The Sport in the Stables Over the Stadium

Emma+Linnea%2C+a+senior+at+SJHHS%2C+practicing+groundwork+to+prepare+for+her+upcoming+competitions+with+the+Dana+Smith+Show+Team+in+San+Juan+Capistrano.+

Photo Courtesy by Emma Linnea

Emma Linnea, a senior at SJHHS, practicing groundwork to prepare for her upcoming competitions with the Dana Smith Show Team in San Juan Capistrano.

Kaitlyn Kittredge, Sports Editor

Our school has many different sports to choose from; however, there are still so many sports the school does not supply that hold very unique players of their own. Although there isn’t a San Juan Hills team, there are many students involved in the unique and complex sport of horseback riding. 

With horseback riding, there is such a different dynamic than any other sports team. Instead of creating relationships with multiple people and growing as a collective unit, the connection is being built between one individual and their horse. 

“I feel that it is such a different sport than what is typically provided at high schools. I love the connection I have with the horse that I ride and the sport overall is so rewarding. Whether I accomplish something or the horse does, it’s a really great feeling,” said senior Emma Linnea, who rides with the Dana Smith Show Team.  

Just like many sports, practice takes up a lot of time and dedication. For many players, practice can be anywhere from two to five times a week, but many find themselves at the stables constantly trying to grow in their technique.

“I practice three to four days a week, but usually go to the stables five days a week. We do technical, non-jumping, and flat work on Tuesdays, small jumps on Thursdays and Fridays, and big jumps on Saturdays,” said sophomore Sam Rothenberger, also on the Dana Smith Show Team. 

In the world of horseback riding, there are competitions and shows, similar to how high school sports have games in the stadium. At each barn there are multiple trainers that help prepare riders for upcoming competitions and help to create a sense of community throughout the group of individuals. 

I feel that it is such a different sport than what is typically provided at high schools. I love the connection I have with the horse that I ride and the sport overall is so rewarding. Whether I accomplish something or the horse does, it’s a really great feeling,”

— Linnea

“My barn has many trainers who teach all of us and get us prepared for shows. I’ve made so many friends at my barn and I do think we are all a part of a team and cheer each other on at shows and during lessons,” said Linnea. 

With the pandemic, practicing and competing is still allowed, however precautions have been placed to abide by all necessary regulations. For example, trainers and students wear masks before and after riding and everyone is required to social distance, while using their own personal materials and equipment. 

“I have my own horse and always wear boots, breaches, a helmet, gloves, and other equipment for competitions and the horse’s needs,” said Rothenberger. 

This brings up the topic of expenses. Horseback riding is a very costly sport, as it requires a lot of equipment for not only the riders’ safety, but for the horses’ health as well. Whether one buys their own horse or not, the sport is definitely ranked very high up in the most expensive sports to play.

“I definitely would encourage horseback riding to others. Even though it is quite expensive and requires a lot of dedication and preparation mentally, I have found it extremely rewarding in the long run,” said Linnea. 

Horseback riding has caught the love of so many people worldwide. There are multiple schools and colleges that have their own teams, and scholarships are awarded each year to many outstanding riders. 

“I wish the school had horseback riding as a sport. I’m probably going to change schools soon to somewhere with a team where I am more likely to get a scholarship for riding,” said Rothenberger. 

This sport is such an important part of many students’ lives, many of which can be found here at SJHHS.

“I love the companionship you can and should share with the horse. When doing jumps you can feel the speed all around you and I truly love that feeling of flying. Horseback riding always boosts my mood and I would definitely encourage other people to try it,” said sophomore Grace Phippen.