Horseback riding: the true definition of equestrian

Tyler Ackerson

Equestrian is not the name of a sport but an adjective for the sport of horseback riding or a synonym for horseback rider. Equestrian horseback riding focuses on the ability of riding, driving, and vaulting horses.

Many may not realize the expert equestrian horseback riders we have at this school: John Filer, Lilia Haberman, Kelly Johnson, Kalie Murphy, Jacqueline Reeve, Sierra Roy, Bell Sturm, and Kasey Temple For many it is a very competitive sport. There are many students that are part of WASHET (Washington State High School Equestrian Team) where they compete at a range of events like performance, three day events (cross country, show jumping, and dressage), and Polo-Cross.

For Reeve, a junior, it has become more than just a hobby but a far reaching competition. This past summer she traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to compete in a national horseback riding competition, where she competed with people from all over the United States and Canada. Her years of dedication – she has been riding since the second grade – paid off as she won a class title.

“You learn patience because it’s not just yourself you’re relying on. If your horse has a bad day than you have a bad day so, you learn patience,” rider Reeve said in response to why horseback riding is worth trying.

The injury risk is prominent though. Every time riders saddle-up they are putting both their horse and their bodies at risk, creating a close bond between horse and rider. It is easy for people to forget that the riders are still riding an animal they cannot easily control.

“I got hit by a cow at a high school equestrian team practice. I couldn’t walk and had to go the Emergency Room,” junior rider Haberman said, who suffered the injury at a “Cow Practice” where they practice western events.

“Bravery, determination, and intelligence describe ‘equestrian’ to me,” Haberman said, describing horseback riding in three words. “Bravery in working with an animal that can easily kill. Determination in that there is always something you can fix. Intelligence, you have to be smart to communicate with something you can’t talk to.”