Local equestrian goes undefeated at regional show

Keara Holland and her horse Uncommon Jewel.
(Chloe Fioia)

Encinitas equestrian Keara Holland and her American Saddlebred mare Uncommon Jewel recently gave a sparkling performance at the Carousel Charity Horse Show in Scottsdale, Arizona, going undefeated in all five of their equitation classes.

At the March 30-April 2 show, the 16-year-old Keara was named Grand Champion Saddle Seat Equitation, United Professional Horseman’s Association (UHPA) Challenge Cup 17 & Under Champion, The Good Hands Champion, US Equestrian Foundation Saddle Seat Medal Champion and the Saddle Seat Equitation Qualifier Champion.

“It was just something that I really wanted to accomplish for awhile and to do it at a big regional show meant a lot to me,” said Keara, a sophomore at Torrey Pines High School.

Keara has been riding with Ann Woulfe-Miller of Miller Equestrian Services in Escondido for 10 years. Since her family purchased Uncommon Jewel in January 2021, she has been riding competitively, and winning big, throughout the Western United States.

“She’s the first horse I’ve ever owned and she’s just a total pro,” said Keara of Uncommon Jewel. “She knows exactly what to do.”

Keara’s calling is in equitation, in which the rider is judged on their style, posture and how they can effectively execute a pattern.

The Carousel show is the biggest show she competes in outside of nationals and she said it was a very fun experience to be in the ring with so many other talented girls, to execute a solid strategy of how to best position herself and show off her skills. Of the five titles she earned, she was most proud of the UHPA Challenge Cup championship, finishing atop of a deep class of 17 and under riders.

“Last year I could’ve done better so it was great to come back and prove myself and how much I’ve grown throughout the year,” Keara said.

In addition to her recent success with Uncommon Jewel, Keara also competed in the American Morgan Horse Association (AMHA) Youth of the Year Contest and was the Senior Division Overall Winner, riding on Clayhill Affirmative GCH—different breed, same style of riding.

Since she won the senior division at the regional show, Keara has qualified to compete for AMHA Youth of the Year at the Grand National & World Championship Morgan Horse Show in Oklahoma City this October.

The Carousel show was the first of the season for Keara—she next heads to Diamond Jubilee in San Juan Capistrano (where she nearly went undefeated last year) and then on to the Charity Fair Horse Show in Del Mar.

She plans to continue to compete and ride toward her dream goal of becoming a trainer, working with high-quality horses and passing on the skills of equitation to others.