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Isabelle Aldridge is shown with her pony, ‘Misty Rain.’

Originally published: 2014-07-14 12:00:19
Last modified: 2014-07-14 12:02:18

Isabelle Aldridge making a move on hunter/jumper circuit

by Jeff Eason

The 14-year-old Isabelle Aldridge is known locally as the inspiration for the children's book, "Isabella Propeller and the Magic Beanie."

Written by her grandfather, John Aldridge, under the pen name Jonathon Graves, "Isabella Propeller" was set in Blowing Rock and told a wondrous tale about a young girl who learned to fly through the air with help from the powers of her magic beanie.

The real Isabelle is still flying, only this time with the help of her trusty steed "Misty Rain." 

Aldridge and Misty Rain will compete in the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show's hunter/jumper II competition, which takes place at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve from July 29 through Aug. 3. Aldridge is a native of Atlanta, Ga., but has spent time each summer in Blowing Rock with her grandparents, John and Lucy Aldridge, since she was born. 

At the age of 7, Isabelle attended her first Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show. She was allowed to walk through the stable areas and meet some of the "pony girls," who were feeding and grooming their horses there. 

"She began chasing her dream at age 8, when she began riding lessons near her home in Atlanta," John Aldridge said. "With a lot of determination, grit and sweat, three years later, Isabelle realized her dream of riding in the Blowing Rock Horse Show." 

Two years ago, Isabelle and her horse "Katydid Bessame" competed in the center ring at the Blowing Rock Horse Show in the short stirrup division. Despite her tender age, she emerged as grand champion in the division. 

With assistance of trainers Jack Towell and Helen Hamrika, Isabelle began competing in the Large Pony Division across the Southeast and as far north as Devon, Pa. 

In 2013, she rode her horse, "Kissy," to a seventh place finish at the U.S. Pony Finals in Lexington, Ky., out of a field of 104 competitors. Isabelle and her current pony, Misty, have won a number of prestigious championships and reserve champion ribbons together, including the Pony Medal and honors in Washington Equitation classes. 

This past May, she was invited to compete at the historic Devon Horse Show as the sixth ranked pony rider in the nation. 

Currently, she is ranked in the Top 20 pony riders in the nation by the U.S. Equestrian Federation.While in Atlanta, Isabelle is a student at the Westminster Schools. During her summers in Blowing Rock, she is a member of the Bible school at Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church.