Horseback riders add speed To their dreams


Here at North Harford, it’s not too much of a stretch trying to find someone who does horseback riding, but what about students who compete with their horse?

Sophomore Delaney O’neil has been horseback riding since she was five years old. O’neil says she “loves the challenges it presents and there is never a dull moment.” O’neil competes horseback riding with many of her friends at school, “actually,” she says “most of my friends ride.”

O’neil says that the best trophy she’s received would be the “2019 number one Junior young rider for modified.” O’neil has eight horses at her house but her favorite to ride is the “irish sport horses and warmbloods, “my main horse is iris,” she explains “I love riding him so much.”

For anyone looking into starting to ride and compete, O’neil suggests for them to “find a beginner friendly farm to take lessons from,” this is the best way to become exposed to riding, according to O’neil.

However, O’neil is far from being the only student here at North Harford who does horse back riding. Junior Emma Mathios began riding in 5th grade, but she “wasn’t serious about it until about 7th grade.” Mathios’ favorite thing about horse back riding is “the people I have met and the relationships that we have.”

Mathios also explains that horseback has brought her closer to people that would have never been in her life if she hadn’t decided to give riding a shot. “I have met some of my best friends, who I know will always have my back,” Mathios says “I love the family atmosphere the barn gives you, it’s just a wonderful, easy, relaxing place to go when life gets stressful or school starts to overwhelm you.”

With the pandemic, Mathios explains that it’s been heard to get practice time in. However, she has used this time to “really get to know” her new horse. However, before all this started, Mathios competed at Maryland State Fair and ended up getting 3rd out of 13 people, according to Mathios.“I was beyond proud, especially with all of the rides and distractions going on around us,” she adds.

However, horseback riding isn’t just jumping on a horse and shouting “go”. Mathios explains the hardships of the sport, “it’s being able to work with a team, a team who can’t communicate with words to each other and using your body to help aid and guide them to choose to do the right thing.” Mathios also adds, “horseback riding takes a lot of patience when you are riding, you work on the same tedious thing day in and day out to just see a tiny improvement.”