Wellington, FL - The 12-Week Winter Equestrian Festival has come to a close, but for amateur rider Eirin Bruheim of Nordic Lights Farm, the year is just beginning. Throughout the season, Bruheim has been competing under the tutelage of Olympian Norman Dello Joio with her talented string of young mounts in the Open Jumpers and High Amateur-Owner Jumpers, earning top placings against the world's best horse and rider combinations. NLF Favorite, NLF Newsflash and NLF Billy on Show have consistently moved up throughout the season, learning the ropes as they go with Bruheim in the irons.
"I think that bringing along young horses is a hard process simply because of the need for patience," explained Bruheim. "If the horse jumps great one week, you feel a pressure to move up. For most horses, that is not the best way to build their confidence or your partnership together. For me, it's balancing my ambitions and expectations with patience and common sense. I have some very special horses, and they all deserve the time to build themselves."
Although Bruheim has been competing with NLF Favorite in the 1.45m Open Jumpers this summer in Europe, she and Dello Joio made the decision to lower the jumps during season and focus on rideability. "I could get her in the ring almost every week and work on the riding in a familiar situation," noted Bruheim. "I decided that she was worth the time to step back and work on the basics, calm her mind and build our relationship. The last weeks she began jumping in the same high classes we did in Europe, the difference however was marked."
Bruheim also was able to return to the ring with NLF Billy On Show during the later weeks of the circuit after a long break. "Billy needed some building up, but he had loads of experience so moving him up took little to no time. He was really ready to get back in the ring, so he was so great to have back this circuit. Billy is a hot horse. At home he can work for 45 minutes and be as fresh as the minute he walked out. Riding him is more of a discussion than the others."
"NLF Newsflash had the best move up this season," continued Bruheim. "He was my main horse this circuit and began jumping in the bigger classes. For him, he was finally able to step up and show me how much he wanted to do well in these classes. He matured so much, and it was a delight to see that. Flash needs more strength work than my other horses because he is so big and a bit uncoordinated. However, it works riding all of them because they are all eager to please and love to jump."
While Bruheim was showing in both the Open Jumpers and the High Amateur-Owner Jumpers, she had different goals in each class. "For me, the Amateur-Owners are more competitive, because I know that if I ride well I have a chance to do well in those classes. In the Open Jumpers, I am a newcomer for the most part. On my younger horses it is more about putting in good rounds, especially when there are 100+ riders. With Billy, however, I feel the same pressure for the two divisions because I know he has all the experience, and I can rely on that and give it a go in either division."
Bruheim concluded, "I think my biggest accomplishment this season was bringing Newsflash up the levels. This summer, he was sort of slotted as the second horse, but during WEF he was front and center and just rose to every challenge. It was amazing to experience and I am so glad it happened."
During the last week of WEF, Eirin's sister Lene Bruheim made a triumphant return to the show ring. Currently focusing on college, Lene was aboard her veteran mount NLF Valhall to compete in the Low Adult Jumpers, where they earned third and eighth place ribbons.
This summer, Bruheim and Nordic Lights Farm will compete at the Old Salem Horse Show and Spruce Meadows before traveling to Europe to show during the Global Champions Tour. Bruheim stated, "I am looking forward to getting into a few more international classes and working on getting experience with my great string of horses."
Working closely with Dello Joio has also helped Bruheim achieve her success this season. "Norman has been so helpful this year," she commented. "I know that myself and my horses would not have been able to achieve what we did without him, and I am really looking forward to the rest of year."
Nordic Lights Farm is a 70-acre establishment located in Tomball, TX, that was founded in 2007 by the Bruheim family to help further the equestrian goals of 20-year-old Eirin Bruheim and 18-year-old Lene Bruheim. Both girls have worked their way up through the ranks and are currently competing at the top levels in the hunter and jumper divisions aboard their incredible string of horses.