If you’ve ever gone horseback riding, you probably know that riding a horse is no easy feat—even learning the basics like how to mount and dismount can prove tough for beginners. As a competitive equestrian athlete, Adie ’27 knows all about the challenges, complexities, joys, and rewards that go along with working with horses. Adie has been riding horses for almost 12 years and even has horses of her own. She says, “I own three horses. Pixie, who is a small black mare, was my first horse! She is a spunky, speedy horse! I have Sondee, a horse that we have had for years, but now I am training him how to jump. The last horse is named Odie. Odie was a Christmas present, and he is the horse in these photos.”
For about a year now, Adie has ridden Odie competitively in equestrian competitions, competing in hunter/jumper and dressage events. She is also a member of the U.S. Equestrian Interscholastic Athlete program which recognizes equestrian student-athletes in grades 5-12 for their participation in training and competitions. Students in the program must participate in three competitions or complete 100 hours of training during the year. Upon verification, the student will receive a certificate and a varsity letterman patch and/or lapel pin for each year of participation. Equestrian athletes spend many hours training and often don’t have time to participate in school sports or other extracurricular activities, and the Interscholastic Athlete program allows them to be recognized for their achievements whether or not an equestrian program is available at their school.
Adie spends about 10 hours a week training with Odie on jumping, dressage, and flatwork. “What I want people to know about the sport is that it is very challenging mentally and physically,” she says. “I realize sometimes when talking about equestrian sports that people may be confused about the discipline, but it is just a different sport. Instead of a team of people, my team is myself and my equine. Just like any other sport, we dedicate our time and are committed just like other athletes!”
Adie plans to continue competitive training and is looking forward to competing at higher levels. She can’t imagine a life without horses, and in the future, she would like to own her own stable and dedicate herself to a lifelong career working with horses. When asked what she enjoys about riding, Adie says, “What I love the most about the sport is how challenging it really is—the connection that you have to form with this 1,200-pound animal. You two have to speak a language that doesn't involve words. You have to work hard and train, but your reward at the end is huge!”