Heather Beachem has been riding for almost twenty years. She started taking lessons at four, but was on a horse’s back way before then. Heather comes from a long line of equestrians. Her mom, dad, aunt, and cousins all rode growing up, and quickly put Heather on their ponies while still in diapers. Her father rode saddlebreds so there was all sorts of interesting bridles, bits, old brushes, and old pictures floating around her childhood home. This intrigued her and she quickly fell in love with riding too. Before riding dressage, Heather originally started in the hunter-jumper ring, and also rode in the equitation divisions.
When Heather was seven, the 1996 Olympics came to Atlanta, which impacted her life forever. Her parents entered the lottery for tickets and got tickets to the jumping and dressage events. This was her first taste of international competition as well as her first time seeing dressage. Watching Michelle, Steffen, Günter, and Robert was entrancing and mysterious as well. This led to her curiosity about dressage that would not come to life until years later.
Heather competed in the local circuit, AAHJA, when she was ten through twelve, always winning year end awards in the equation divisions. She then moved up to the ‘A’ circuit where she competed her horse Rainman. In high school Heather was a part of her school’s IEA team, and led the team to Nationals her junior year after a big win at the Regional Finals. After she graduated she went to Auburn University in Alabama, where she met a girl at the barn she was boarding at who rode dressage. She had her show her how to put her horse ‘on the bit’ and quickly became infatuated with the art of dressage.
Heather competed in the lower levels before buying Windsong, Puff, with her trainer Karen Lipp. Karen has guided Heather, and while shopping for Puff always found horses for her to ride and earn on. In 2010 Karen offered Heather a working student position which she gladly accepted and continues to enjoy. With Puff, Heather was a member of the Region III Young Rider Team, and competed in Kentucky at the NAJYRC.
Making it to Young Riders was such an honor, and getting her USA Young Rider patch was a moment she will never forget. That year she also received an invitation to compete in the USEF/Collecting Gaits Farm Dressage Festival of Champions, as one of the Top 12 riders in the nation, as well as earned her USDF Silver Medal.
In late 2010, Heather started competing in the Grand Prix. She earned her USDF Gold Medal under the tutelage of trainer Karen Lipp, and received an invitation to the 2011 USEF Festival of Champions, this time in the National Young Adult “Brentina Cup” division, finishing third.
Most recently Heather returned to Gladstone, NJ for the 2012 USEF Festival of Champions/ Olympic Selection Trials, where she again contested the National Young Adult “Brentina Cup” division, this time finishing Reserve Champion. Currently Heather is continuing her education under Karen Lipp, and hoping to get a young horse to bring up the levels soon.