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Mia Farley
Episode 987th June 2024 • Practical Horseman Podcast • Practical Horseman Podcast
00:00:00 00:37:20

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In today’s Practical Horseman podcast, brought to you by Purina, we’re speaking with 24-year-old eventing phenom Mia Farley. At her young age, Farley has already established a name for herself in the eventing sphere’s upper echelons for helping develop and produce young eventing horses.

Farley grew up in San Clemente, California, and started riding at the age of 3 under the tutelage of her mother, hunter/jumper trainer Rebecca Farley. While eventing wasn’t as prevalent in Southern California as it is in areas of the East Coast, Farley got a taste for the sport after tagging along to an event with barn friends. One of her first memorable mounts was a black-and-white pony named Oreo Cookie who she rode for her first recognized event at the age of 8.

After falling in love with sport of eventing and with her parents’ support, Farley moved to Middleburg, Virginia, in 2018 to train and work with legendary eventers David and Karen O’Connor and their O’Connor Event Team. This momentous decision helped launch the horsewoman’s eventing career to the next level.

After Farely’s success with mare BGS Firecracker, a 2010 Irish Sport Horse, at numerous upper-level events including the 2023 Cosequin Lexington CCI4*-S, a new “project” horse entered her life. Farley, however, never anticipated just how far she and Phelps, a plucky Off-the-Track Thoroughbred, would excel in eventing.

The bay gelding was originally purchased off the track by Joanie Morris and was later “sold” to David O’Connor for the grand price of $1 as a sales prospect. For one reason or another, Phelps just didn’t sell. So, instead, David put the young Thoroughbred in training with Farley.

She started Phelps at the Novice level at Hunt Club Farms in Virginia in the summer of 2018 and brought him out for his first FEI event at the CCI2*-S level at Great Meadow International in Virginia the following summer.

In 2022, Farley and Phelps finished on the podium in the CCI 4*-L at Morven Park in Virginia, which put the pair firmly on the radar as potential players to take the next step up. In October of 2023, Farley and Phelps tackled their first five-star event at the Maryland 5 Star, where they finished in fifth-place and took honors as the sole cross-country round to make it clear inside the optimum time.

Farley and Phelps' underdog story is one that resonates across disciplines and experience levels. Today we talk to the young eventer about her former racehorse taking on the most difficult challenge eventing has to offer and to learn more about how she trains young horses for intense sport of eventing.

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