The girl who rides


This is a close up of Jadick’s horse, Johnny where his white star-shaped patch is visable.

by Julia Rooney, Staff Writer

Where it all began

At the age of nine, Alethea Jadick rode her first real horse. It seemed to come naturally to her, and it was obvious to everyone around her that riding was her thing.

“Before she started taking riding lessons, she would prance all around her neighborhood and nursery school with a hobby horse.  It was a natural progression to want to ride a real pony,” says Janet Romano, mother of Jadick.

Jadick is a tall blonde haired girl with fair skin and blue eyes. She usually wears blue jeans, white converse and casual t-shirts. She has been riding horses since fourth grade. Now a sophomore in high school, her passion for horseback riding is at an all-time high.

It seemed unfair to let Jadick’s natural talent to go to waste. For the past six years, horseback riding has been a big part of her weekly routine. No matter how busy she is, Jadick always finds time to ride.

Almost every week, Jadick and her family travel to Malden Bridge in Upstate New York, where her barn, “Kicks 66” is located. While there, she’ll go to the stable about two or three times to practice.

Jadick owns her own horse, Johnny. He lives in a stable at Kicks, so she is able to easily adapt after several days without riding. Jadick practices with Johnny and races with him, so she is really comfortable in competitions.

Johnny and Jadick have their practice routine down-pat. First, Jadick warms Johnny up by walking around the farm with him and running down the field. Once Jadick knows Johnny is ready to begin, she will ride him into the woods and explore different trails.

Johnny the horse

Jadick depends greatly on Johnny because they are both contributing to the activity. Horseback riding is not a team sport, but it requires the rider to have a lot of trust in their horse, thus ensuring an unbreakable bond between the two.

“My relationship between my horse and I is probably my favorite thing about riding. Over the years we’ve developed a strong bond, and I can’t imagine riding with any other horse,” she said.

Johnny is the only horse Jadick has ever owned. She has had him for several years, so their relationship is really special.

Johnny is a Hanoverian-bred horse that originates from Germany. Hanoverians are often ridden by English riders and can be seen many times in Olympic Games. They are a warm-blooded breed and are known for their elegance and great balance.

Hanoverian-bred horses can cost up to $100,000 but to Jadick, Johnny is priceless.

Photo Credit: James Jadick
Alethea Jadick with her mother, Janet Romano. Romano said, “Alethea is independent, confident, and best of all, has a great sense of humor.”

“To be honest, I don’t even know how much Johnny is worth. He is just so special to me that the thought of selling him hurts to even think about” Jadick said.

The average male Hanoverian horse weighs 1,400 pounds and stand at an average of five feet four inches tall. They are recognized as the most prominent and successful of horse breeds.

Their large stature can be rather intimidating. In fact, the first time Jadick saw Johnny she cried because she was so frightened.

Even though Johnny is a very masculine horse, his appearance is still simple and beautiful. He is a dark black horse with a small white mark on his head that just so happens to resemble the shape of a star.

A unique move

Not only has Jadick’s involvement in riding helped her build a relationship with her horse, but also with her fellow and trainers. Horseback riding has helped her mature as an independent and confident person.

“Riding has opened up a new community of friends for Alethea and the family.  It takes commitment, skill and knowledge.  That’s been a great experience for Alethea,” Romano said.

Jadick was born in Greece, but grew up in London, so her experiences in different countries have also added to her mature persona because she needed to adapt to different lifestyles and cultures. When she was twelve years old, her family decided to move to the United States.

Jadick’s younger brother James was born in London and was in second grade at the time of the move. They were both nervous to move to Glen Rock, but they were also excited for a new life in a new place.

Jadick’s parents Ted and Janet were both born in the United States and lived here for the majority of their lives, so it was an easier transition for them. They were happy that Ted’s work led them back to New Jersey.

“Ted was offered an interesting job in New York with his company. We were also happy for Alethea and James to have more time with our families,” Romano said.

Now that they live in Glen Rock, Jadick spends a lot of time with her cousins. A lot of her close relatives live in the North Jersey area, so she gets to spend more time with her extended family. Three of Jadick’s cousins, Ruslin, Vlad, and Yuri also attend Glen Rock High School.

One of Jadick’s closest friends is her cousin, Olivia Lavin. She is a junior at Ridgewood High School. Olivia and Alethea have a strong relationship because they are close in age and live within walking distance from each other.

When Jadick is not visiting Upstate New York, she likes to spend her time hanging out with friends and family, doing yoga, running track, and experimenting with food.

Since Alethea spends most of her time on the weekends at her lake house in New York, Friday is really the only day she has to see her close friends.

“I remember one time, we just stayed in on a Friday night, eating pizza and watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It sounds stupid, but it was just so much fun,” said sophomore Caroline Keller recalling good memories with her good friend.

Keller and Jadick like to show each other movies that they enjoyed as children. Since they both grew up in different countries they haven’t seen all of the same movies.

“I always tease Alethea on how she missed out while living in London, because she had never seen the Cheetah Girls movies. We are planning on having a marathon this summer, where we watch all three straight,” said Keller.

On weekdays, after doing her school work, Jadick spends her time watching Netflix. Currently, her favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy. She spends week nights lying in bed, with Grey’s Anatomy playing on the screen of her Mac Book Pro.

Alethea’s bed is white and wooden with a purple, black, and pink comforter draped over it. White holiday lights are strung around her ceiling. She says her bedroom is her favorite room in the house.

“It’s so cozy in there. I could spend hours on end watching Netflix with a bowl of Half-Baked Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I love it,” Jadick said.

Another hobby

Another one of Jadick’s favorite things is food. She loves to eat and bake. Alethea is a talented baker; she experiments with different recipes she finds on Instagram. She follows an account called @food_ilysm for inspiration on dinner and after school snacks.

“I love it when Alethea makes me food, she’s good at making cookies and cupcakes,” said her brother, James.

Another activity Alethea enjoys is doing yoga. She goes to Garden State Yoga on Broad Street and Glen Rock, but she also does it at home.

One of her good friends, Michelle DeMaria, is interested in the same activities as Alethea Jadick. DeMaria and Jadick will watch different yoga classes on YouTube and follow along in Jadick’s sitting area.

Alethea’s sitting area is right off of her family’s kitchen. The two spaces are connected in an open layout with no door. The round kitchen table is surrounded by four seats, each one a different color. To the right of the table is the sitting area where Jadick’s two cats, Toulouse and Marie, are often found hanging out. The walls are blue, and the interior space is inviting with a lot of of natural lighting.

“A lot of the time, I like to just do yoga at home because it is more comfortable and relaxing,” Alethea said.

The natural lighting and colorful furniture-pieces makes the room perfect for relaxing. Next to one of the windows is a radio. It is very convenient for Jadick to play her favorite music, making her at-home yoga experience more comfortable.

“We both like to run and do yoga. When we’re not doing that we’ll just sit around eating and talking,” said Michelle DeMaria, a close friend of Alethea’s.

Alethea has met many people in her life and she has become very close with lots of Glen Rockers since she’s lived in the town.

Being a part of the high school track team has impacted Jadick’s life in a positive way.

“I’ve made tons of good friends through track; people who I would have never been close to. That’s just one of the many reasons I love to run track,” Alethea said.

A love for running

Jadick started running on the Glen Rock Middle School track team as a seventh grader. She continued to race throughout middle school then into high school.

Hannah Vanderwall, Alethea Jadick, Anne Vandervalk, Katherine Grochan, and Paige Lemieux after one of their relay races freshman year.

Jadick has been a member of the varsity track team since the spring season of her freshman year. That winter she and DeMaria signed up for indoor track. That is when Jadick discovered that she really enjoyed running track and decided to try hurdling in the spring.

It was a success, and she found herself performing really well during meets and even making it to counties. She practices five or six times a week with the team.

“I love to run at the lake, especially in the fall. The scenery is so beautiful that it just makes it easier,” Jadick said.

Jadick’s favorite thing about horseback riding is going over the hurdles. In Britain, a hurdle race is when the horse jumps over obstacles that are around three feet high. In a hurdle race there is a minimum of eight hurdles and a minimum distance of two miles.

“In both horseback riding and track, hurdling is my favorite thing. The way you feel after going over a hard jump is so rewarding and it’s just great,” she said.

Johnny really enjoys hurdling. He is a good jumper which makes Jadick comfortable and confident when hurdling.

A rewarding competition

Jadick usually competes at different farms all around Upstate New York. The farthest she has ever had to travel was to Vermont. Even if the drive is long it is always worth it for her because she tends to finish in at least fourth place.

This past July, she was at a competition an hour away from her own barn. It was a hot and humid out, making a lot harder for her to get Johnny to cooperate.

“I was really nervous and I started off doing really badly. I fell off and it was just terrible. All I wanted to do was leave,” she said.

Once Jadick got back up after her fall, she wound up doing really well. Though she did not place, she was really proud of herself for overcoming the fall and being able to finish the race.

“The hardest part about horseback riding is definitely having to get back up after falling off. But, it is a great feeling once you are back on,” said Cathlyn Hirschfeld, sophomore.

Jadick describes that competition as one of her most memorable horseback riding experiences thus far because it made it was eye-opening that even after an accident she was able to finish strong in the top fifteen.

When Michelle DeMaria and Alethea Jadick took a trip to New York, this past fall, they went to the stable and fed Johnny apples.

“The best part was waking up in the car on the way home and feeling really sunburnt, not even remembering my fall. I was just really happy with myself,” she said with a smile on her face.

Horseback riding has helped Jadick grow up as an outgoing, fun and happy person who is always open for trying new things. With all the changes in Jadick’s life, including a big move to America, her passion for horseback riding has only become stronger.

Jadick started horseback riding as a hobby and now, seven years later she is a confident, skilled horseback rider.

Jadick concluded,“Horseback riding has impacted my life in such a positive way, I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I have had, and I’m going to cherish every moment with Johnny from here on out.”