In The Arena with Jan Byyny
Jan Byyny, an accomplished international event rider and a member of the Vita Flex® Victory Team, began eventing at the age of 10 through the Platte Valley Pony Club in Colorado. This led to an opportunity grooming horses for Nancy Winter, who Byyny says was a major inspiration for her decision to make eventing her lifetime career. Her work with Winter also led to an introduction to Bruce Davidson, who became another major influence for Byyny as she worked and trained with horses under his direction for many years.
One of Byyny’s first major events was the 1985 North American Junior and Young Rider Championships. Since then, Byyny has earned her place as a top-ranked international eventer. She has competed on multiple U.S. Equestrian Teams, and in the 2003 Pan American Games Byyny helped her team win gold and earned an individual bronze medal. Byyny has placed in the top 10 at FEI Three-Day Events from Foxhall to Fair Hill.
In 2010, Byyny suffered a serious fall from her horse that led to complications, including a stroke. She has worked hard to overcome the difficulties caused by that unfortunate event, and with her recent win with Inmidair at the Fair Hill Concours Complet International 3*, no one is doubting that she has successfully risen to the challenge. The win garnered Byyny a $20,000 grant for round-trip tickets to her next competition in Europe, courtesy of Tim Dutta and the Dutta Corp. Earlier this year, Byyny had two horses, Inmidair and Syd Kent, in the top 10 at Red Hills CIC 3*.
Byyny says Vita Flex and their products, which she uses daily with her horses, is an essential and vital part of her team. After a good gallop or workout, she mentions that both Lactanase and Muscle Fortifier have helped her horses maintain their stamina and muscle and coat conditions. Being keenly aware of her horses’ daily habits also helps her keep her equestrian partners competition ready and well cared for before, during and after events.
She good-heartedly shares with us how Inmidair is a lot like Sir Lancelot, the first little pony she rode, very confident and yet a "bit of a monkey" with his own way of doing things. She has a special affinity for Syd Kent, one of her all-time favorite mounts, affectionately nicknamed "The King."
Today, Byyny lives and trains out of her farm, Surefire Farm, in Virginia. In addition to competing, she gives lessons at the farm, travels the country to teach clinics, trains her own and others’ horses, and buys and sells horses. In her spare time, Byyny enjoys skiing, running and spending time with her family.
One of her perhaps lesser-known goals is to meet the Queen of England, someone "so full of class," and to talk with her about what her life’s been like, from the beginning of her reign until now. She is an avid animal lover, with two beloved dogs, a cat and a barn full of horses.
Byyny strives to be the best equestrian she can be, always. In her words, "I can’t define a moment that I’ve "made it." To me, I’ll always be learning, improving – it’s how you get better." Byyny is currently focusing on becoming selected for the U.S. team in the 2014 World Equestrian Games.
To stay up-to-date with Byyny’s event schedules and success, connect with her on Facebook.
For information on the rest of the Vita Flex Victory Team, follow Vita Flex on Facebook
Photos courtesy of Shannon Brinkman