The originator of Judge My Ride, Noelle King was barely 3 years old when her mother held her up over the neighbors fence in Wisconsin to see her sisters riding horses at their neighbors farm. She spotted a black and white pinto named Poncho and from that day forward an image of a horse was emblazoned on her brain. Soon after, her family was transferred from Wisconsin to Atlanta. Regardless, of their change in residence, Noelle pestered her parents to let her ride horses until they finally gave in when she was 12.
Then, the inevitable happened, and she fell in love with a beautiful blood bay horse at the barn where she took lessons. With great distinction, she remembers overhearing her father tell her mother: “Claudette, she’s relentless, we may as well just give in now and save the aggravation! “ The horse was an incredibly talented Appendix named Captain. She did some Local GHJA and “A” shows until she sold him before graduating high school. While attending the University of Georgia, she was involved with the Equestrian team before it was declared a Varsity NCAA sport. The team pretty much got to run the barn. And Noelle and the other riders would bring team horses home over the summer to continue working with them. While at the University of Georgia, Noelle was selected by the esteemed Dr. Judith Shaw to study Abroad at Oxford University in England. There she completed half her course work for her degree, studying Shakespeare and Medieval Literature. Her Oxford experience paid off with an internship at CNN before landing the dream internship, and eventually job, of being the Historic Researcher for Mary Rose Taylor at the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta. The birth place of “Gone with the Wind,” the Margaret Mitchell House gave Noelle the incredible privilege of gleaning new information from friends and family who knew Mitchell, and reveal new insight into the life of Mitchell, the author of the most popular novel of all time. Initially the house was in ruin and Noelle had the honor of learning from Atlanta’s prominent leaders and businesses who joined forces to restore the historic site before the 1996 Olympic games. Ironically, Mitchell started writing “Gone with the Wind” while laid up nursing a nagging injury after a fall from her horse, and Noelle got back into horses to assuage her heartbreak after the Mitchell house was set on fire by persons hoping the project to honor Mitchell would not succeed. Miraculously, despite the vandals best efforts, Margaret Mitchell’s apartment, located within the house, was untouched by the flames. The house was able to be restored with its’ historic integrity uncompromised.
Her time off during the renovation of the house and her subsequent return to riding led her to cross paths with the horse that would grace her life and her family’s life for 12 years, Wulfie, or as he was known on the show circuit, “Beowulf.” When she left the Mitchell House two years later, she became a Sales Rep in the Equine Industry for top companies like Arc De Triomphe, Equine Textiles, Heythrop and Bond Boot Company. When home from traveling her territory from Florida to Virginia, Noelle returned home to Georgia to adore her beloved Wulfie, who was a stunning 17 hand Chestnut Thoroughbred with chrome. He was huge and built like a Warmblood. His talent, achievements, impressive background on the track and in the show ring, beauty, intelligence, kindness and especially personality, were larger than life. He left an indelible impression on the many lives he touched and was even honored by the IEA Zone 4 when they named their perpetual Sportsmanship award after him when he passed away in 2008. Noelle’s love of Wulfie, riding him, grooming him, talking about him, filming him whenever possible – in and out of the show ring inspired her ideas after his passing to start Judge My Ride. Her fellow equestrian friend, Jennifer Parson, introduced her to famous riders Jen was privileged to ride with. Jen often spoke of how she rode at the top of her game when she trained with Rob Gage. Jen and Noelle called him together one day, and as Noelle got to know Rob, she recognized what a privilege it was to be able to have a rider and trainer of that caliber available to learn from via cell or Facebook. She told Rob of her idea to give riders extensive feed back, on not only photos, but video. But Noelle did not think anyone would be willing to take on that sort of investment of time doing video evaluations. Rob replied: “I actually prefer to see videos, as it gives me a better idea of what’s going on in between the jumps. Then you can get down to the brass tacks of what can really help these riders and horses keep winning” Noelle replied to Rob: ”If that is the case Rob, and you can handle the intensity of devoting that kind of time to give this feedback, then we could really have something here. We could test it on Facebook first and work out the kinks and see the response.“ Excitedly, Noelle called her friend Jen Parson to tell her how the idea she had been formulating – just took shape with Rob. Jen replied stunned: “that’s an incredible idea, one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard. You have to do this Noelle. What should we name it?” Noelle hesitated for about 10 seconds and blurted out “Judge.. my.. Ride” and the company and Facebook pages were formed that evening. Knowing the vastness of the International horse loving community, and the capability to reach out to them via Facebook, Judge My Ride was born and we began our mission to give feedback from some the best professional Judges, Riders and Trainers in our sport – in a variety of disciplines – via a mere click on the Internet!