Although she often competes abroad, the month of September gives New Albany resident Ali Wolff the chance to ride at home.
Wolff, 28, will compete for the ninth time in the New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix & Family Day, which is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24 at the estate of Abigail and Leslie Wexner, 4584 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road.
The annual event includes an equestrian show-jumping competition, a concert -- this year's headliner is Nick Jonas -- and carnival-style festivities.
The more she has traveled for her career, Wolff said, the more she has become attached to the community where she grew up. The Classic, she said, gives people an opportunity to donate their time and money to an important cause.
"It brings our community together," she said.
The Classic was founded by Abigail Wexner in 1998 to raise money for her initiative, the Columbus Coalition Against Family Violence. It now benefits the Center for Family Safety and Healing, which was created in 2011 when the Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children's Hospital was merged with the coalition.
The Classic has raised $30 million for the cause and typically has 18,000 attendees.
The Center for Family Safety and Healing is fortunate that the entirety of proceeds from the Classic can benefit programming, said Karen Days, president of the organization.
"We're able to really take to the next level the original dream," Days said, of reducing trauma to family members who have experienced abuse by streamlining the reporting process.
Individuals are able to report abuse incidents one time at the Center for Family Safety and Healing instead of at multiple organizations, and they are able to come back to the same location for follow-up care, Days said.
The event also benefits the discipline of horseback riding, Wolff said. The Classic helped spur the recent opening of Brave Horse Show Park, she said.
A 75-acre facility at 1029 S. County Line Road in Johnstown, Brave Horse caters to top-tier equestrian hunter-jumper competitions.
Wolff is a veteran of such competitions. This year, she placed second in the Grand Prix at Angelstone Tournaments in Canada and third in the Grand Prix at the Mons Ghlin International Horse Jumping Event in Belgium.
Because she has traveled more to compete and train, Wolff said, she has become more attached to her community.
Even at a young age, Wolff's world was filled with horses.
At 5 years old, she was always requesting pony rides at local fairs, Wolff said.
"I think I even had a birthday party with a pony," she said.
She began taking riding lessons at 5 or 6, she said. During middle school and high school, some of her friends left the sport, but Wolff stuck with it.
Wolff tried to squeeze in as many lessons as she could, often sacrificing other interests. She said she passed on some sports and got picked up from sleepovers early in the morning to attend lessons.
Still, she said, she never regretted her decisions. When she evaluated what was important to her, "every time, it was always horses," she said.
Not much has changed.
Wolff said she rides six days a week on four horses per day for about three to four hours per day.
She will head to Florida in November to avoid the colder months and train through about April. But for this month, at least, the Classic will bring her back to Ohio.
"Everyone always looks forward to this day," she said.
For tickets and information about the Classic, visit www.thenewalbanyclassic.com.