We brought you the story of the Lucibello sisters back in the summer of 2018. They’ve accomplished so much since that we thought we would revisit these phenomenal athletes and their horses. First, their story, as originally told – and stick around for the end for what they’re up to now…
EMY: You have to have time – it’s a big part of it. But also hanging out with them – not just getting on and getting off, but like feeding them treats and getting to know them personally
AVA: When you meet the right horse you just kind of click with them. And then know how they ride and how they want you to ride them. Ya, you just bond easily.
Ava and Emy Lucibello have been riding virtually their entire life. Family trips to Texas when they were younger led the family to a stable… and they’ve been show-jumping ever since.
For the rider, experiencing growth in the sport is only half the equation. Bonding with the horse and learning their personality and quirks is the other half.
AVA: When I get on she squeals and lifts her head and wags her tail. And when I go over the jumps she kicks and gets happy and excited
Where do they train?
Ava used to jump with her horse named Opera but has a new horse named Chris. Emy still gallivants with her partner, Blue.
Highly respected trainer, Lynn Jayne, works out of this slice of paradise – Our Day Farm. She helps the Lucibello sisters bond with their companions.
LYNN: You want to be apart of their motion and you do a lot of work early on trying to get that natural feel
Now the family travels around the country, performing at competitions in Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania – hot spots for show jumping. However, Ava and Emy compete in different disciplines… Ava in jumpers, Emy in Equitation. As for what that means…?
What are the Different Disciplines?
AVA: For hunter, they judge on the horse – if the horse is flow-y or elegant. For equitation, its based on the rider and if they have good position… heels down and looks pretty. Then jumper, there’s no judge, just the timer.
EMY: Some courses have difficult jumps like a triple jump while other courses will have weird lines with different strides
And while these riders make it look easy… galloping around with a natural flow, it takes years of training to grow accustomed to maneuvering such a large animal.
LYNN: If you think about it, it’s probably 100 or 150 pound person getting a 1000+ pound animal to do what they want it to do. So they have to have leverage and have to be thinking ahead at all times.
As Emy sees it, her future could take her in three directions… all involved her on horse back.
EMY: You could become a pro like a trainer… there’s also NCAA… then there’s also doing it for fun when you’re growing up.
Update on the Lucibellos
And at this point in the original story, we told you that Emy was aspiring to compete at the NCAA level.
Not only has the Naperville Central student-athlete verbally committed TCU to compete collegiately after she graduates in 2021, she has found immense success the last two years. In 2019 alone, she won events at WEF, Equifest and Country Heir among others… and in multiple disciplines.
Ava has also continued making leaps and bounds – placing fifth in a field of 87 at the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival. She also kicked off 2020 on a high note as the winner of the Dover Medal and NHS Medal at the World Equestrian Center. She too hopes to ride collegiately after graduating in 2022.
Reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman