No horsing around: Amsterdam girl moving up in equestrian world – The Recorder

February 17, 2019 - Comment

Photo submitted Martina Rose Coppola rounds a barrel on her horse, Smart Lil’ Lucy.  By WINNIE BLACKWOOD Recorder News Staff TOWN OF AMSTERDAM — Martina Rose Coppola has been riding horses since she was a baby and for almost all of the 11 years of her life, the young girl has worked towards many accomplishments

Photo submitted

Martina Rose Coppola rounds a barrel on her horse, Smart Lil’ Lucy. 


Recorder News Staff

TOWN OF AMSTERDAM — Martina Rose Coppola has been riding horses since she was a baby and for almost all of the 11 years of her life, the young girl has worked towards many accomplishments in the equestrian world under several disciplines. 

Martina Rose, is the daughter of Pasquale and Jean Marie Coppola, owners of County Line Stables, a private boarding and training barn, in Amsterdam on Route 67. 

“We have a picture of her as a baby sitting on a horse leading her,” Pasquale said. 

Winnie Blackwood/Recorder staff Martina Rose Coppola stands on the back of her horse, Bracewood Picture Perfect, or also known as Sadie.

Jean Marie or Pasquale would hold their infant daughter, as the other parent lead the horse around. At 3 years old, Martina Rose was riding by herself on her two Shetland ponies and received her very first blue ribbon, where many more would come to follow. 

Her parents say they are raising a champion, who is interested in learning every facet there is to know about horsemanship, including helping her parents train horses and learning disciplines like barrel racing, dressage, cross country and trick riding to name just a few.  

“My passion is English,” Jean Marie said. “His passion is Western, so that’s why she does both because I feel dressage is very much like his horsemanship. It teaches you that strict foundation that you can use no matter what you are doing.”

Dressage is a discipline where horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements. 

Their daughter’s latest accomplishment in the barrel racing world is securing a sponsorship as a 2019 youth sponsored rider for Midland Barrels and Dickies by Design & Western Flair. 

A barrel race is a rodeo event in which each competitor rides their horse in a clover leaf pattern around three barrels, competing to get it done in the fastest time possible. 

Pasquale said they did not go out looking for a sponsorship, but they were approached and asked by Midland Barrels. 

“I feel really good about it,” Martina Rose said. 

Martina Rose trained her horse Smart Lil’ Lucy, or know just as Lucy, to properly maneuver around the barrels.

“I help her, but I let her get on the horse and she works the horse,” Pasquale said. “Obviously I’m there. If she has a lot of trouble, then I’ll get on the horse, but most of the time she’s the one doing it. The barrel horse she’s got right now the horse was started, somewhat safe, but she’s the one who did the work to get it to that point, where it is at right now.” 

Martina Rose reiterated her father’s statement and said her and her father finished the work to make Lucy a trained barrel racing horse. While Martina Rose participates in clinics and takes lessons, her parents are the ones primarily training her. 

Winnie Blackwood/Recorder staff
Martina Rose Coppola shows of her trick riding skills on her horse, Bracewood Picture Perfect, or also known as Sadie.

Martina Rose said she is also helping her father train another barrel racing horse that she wants to compete on. 

Jean Marie quoted horse trainer George Morris saying that today’s society is raising “show kids,” which she and her husband make sure their daughter is not.  

“They are not raising horsemen,” Jean Marie said. “These kids are handed a horse. Their parents bought them a horse or whatever. They go lease a horse. The horse – they get handed to them, do their show, get off and they have nothing to do with the horse.”

While other children are opening their presents and playing with their new toys on Christmas morning, Martina Rose is out taking care of her horses and doing her chores after opening a few presents. 

Martina Rose said training her horses can be difficult in the beginning, but the final product is worth it at the end. Whenever she wanted to give up if something was too hard, her parents encouraged her to keep trying, because one day her effort will turn into a success. 

“I get very frustrated, but the thing is you can’t get mad, you can’t flip out when you are on them,” Martina Rose said. 

Martina Rose is one of the first people at their barn handling the foals born at the facilities to allow them to become accustomed to human touch before their actual training begins. 

Martina Rose began learning how to barrel race a few years ago, but once her dressage horse Bracewood Picture Perfect, or known as Sadie, became pregnant in 2018, that is when she began to focus more on the rodeo event and traveling across the North East to compete. In 2017, Martina Rose joined the National Barrel Racing Association and then became a member of Midland Barrels, where competitions are held at the Fonda Fairgrounds.

In her first year of competitive barrel racing, she placed first in the 5D Youth Division and qualified for 2-Youth Slots in the World Championship Finals in Georgia. Her other accomplishments so far in the barrel racing world include earning the titles of 3D Open Midland Members Champion, 3D Midland Youth Champion, NBHA 08’ 1D Youth Reserve Champion, 3D 3rd Place and 4D Reserve Champion.

Along with her secured sponsorship this year, Martina Rose also won the “CLS Happy 2019” 3D Open Barrel Race that was a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association Co-Sanctioned First Frontier Circuit race hosted by County Line Stables in January. 

Martina Rose has also been successful riding Sadie in competitions, including winning the New York State Saddle Horse Association Year End Championship awards, Eastern New York Dressage & Combined Training Association Year End Champion awards, state fair championships in dressage/ eventing, English and gymkhana divisions and received the title of 2017 Year End Reserve Champion in the National Dressage Pony Cup in Dressage.

“She’s dedicated,” Jean Marie said. “I’m proud there’s just no other words…I’m proud more so not just because she’s good at the one thing she does, she’s just good at anything she applies herself to in the equestrian world. She puts that determination in and she worked hard to accomplish it.” 

“I’m just glad she’s doing so well,” Pasquale said. “She’s got a long ways to go yet. I put a lot of pressure on her as far as doing the right things with the horses. I keep on telling her, horsemanship is – number one – you learn how to figure out how to get along with your horse, and how to teach them to do things and you can do anything you want.”

Martina Rose said her favorite thing to do on her horses is to ride them bareback. Another discipline Martina Rose likes to do for fun is to trick ride, doing stunts like roman riding, where a rider stands with one foot on the back of each of two horses driven as a pair at a fast pace. 

Another trick riding stunt Martina Rose performs bareback is the hippodrome on one of her ponies, where she stands on top of a horse while the animal usually gallops around the arena and going over jumps. 

The adrenaline rush is what drives Martina Rose to continue practicing trick riding, she said. 

Pasquale and Jean Marie say they continue to instill in their daughter a hard working ethic and help her further her career in the equestrian world, so she has a future in it when she is an adult. 

“This is what she wants to do,” Pasquale said. “She keeps on telling me she wants to be a trainer when she grows up.”

When she grows up, Martina Rose also wants to take over her parents stables.

Along with her accomplishments Martina Rose successfully juggles her studies as a homeschooled student. 

“I ride everyday, no matter what,” Martina Rose said.

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