Rider of the Month is a tradition started by Nataly, Karyn, and the employees of Bit by Bit to acknowledge various students that show important characterisitics; not only riding talent and skill development, but also attitude, determination, and perserverance. Two riders are chosen each month - one of Nataly's students and one of Karyn's. These students have shown the willingness and patience to grow as riders, as well as responsible horsemanship qualities. We pay close attention to all of our students and hope to encourage not only passion for the sport, but love for the horse and their environment. Work hard and aim high and you could be the next rider of the month!
November 2016, Nataly's Student
There have been numerous times when people have come up to Nataly and have made compliments about Alexa. She rides with a quiet position, and is very graceful to watch. She has never shown negativity in a lesson, or during any time spent at the barn. Alexa is polite and enjoyable to be around. Everyone at Bit By Bit has great respect for her, surely because in return Alexa shows great respect for everyone and everything. Horses find comfort in working with her due to her easy going attitude. She is a joy to have at the barn, and has a true natural talent for working with horses.
November 2016, Karyn's Student
There is not one horse that we have put Raye on that she has not been able to work well with. A good rider is not a rider that can only ride one horse well, but a rider that can ride several different types of horses well. Over the past few months, Raye has discovered the importance of the basics - focused on them, bringing out the best in every horse. Raye's riding makes us very proud, but also her work ethic. A girl her age is rarely willing to put in the time and work that she does. Her level of responsibility is admirable. We are very lucky to have such a strong willed, promising rider on our team. We commend you on your great success on Kassie, Blue, and Henry this past season.
October 2016, Nataly's Student
When we think of Riley, many positive traits come to mind - friendly, considerate, good-natured, and devoted. These are just a few. Riley is very self-sufficient - tacks and untacks her horse, sweeps her spot, and puts away equipment without being told. Riley has always been a great student and very focused, but her advancement in riding really took off this summer, more specifically this October. During all her lessons, its noticeable that she is there to work, and absorbs every word and uses it to become a better rider and horseman. Riley participated in many competitions and schoolings this summer, and maintained great show etiquette and a positive attitude every time. She is a kind team mate an excellent rider, and makes us proud in every way.
October 2016, Karyn's Student
Sue works hard every single day. In every ride, in everything she does. She comes to her lesson ready to work, no matter how Rio behaves on any given day. She truly gives her all every lesson, and this has really shown over the past few months in the progression of her riding. Another great thing about Sue is that she is always ready and willing to help. Whole Foods donates their unsold produce to Bit by Bit, so every day Sue makes time to go pick up what they box up for us. One day it may be one box, the next day it may be as many as 12 boxes. She even sorts through them, making sure they're used in a timely fashion so few go to waste. She stays late to help when help is needed, and comes early if necessary. She is generous, kind, fun, and also a very loyal friend. Sue, we appreciate every little and every big thing you do for us. We hope you always remember that you are an important part of our team, and that we love you very much.
September 2016, Nataly's Student
A good trainer doesn't always make a rider. A strong support system doesn't always make a good rider. A rider becomes great when commitment meets passion. Autumn has an incredibly supportive family and a talented trainer. But above all, she has a fierce attitude towards her goals combined with love and adoration of the horse. She falls, immediately gets up, back on, and learns from it; without letting it discourage her. After only one month of flat work, she was ready to jump. She is a talented rider and will be a great competitor on our team someday. Autumn is fun to teach, a joy to everyone at the barn, and stands out to all.
September 2016, Karyn's Student
Everything about Mandy is amazing. Mandy tacks up horses for Karyn and Nataly in the morning, several times a week. She is always punctual, while still giving the horses a great groom. Mandy notices any new cuts or bumps and checks for fungus. She brings a natural approach to common issues, like using coconut oil to speed up hair growth on bald spots on horses. Mandy's horsemanship follows through in her riding. Her understanding of the horse and attentiveness has produced great progress with Shelby. We(including Shelby) cannot imagine life without MANDY!
August 2016, Nataly's Student
Aysia's obvious effort and attentiveness has been admired by us all since her very first ride. She has a great disposition that allows every horse to feel happy and comfortable under saddle and in hand. Aysia is at every lesson 45 minutes early, eager to get her horse ready, and is always polite. After her ride, she cares for the horse and sweeps her spot. She showed skill, maturity, and drive at her very first dressage show in August. Aysia and Ike pulled excellent scores in a competitive division. We are very lucky to have her on our team! Aysia, you should be so proud of all your progress. In every lesson, I see you learn something new and I never see you lose your patience. Teaching you is an absolute pleasure every single time.
August 2016, Karyn's Student
Not many riders develop a love for dressage at a young age. However, Analia has always had the patience to become a good dressage rider. This patience is a rare trait that not many riders possess. Over her years of riding with us, she has developed one of the most consistent body positions. Her eagerness to learn is impressive to us all - especially Karyn, as Analia has borrowed several dressage training and exercise books to further her knowledge. At the MDA show in August, her and Kassie placed first and second in several classes. She is respectful to the horses and everyone at the barn. She cleans up after the horse and herself, by neatly putting away equipment and sweeping our spot. We are excited where your learning will take you!!
July 2016, Nataly's Student
Grace has always been a great listener and tries her hardest in every ride. Showing success in the equitation shows, she is now preparing to start away competitions. Recently, Grace took Fritz to two cross country schoolings. Grace struggled with controlling her nerves and fear at the first schooling - overwhelmed, she simply practiced getting comfortable on course. During her lessons the next week, Grace showed outstanding progress, just from what she learned schooling. She attacked the cross country course the second schooling, getting over every jump she set her mind to. We are so excited for her first derby and dressage show next month! We are very proud of her.
July 2016, Karyn's Student
Hannah Quail has shown incredible passion and determination since day one. She joined our team in 2013, taking riding lessons simply to be able to ride her uncles horse. What started as a birthday gift, instantly became Hannah's passion, her calling. She spent every bit of money she earned babysitting to attend camp that summer. Her eagerness to learn was acknowledged and admired by all. Over the years, Hannah has become a highly valued member of the Bit By Bit team, as a worker, teacher, and competitor. After out growing Blue skill wise, Hannah moved on to reschooling Toby. The two connected quickly as a team. Re-teaching Toby was frustrating, physically and mentally challenging, but Hannah was not about to give up. Toby used to score 50+ dressage scores at events, where you want the lowest score. At Honey Run Horse Trials, Hannah and Toby scored his lowest ever score, a 37.1. Toby also had a super bad habit of eliminating out cross-country by refusing a jump 3 times. Hannah and Toby went clear on jump penalties and time at Honey Run. The pair finished in ninth. Soon after the two competed at the MDA Dressage Show, where they scored a 63%, two 66%, and a 68% - two firsts, and second, and third. Hannah's skills have developed so quickly, that she will be moving on to competing other horses at higher levels. We are so proud of Hannah and everything she does - around the barn, on the website, spirit wear, and even more!
June 2016, Nataly's Student
It is easy for riders - especially young riders, to feel pressured to become good very quickly. Ellie used to struggle accepting constructive criticism, handling her frustrations, and let her emotions get the best of her. Preparing to move up to First Level at her first competition of the year, Ellie has put forth nothing but her best. Her attitude, riding, and focus over the past month has been exceptional - recognized by many of her peers. We are extremely excited to see her hard work pay off this coming weekend at Waterloo.
June 2016, Karyn's Student
Bad habits aren't always easily identified. These habits are often overlooked and detrimental to a rider's progression. She captured our attention and respect quickly because her willingness to focus on the basic fundamentals of Dressage - even though she has experience in the higher levels. This type of rider, a persistent perfectionist, thrives in Dressage. Ellie works hard on every horse, in every lesson, no matter the level. She studies theory and reads to increase her understanding of the horse, making her stand out to Karyn and others.
May 2016, Nataly's Student
Caroline has been riding at Bit by Bit for about five years and over that time, Nataly has seen her struggle with many fears. Once a very timid rider, Caroline is now learning to be bold and correctly assertive through any challenge presented. Previously riding at another barn, she had bad experiences with one pony in particular, Skeeter. Caroline came to Bit by Bit, and coincidentally, so did Skeeter. At first, Caroline was apprehensive at the thought of riding him again. However, the two learned great amounts about balanced riding and discovered they make a great team! Now, Skeeter is the only horse she rides. Caroline has worked diligently to get over fears with jumping and the falls that will accompany it. Just recently, she and Skeeter competed in their first eventing derby and demonstrated emense bravery, skill, and paitence. Her work with Skeeter has done great things for his confidence, as well. Not only do we recognize her progress as a rider, but also her responsibilities as a horse-person and part of the Bit by Bit Team. We are proud of you in every way!
May 2016, Karyn's Student
Shaina has one of the most positive attitudes and open minds that we have had the pleasures of teaching. Shaina rode with Nataly when she was a young beginner, and was always attentive and eager to learn. Improving over the years, Shaina is now riding with Karyn, and still maintains those wonderful qualities that make her a great student. The theory of Dressage is difficult to grasp, but Shaina is disciplined in understanding without becoming forceful. Dressage is mentally and physically challenging, and a good rider must always remember that it takes time to develop these skills. Shaina has always put forth her best when riding, and especially while working. She works tacking up horses and managing the schedule in the barn, while keeping a smile on her face. Karyn always enjoys teaching you, and we all enjoy having you on our team!
April 2016, Nataly's student
It is important for kids to take their time to learn correctly and be the best rider they can be. For the short time she's been riding with us, Zoe shows incredible patience with herself and the horses she rides. It is easy to focus so much on success that we forget about the fun. Zoe has shown great patience and kept an open mind towards learning. She is caring towards the horses, keeping them comfortable around her, which is a beautiful characteristic. You are a great rider - keep working hard and riding for the fun!
April 2016, Karyn's Student
Alexis has shown excellent patience and discipline in her lessons, her horse, and herself. Not only does she show a positive energy and attitude in the saddle, but around the barn and other students as well. Alexis has evented for many years, transitioning from one difficult horse to another, and she never fails to respect her horse, love her horse, and continue working hard towards becoming a better rider. Experiencing her fair share of good rides and bad rides, Alexis shows an incredible passion for the sport. While maintaining a great balance of buckling down and paying attention to learning, she never lets the stress of the sport bring her down and limit her fun. We are proud to have such a good-hearted person on our team.
Bit By Bit Equestrian Center
3150 Stoney Creek Rd.
Oakland, MI 48363
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