Photo by Britt Gillis
Name: Ema Klugman
Location: Maryland, USA
We chatted with Ema to find out more about her horses, career and ambitions…
Ema caught the horse bug in Nairobi, Kenya of all places. She took her first lessons down the road on a very naughty pony named Hedgehog. Once back in the States, she went through the ranks of Pony Club, eventually earning her A-traditional and A-show jumping ratings. By 14, Ema had gone preliminary and believed that eventing was a thrill unmatched by any other sport. Ema has been lucky to work for a number of professionals, including Packy McGaughan and Marilyn Little, learning the management and training side of producing world-class athletes.
Who is the biggest influence in your career so far?
Packy McGaughan. He has coached me since I was about 13 years old, and he also found my two geldings for me. When you think about it, it’s pretty remarkable that he picked out two novice-level horses for a young teenager to ride, and they ended up being my first three-star horses a few years down the line. Beyond that, he is an absolute master at his craft—he knows so much theory, so many different techniques, and he loves what he does. I have so much to thank him for.
What is the highlight of your career to date?
Last year I finished in the top-20 of the Great Meadow Nations Cup CIC***, which was a great moment for me and my team. I also completed Fair Hill CCI***, which had been a goal for a long time because it is one of the hardest three-days in North America.
Can you share your best advice with us?
Never underestimate a horse, especially if he gives you a special feeling. These creatures will do anything for you if you get them on your side.
What are your goals for the future?
I would like to compete at the four-star level in the next few years, and continue loving the process and getting better everyday.
Tell us about your horses
Bendigo: This Trakhener/TB is a jumping machine with a huge heart. Bought as an upper level prospect, he has been a wonderful partner to bring up from novice to three-star.
Joker’s Win: This TB has lots of personality and loves to goof off. He has never had a XC jumping penalty in his life. He can gallop around a three-star one day and give someone a pony ride the next—he’s a generous soul.
Bronte Beach Z: This young Zangersheide mare is a bit of a princess, but she has incredible movement and scope. Bred as a show jumper, she is trying her hand at the eventing world, currently at Training level.
What’s most important to you when you’re buying a horse?
There are lots of important things I consider—movement, jumping ability, conformation, disposition. But I think in the end you have to really enjoy the horse. Is it a horse you want to ride every day of the week? Is it a horse that brings you joy to sit on? If the horse gives me a special feeling, a connection, that is a great indication of what they can become.
What are your favourite Shires Equestrian products?
The ARMA Cross Country Boots are robust and unmovable—I trust that they will protect my horses’ legs and never slip.
I also love the ARMA Tendon Boots for show jumping—they are easy to put on and take off, lightweight, and protective.
Keep up-to-date with Ema and her horses here: