Industry Innovators L.A. Pomeroy

From a Notion to a Name With Publicist Extraordinaire L.A. Pomeroy

As one of the equestrian world’s most talented and passionate publicists, L.A. Pomeroy can single-handedly skyrocket an under-recognized individual and safely, as well as successfully, launch them into recognition. Outspoken yet complimentary, Lisa Ann (L.A. to the world) took the time to talk to us about how she came to this place.

On her birthday, no less, we discussed her humble beginnings and the journey that made her into the professional woman she is today. “You couldn’t catch me in a more philosophical or reminiscent mood!” she exclaims.

Horse Crazy
Like many who jump head first into the horse world, “It is possible to be a horse crazy little girl and to grow up and work in the industry,” L.A. explained with a passionate tone.

The journey began when L.A. hosted her own Breyer horse races and ‘covered’ the results on spiral-bound notepaper with two of her closest grade school friends. Through her father’s encouragement, she published a newsletter for her 4-H group at age 10. A writer from the start, her beginnings paved the path toward a significant career in the field of equestrian journalism.

L.A.’s father was a journalist during WWII, and would bring home the New York Daily News every day to follow the horse racing scores. After finishing the paper, L.A. would read the very same lines and stories. “While following the Daily News, I was able to follow the society and sports journalists’ alliterative, colorful styles, and horse racing news, from Canonero II to Secretariat.”

Growing up in a time where it was unusual for women to compete equally with men, L.A. developed an even deeper fascination with equestrian sport when she realized the even playing field.

“For a woman, equestrian sport is one of the only sports where men and women compete on the same level. You really can’t be a woman and not want to follow that. It’s the most level playing field a woman can ask for.”

Throughout her equestrian evolution she always relished being an all-around horsewoman. She competed in several different disciplines, including dressage and reining. “To this day I hold fast to the reason I took dressage. I still believe it is the best building block to any riding style.”

Laughingly she describes how she was training in dressage at age 9, before many others could even pronounce the word. To give an idea of when that was, on this day of her birth she quoted a French Proverb during our interview, “‘The 40s are the old age of youth – the 50s are the youth of old age.'”

In June, L.A. earned the honor of an American Horse Publications 2010 Editorial and Graphics Award in the category of best Freelance Writer Equestrian-related Journalism (print). The article that landed her this accomplishment was a moving piece published about Tracy Kujawa, the owner of Angel Heart Farm, an Arabian facility that provides therapeutic care to children facing cancer and other life-threatening diagnoses. As a three-time cancer survivor herself, the thought of starting a therapeutic farm came to Tracy in a dream.

“[In the dream] she was teaching riding lessons to bare-headed children. She had this clear picture in her head and knew this is what she was supposed to be doing,” L.A. recounted. “Compared to what I do, she is absolutely heroic.” And so L.A. brought her story to the horse world. The award was icing on the cake, not only for the reward of recognition, but also the expanded exposure it brought for Angel Heart Farm, including securing a $5,000 grant to help continue its programs.

An ‘A’ List
Some of L.A.’s past and current clients include the 1996 Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, Arenus/Sore No-More,, Holistic Horse Media, Horses in Art, Modern Arabian, NRHA The Reiner, Northeast Reining Horse Association, Reeves International/Breyer, Today’s Equestrian and the U.S. Equestrian Team.

Two years ago she accepted a Media Liaison position with the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). Aside from the obvious promotional tasks with the organization, she suggested nominating IHSA executive director, Bob Cacchione, for the 2010 USEF/Equus Humanitarian Award as well as the 10th annual Pfizer/AHP Equine Industry Vision Award (EIVA). Relying on her grant-writing experience as a development director, she crafted proposals that led to Cacchione, and the association he developed, earning both awards this year. Her notion led to honoring his name.

Being on a first-name basis with riders whom she idolized growing up marks right up there as among the most memorable experiences of her career.

L.A.’s talents were put to work as J. Michael Plumb’s personal voice for the Belvoir Publication’s monthly magazine, Mike Plumb’s Horse Journal, now called Horse Journal.

“I would drive to Mike’s facility north of Boston, he’d usually be finishing a ride or a lesson so I’d hang out, watch that, and then when he was done he’d dismount and I’d join him in the tack room and he’d philosophize about training or whatever the specific topic was. I’d take the notes, then go back to my desk and craft his advice column.

Being the ‘voice’ for one of the best athletes in the equestrian world was a highlight.

“Mike is still one of the very few American athletes, of any sport, to have represented his country in multiple (eight) Olympic Games and he is the first rider ever inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame. So to be the mouthpiece for the greatest eventing rider of our generation was tremendous.”

Some moments she calls “full circles,” where she began as a young, horse-crazy girl and now years later, is at the same place as a professional journalist.

“When I was a little girl, my folks would take the drive into Manhattan to the National Horse Show. Years later I was on the press team promoting the National, and it was a beautiful full circle.”

When asked what else she would like to accomplish during her career, she laughingly sighed and said, “It would be nice to be able to own a horse.” Other than this remark, she said her career to date, and it is far from over, has been a fulfilling journey.

Heroes like L.A. are the behind-the-scene storytellers who give our industry and the people in it well-deserved recognition. She has a true dedication for the sport, the horses and the people who love them as she does. Coming full circle repeatedly in a lifetime is a passionate person’s dream come true. L.A. is living that dream. We had a notion that her name deserved recognition.

Thank you L.A. for speaking to us on your celebratory day, so we could in turn celebrate you!

The Ins & Outs Of NCAA Teams

By Kathy Keeley

There are two choices if you want to ride on a college team in a formal program: NCAA varsity equestrian and IHSA collegiate teams. Many parents think the two are synonymous when in fact they are very different – from scholarships and show formats to athletic benefits.

While there are hundreds of club teams, IHSA, there are very few varsity teams – about 20 or so teams at the varsity level. Varsity teams are only allowed 15 total scholarships according to NCAA rules. They work under a budget and do not have unlimited scholarships. This makes it very competitive for a freshman to get a full scholarship.

The NCAA route: Steps to get on a team
Getting on a team has become more and more competitive as interest grows. Due to this it can be challenging for English riders to get on a team, and the challenge is greater if you want to be the one showing on the team.

• Go online and register with NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association. You cannot be recruited unless you have registered. You can find more information about this at:
• Make a video showing your riding skills on several different horses, including green ones. One segment can be on your show horse, but the others need to be at various levels of training. Wear britches, polo shirt, and tall boots for the video so you look professional. Demonstrate that you can do lead changes, jump different horses, and perform equitation on different mounts.
Note: With help from friends and the trainer, we videotaped my daughter riding seven horses from green broke to her fancy show horse.
• Write a resume of your riding experience starting with most recent. List your major wins including championships, blue ribbons, and riding experience. Include the resume with your videotape.
• Go on recruitment trips to 1-2 schools. Make an appointment with the coach, go on the admissions tour, and watch the team at a lesson or competition. Spend a couple of days getting a feel for the campus. Be prepared to answer the questions of why you want to be on their team and what you would contribute to the team.
• Follow-up and email the coaches. Keep them posted on any show success during your senior year. Some coaches receive over 200 videotapes, so communication is important. Most teams are put together in January and February, so have a plan B if you are not accepted on the team.

• Keep an open mind and look at several schools. Your chances of acceptance increase the more schools you are willing to consider.

3 important things to consider if you want to be on an NCAA team:
1. Early workouts: Girls are required under NCAA rules to work out in the weight room or training center three days a week, often at 6 a.m. You jog, lift weights, and use the exercise machines while working with a trainer assigned to your sport. Attendance is mandatory.
2. You work for your coach, not the reverse, as you may be used to if you show on the circuit. The coach is in charge. Team members do most of the work with the horses, from bathing, grooming, and braiding, to exercising the horses. There are no moms or grooms to assist.
3. Teams can be up to 50 -100 girls: Only four or five girls actually show in a competition from each team, which means that the majority of the team will be benchwarmers at the events.

My daughter’s story
My daughter chose to take the NCAA varsity team route. She liked that she was treated as a full college athlete with all of the privileges that male athletes receive, like tutors and advisors, study hall, community service, and early morning weight training. Other perks include early class registration, book pick up, and access to an athletic center with trainers.

Days are very busy, starting at 6:00 a.m. with weight training, classes, riding, team meetings, training room visits for massages, more classes, and then returning home to study at 5 pm. Her riding skills and confidence have grown significantly as she has learned to ride an unfamiliar horse with a three-minute warm-up and then ride an equitation course. I’ve watched her gradual transition from show rider to athlete and team member – a transition that required her to change her mindset, but it has paid off. She loves wearing her letter jacket and hanging out with the football and baseball teams—an athletic perk. She has found a place that’s not all females, another definite perk in her mind.

If you want to think ahead and prepare to get on a team, then here’s what we recommend:
Focus on equitation, get experience riding lots of different horses, and show in different places. Showing at the college level is all about equitation, so training in equitation as opposed to just the hunter or jumper rings is key. Years of riding experience helps, especially at a competitive level, which prepares you for handling the nerves, excitement and competition in different venues. Coaches may prefer riders who have some experience in other types of team sports and athletics because they understand team dynamics, athletics, and competition, whereas the show arena is an individual sport. Keep good records of your show history.

We have learned a lot by participating in the sport through the NCAA program. An entirely new perspective from the ‘A’ show circuit, varsity riding is not for everyone.

Think and look carefully about the fit for your competitive and collegiate goals. Web sites for more information:

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