Day in the Life Interview with Adult Amateur Dressage Rider Barbara Bonk Matson

Barbara Bonk Matson and Centeno(Photo :Picks Of You)
Hi guys! Here is a new twist in “The Day In The Life”. This is our Adult Amateur series! I like you all to meet Barbara Bonk Matson? she is a mother, grandmother, and married for 2 1/2 years to the fabulous Michael Matson. As you can see in all the pictures her smiles says it all?…. Enjoy!
Barbara’s day: My typical day starts at 5:30am. I ride my PRE stallion Centeno BRH Thursday through Monday and my PRE gelding Desafio Del Lago Saturday through Thursday. So I am in the saddle 7 days a week. Centeno BRH is a 15.3h 13yo stallion that I imported as an 8yo from Enrique De Benito and BRH Stud in Spain. He is my Rockstar, taking me from 3rd level to Grand Prix in 5 years. My newbie is a very talented young gelding that is 16.1h also imported from Spain.
I always start my day with Centeno at 7am and he HAS to be my first ride or he will pout! Centeno is a “yes ma’am” horse and our sessions are to the point and brief now that he is at Grand Prix. We end with a walk on the buckle around the farm. By 830am I am ready for my young PRE Desafio. We are just getting to know each other so our sessions are usually 45mins and still confined to the arena for now.
I am usually done by 1030 am and on my way to swim by 11am during Spring and Summer. In the Fall and Winter it will be doing Pilates with two or three of my barn friends.
How/when did you start riding? I did not own a horse until my 1st paycheck after I graduated college 45 years ago . As a child I was given a riding lesson once a year on my birthday. As a teenager I mucked stalls in a public riding stable just to be able to ride a pinto pony named Scout at the end of the day. I graduated from college as a pharmacist and worked behind the counter dispensing prescriptions for almost 12 years. With two children in grade school and one in high school and a horse I needed to make a career change that was Monday through Friday 9am-5pm. For the next 20 years I was the Assistant Director of Pharmacy for a 900 bed State Psychiatric Hospital then I moved on to be the Director of Pharmacy for a large Acute Care & Detox Hospital. I was able to work remotely for almost the last 10 years which is when I really began to train and compete. I HAPPILY retired to the foothills of North Carolina with my wonderful husband Michael Matson two and a half years ago. Even though I graduated college in 1975 I did not start competing in Dressage until I was 40 years old. Like most riders back then we did some jumping and I fox hunted but as I got older the jumps seemed like they were getting bigger and I really just enjoyed the discipline and structured training in the dressage arena.
What do you fo for fun? For fun my husband and I love to fish and have just bought a small bass boat. We live on a lake with our Great Dane, a Maine Coone Cat and a Norwegian Forest Cat. We are retired and live & play in Polk County, NC which is like an Adult Disneyland . There are waterfalls, hiking, mountains, lakes, vineyards, breweries and the renowned Tryon International Equestrian Center. We have all of this to do when I am not doing horsey things or when Michael is not playing chess , looking at the stars or finding music for Adult Amateur Freestyles.
Inspiration: I have taken clinics with many talented riders and have used many different trainers to help me improve my horses. All have given me something and for that I am grateful! I have ridden almost every breed of horse BUT for me the day I sat on my first PRE that was a game changer. They have given me the comfort and confidence to succeed even as vintage rider.
Accomplishments: I placed in the top 8 Amateur Adult Regional Championships several times prior to owning my first Iberian Horse. Starting in 2015, when I was well into my 60s I won IALHA Championship at 3rd Level with a PRE and a 3rd Place at GAIG Region 1 PSG AA Championship with a Lusitano
2016 Reserve Champion GAIG Region I PSG AA Championship
2016 USDF National Championship in Lexington, KY 9th in PSG AA
2018 Reserve Champion GAIG Region I I-2 AA Championship
2019 Grand Champion GAIG Region 1 1-2 AA Championship
2019 3rd Place at GAIG Region 1 Grand Prix AA Championship
How many horses have you ridden to FEI? To date I have taken two Warmbloods, 1 mare and 1 gelding, to the FEI and
I have taken 2 PRE Stallions and 1 Lusitano Stallion to the FEI. Hoping to add
Desafio to that list in 2021.
The best advise to all the Amateur Adult Riders is to eat right, exercise, stay fit, find a trainer that believes in you and your horse, have fun and ride with a smile on your face ?
Way to go Barbara! Thank you! #H4YC #PRE #FEI #Spain #USA

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