Horseback Riding – It Looks Easy, but is it Really?


Cameryn Rousselin

Senior, Cameryn Rousselin, an English Rider rides one of her horses at a competition. Horseback Riding is an extracurricular activity that is not connected to the school, however many students from State High still compete. Rousselin said “I travel as far down as Virginia and as far up as New York.”

Rylie Grube, Staff Writer

An equestrian is someone who performs and rides on horseback. There are two styles of horseback riding- Western and English. While there are other differences, the most noticeable is the saddle. A Western saddle is bigger and heavier than an English saddle. There is also a competitive aspect to riding. This is where riders go to horse shows and participate in various events according to their interests and talents.

From the audience’s point of view, horseback riding should look easy, which is one of the many things riders strive for. Sophomore Kiera Perkins, an English Rider, said “We strive to make our riding looks effortless, and to achieve that we must work hard and push ourselves past the breaking point. Some days are harder than others, and some days you just wanna give up but you’ve come too far to give up.”

The common saying, “practice makes perfect,” is well fit to equestrians. On a regular basis lots of work goes into training and making their movements look effortless. Perkins said, “I ride 5-6 times a week and every time I ride I come to the ring with a plan, for example some days I work on quieting my upper body, others its tightening my lower legs and then sometimes I focus on my horse and how he is moving.” Horseback riding is more than just practice; taking care of the horses also plays a key role in the sport. This entails going to the barn, even when not practicing.

Once competition week reaches, there is a lot of preparation that will be done by the riders. Equestrians always need to take care of their horses, but this duty increases on the week of a horse show. Senior Cameryn Rousselin, an English Rider, said, “We always need to make sure the horses are clean. I give my horses 1-2 baths a day during a horse show and every day before the horse shows. They need to be clipped  and they need their manes to be pulled so that we can braid [it] for our competitions.” In addition to taking care of the horses, equestrians may have to practice and solidify the skills that they will be performing in the horse show.

Horse shows are similar to track meets; there are multiple events and the rider chooses the event they want to do based on what they are like or what they are good at. Common horse show events include jumping, racing, and, for western riding, rodeos. However there are other events that aren’t as common such as vaulting. Perkins said “I compete in jumping classes and flat classes. Currently I am competing in the Children’s division, which entails 3 foot jumps with hunter and equitation courses.”

Depending on the athlete’s level, competition participants can travel far to compete. “I travel as far down as Virginia and as far up as New York mostly but I may end up going to Florida at some point,” Rousselin said.

Like most other sports, horseback riding is a lot of work, but for the equestrians it is worth it because of the love they have for the sport. Different athletes can get different lessons and experiences out of their time. “Horses are my therapy, so when I’m having a bad day I can go to the barn and cuddle my horse or go for a ride and feel a lot better.” Sophomore Olivia Adams, an English Rider, said.

Rousselin sadded “I love being able to take this gigantic horse and ask it to do something and for it to respond. It’s an amazing feeling.” No matter what the athlete gets out of the sport, it is undeniable the amount of time, energy, and passion that goes into making horseback riding look easy.