BY: TEEN VOGUE
Most 17-year-olds are figuring out what to wear to their homecoming dance, or how to support their shopping habit with a well-paying weekend job. Caitlyn Connors is busy training for the Winter Equestrian Festival [WEF], a four-month riding competition in Wellington, Florida. "I've been riding for fourteen years," she tells Teen Vogue while sitting atop her horse, Blue, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. "I started riding at a local place where my mom is really good friends with the trainer. I had a pony that bucked me off three times a day. I think that really taught me how to become a better rider and become stronger." Caitlyn is one of the many rising stars competing in the Under 25 Grand Prix Series, aged for riders 25 and under and sponsored by Hermés. The competition lasts from January to March, and culminates with the $50,000 Hermés Under 25 Grand Prix Final, where winners can walk away with a $10,000 Hermés mini saddle and a $10,000 credit to the brand store, among other prizes. But alongside the designer finds, an Under 25 Grand Prix win can be transformative for a young rider's career.