Equestrian Major Gets London Experience
Dylan Handy ’13
Through a summer internship, senior equestrian major Dylan Handy traveled to London, England, where he not only gained valuable industry experience but also witnessed the 2012 Olympics.
After spending the summer of 2011 in Germany training horses, Handy fell in love with Europe and wanted to see more. During summer of 2012, he ventured to Essex, England, where he interned for Mett and Michel Assouline, two top-level dressage trainers at Assouline Dressage.
“I knew I wanted to go back to Europe because I loved Germany so much,” said Handy. “I looked online for potential jobs in Europe.”
Assouline Dressage was not looking for interns at the time but liked Handy’s résumé and created a position for him. Handy turned down internship offers from Maryland, Chicago, Florida and California to travel to England. Handy gained a lot of riding experience in the barn while meeting many horses and attending numerous horse shows.
“A lot of the internship was getting up early and helping with stable chores, and after we helped the trainers ride their horses, we had a group of horses that we got to ride,” said Handy. “They had horses I was assigned to train and would teach me as I worked with the horse.”
He also made lifelong friends who made a great effort to show Handy around London and introduce him to their culture.
“I was there during the Queen’s Jubilee. I also saw the Queen’s palace, Big Ben, the London Eye and all of London,” said Handy.
With the Olympics held in London and after watching the Olympic torch go through town, another huge opportunity opened up for him.
“The people I worked with had enough connections where they were able to set up a meeting for me to have dinner with the U.S. Olympic dressage team,” said Handy. “It was definitely a star-struck moment to have dinner with all of my role models.”
Handy met all of the competitors and their horses who he has read about in magazines and watched on TV, including Stephen Peters, a competitor he has followed since childhood. He also met three-time Olympic winner Debbie McDonald.
“I was able to get tickets to the Olympics and watch the Grand prix freestyles and watch the people I met compete,” said Handy. “I wore my American flag, but also rooted for Britain.”
Handy said that it was a big year for London in equestrian events because not only was it the first time that the British won all of their equestrian events, but for the first time, they also beat Germany.
“Alone, the internship was worth it, but getting to meet the Olympians and watch the Olympics was a great experience with great networking,” said Handy. “Now I have great connections, and they offered me a job to come back and work there when I graduate.”
Handy would prefer to stay in the U.S. for a while after spending two summers abroad, but now has lifelong friends and connections in England.
“It has made me a better rider, it has improved my feel in riding and trained my eyes,” said Handy. “They train a little bit different than we do here, and it was good to see a different perspective and learn from that.”
Written by Sarah Foltz