February 16, 2023
Los Angeles local Zoie Brogdon first began her equestrian journey while at a summer camp nine years ago. The now eighteen-year-old may not have hailed from an equestrian family, but it was clear that she was meant to be in the saddle.
Zoie trains with & represents the Compton Junior Equestrians, an equestrian, academic & leadership program developed to serve inner city youth. Under their show team (helmed by trainer Victoria Faerber), Zoie has shined in Children's Jumper rings.
Some of her recent successes include Individual Gold in Children's Jumpers at the 2021 Markel/USHJA Zone 9 & 10 Jumper Team Championships, Reserve Champion in the Children's Jumpers at the Marshall & Sterling Insurance/USHJA 2021 National Championships, & was the Year End USHJA 2021 Zone 10: Horse of the Year Champion (Children’s Jumpers).
This month, we caught up with Zoie to discuss her start in the sport, her goals as she enters her collegiate & post-junior career & some of her favorite moments thus far. To keep up with Zoie & her equestrian journey, follow her on Instagram @iamzoienoelle.
Q: Introduce yourself to the EquiFit audience.
A: My name is Zoie Noelle Brogdon, and I am 18 years old and a senior in high school. I ride with Compton Jr. Equestrians (formerly Compton Jr. Posse), and our Show Team (along with our trainer Victoria Faerber) recently moved to a new home in Thousand Oaks, California. I also ride with George Bittar of Bittar Stables at Hansen Dam Horse Park. I compete in the jumper arena and sometimes catch ride in the equitation arena.
Q: How did you get started in riding?
A: Funny story because I started riding out of necessity. I don’t come from an equestrian family and my parents didn’t know anything about English riding. When I was 9 years old, my parents needed to find a summer camp for me for just two weeks before school started back. At that time, my mom worked in Burbank, California which is an equestrian neighborhood. One day during her lunch break, as she was driving to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center to see if they had a summer program, she stumbled upon Silver Spurs and signed me up. After my first day at Silver Spurs, the owner told my mom that this was “my thing,” and that she should find someplace that could train me to compete. My mom found Compton Jr. Posse and that is where my equestrian journey began.
Q: What would you say has been the most pivotal moment of your riding career so far?
A: The most pivotal moment would probably be winning Individual Gold at USHJA Team Jumper Championships in 2021. I went into the competition not very confident because I was randomly picked to be first out of the gate each day. Not being able to watch other riders before me or being able to gauge my speed, I felt put me at a disadvantage. However, because of having clean rides throughout the competition, I earned myself a chance to compete for an individual medal. As the saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race”.
Q: What are your short term and long term goals for the sport?
A: My short-term goals are to compete and be successful in the 1.30m jumper classes this season, earn a spot once again at Team Jumper Championships and Nationals, as well as ride on a college equestrian team in the fall. My long-term goals are to represent the United States in international competitions.
Q: Tell us about a horse that has made a lasting impact personally and/or professionally.
A: Other than my own horse Emilion (aka Ninja), Sunny comes to mind. Sunny is a fast pony I used to ride while at CJE, and he loved to buck. A lot of kids were scared to ride Sunny. But I was a daredevil and couldn’t wait to ride him each week. I think I developed a good seat because of Sunny - I had to figure out how not to get thrown off. I loved that horse!
Q: If you had to swap disciplines, what style of riding would you move towards?
A: I would most definitely ride western. I live for the thrill of the speed and to barrel race was actually a short-lived passion of mine. I would always beg Kiara (a western rider and a member of the Compton Cowboys) to come and teach me how to barrel race. I did get a couple lessons out of her, and it was so much fun. Truth be told, I sometimes set up mini obstacles in the jumper arena in the pattern for barrels and make Ninja play cowgirl with me.
Q: What's your funniest horse show moment?
A: One time while competing at a West Palms Event at Flintridge Riding Club, I was in my jump-off round of a class and I decided to go full speed at a vertical to a roll back, and I accidentally jumped an oxer backwards because I was going too fast for the turn I was trying to make, and it was in the way of my turn. It would have been one of my best rounds to date, except for this unfortunate mistake. I still laugh at that today.