Featured Rider: Dr. Laurel Blakemore

Sometimes it is hard to balance a full-time career and chase a lifelong dream, but avid equestrian and Chief Executive Officer of Pediatric Specialists of Virginia, Dr. Laurel Blakemore, excels in both worlds. After flying to Ocala for the first time this season for the 2023 HITS Ocala Winter Series on Thursday evening, Blakemore and her mare Angel’s Envy bested the competition, winning the 1.20m Open Jumpers Friday morning.

“I hadn’t ridden in three weeks,” expressed Blakemore. “I have the best horses for my routine. I’ve had Angel’s Envy for a while, about 6 years, and she’s really good. She’s really competitive and always tries, never a quitter.”

After a strong start, the week continued to be a success for Blakemore and her other mounts. Blakemore’s gelding Folsom secured a victory in the $5,000 Medium Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic, as well as the Alpha Omega Healthy Horse Award, while her 21-year-old gelding Crossfire competed in the same class.

Laurel Blakemore and Folsom

“I got Folsom a year-and-a-half ago, and he’s a very high-energy horse,” commented Blakemore. “He’s very exuberant – bucks after almost every jump in the schooling ring. He’s a high-spirited, big guy, but he jumps amazingly. He’ll never give up on you.”

When she’s not in the show ring, Blakemore works as an orthopedic surgeon in Fairfax, Virginia primarily specializing in spinal surgery. Oftentimes, she finds herself traveling for weeks at a time, the CEO of the multispeciality pediatric group not getting to ride or show as much as she’d like. Nonetheless, she takes comfort in knowing she has a great farm manager who keeps the wheels on the bus for her while she’s away.

“Working with Dana [Waters] is great,” said Blakemore. “I feel like I ride the best when I’m with her. She really tries to think about every rider and horse combination and what will be best for them to be laser-focused.”

Even though Blakemore does not come to Ocala regularly, she feels riding at HITS offers a special opportunity for her to enjoy her passion. For Blakemore, it makes competitive weekends like this one all the more rewarding!