Equestrians throughout Lewis-Palmer

Roping is a common event in Western speed events.

Roping is a common event in Western speed events.

Rebecca Crook, Ranger Review Editor

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In Lewis-Palmer High School, the list of clubs and sports runs miles long. Most students are involved in some sort of activity. Equestrianism is popular throughout the school, even though it is not school run. By definition, equestrians are riders or performers on horseback.

There are many different disciplines that horseback riders can take part in. Western and English are the most well-known, but events range from 3 Day Eventing and Barrel Racing.

Mallory Smith 10 has been riding for 9 years and partakes in Western events. She also competes in gymkhana events such as barrel racing, flags, and western pleasure.  “If I really wanted to try a new event, it would probably be roping because it looks super fun to me and it would be more of my horse’s style since he’s a western horse.”

Smith is a part of the Pikes Peak Rangerettes, a traveling drill team that performs at rodeos and takes part in parades. “I’d say performing with the Rangerettes is the most fun I’ve ever had with riding. Just being in those big arenas with the crowds and the lights; there’s nothing like a big rodeo performance. Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo this summer, where we performed 5 nights in a row, was so much fun.”

Elizabeth Guagenti 10, a rider of 11 years, does reining events. “Reining is where the horse spins really fast and they slide and their butt tucks”

Guagenti rides with Warren Performance Horses, and she wants to try polo if she ever were to try a different event. Polo, according to Wikipedia, is a team sport played on horseback. The objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Players score by driving a small white ball made from fiberglass into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled mallet.

Equestrians devote large amounts of their time to their sport, just like every other athlete. Smith goes out to her barn every other day for about two hours at a time, totaling up to about ten hours a week. “When we have rangerette practice, that’s four hours probably, competitions are all day and sometimes even week long rodeos”

When asked why she would recommend being an equestrian, Smith stated “the bond between the horse and the rider, because it’s just different than any other sport. There’s something different about having that bond with an animal that doesn’t even speak the same language as you do.”

Guagenti mentioned the bond between a rider and horse being special to her as well. “There’s a special bond when you get to know the animal. There’s that connection that you don’t have anywhere else.”

When asked what sets equestrianism apart from other sports, Smith said “it teaches you a different level of responsibility because you don’t really have anyone else to depend on except yourself, but if you’re not mentally there or physically ready, then your horse can’t rely on you. You also don’t have that team to fall back on. If you have your own horse, you have to take care of them because they’re your partner, not just a tool you use or a piece of equipment.”

The only event that is recognized as a sport in the Olympics is 3 Day Eventing, which consists of dressage, show jumping, and cross country. In english riding, there are events such as endurance riding and hunter/jumper competitions.

At Lewis-Palmer High School, equestrians are among the other athletes, even if gone unnoticed. Equestrians can take part in many different events, especially the athletes at LPHS.