ponies from across the country, she placed 14th overall in the Small Pony division, and High Pony Welsh Pony out of all sizes. Later that year, she competed in the West Coast Pony Finals and won out of all small ponies. “In 2012, I ended up fifth in the nation on Prima Ballerina,” she shared. On her current horse, Andover, Jillian won Champion Large Junior Hunter 15 and under, and High Point Junior and Amateur with PCHA.

Name: Jillian Stuart
School: The Grauer School
Grade: 10
Family: Parents – Candace and James Stuart; Siblings – Savanah (21) and Mikayla (19)
Favorite Spot: My barn!


Jillian attends The Grauer School, and loves how flexible and accommodating teachers are with her busy competition schedule. “Along with riding, I also enjoy acting,” Jillian shared. “I have grown up watching movies every week with my family, and one day it struck me that I could be in them, so I enrolled in drama and immediately became immersed in theater.” She and her sisters started a business four years ago called Ballerina Bows, hand-sewing bows for sale online and to retailers across the country. Bows are worn during competitions, and most of the proceeds go to charitable horse-related organizations such as Saving Horses, LLC or the Compton Jr. Posse. “They (Compton Jr. Posse) sometimes compete at our competitions, and it is rewarding to see these students get the opportunity to compete.”

Jillian’s future plans are to keep riding, and her goal is to attend USC for film acting. It might surprise people to know this about our 92067 student star: “I haven’t eaten any bacon or pork in 10 years,” she laughed, “because pigs are too adorable!”