Student races through life as equestrian; Shows, derbies in future

LAUREN SECO , OP/ED Editor

     Senior Kassie Reeves eats, sleeps, and breathes for horses. In order to reach her goals within the sport and get to where she is at today, Reeves said she had to overcome some obstacles, put effort into training, and maintain optimism.

     The student’s journey began eight years ago when her parents, who are “not horse people,” got her a young, green AKA untrained, and abused horse. Ever since, Reeves has been working towards her goals both at fairs and derbies. 

      Reeves writes that she “started [riding] in March of 4th grade [and was] always been interested in horses.” When her parents found out that their neighbor got a pony and that she could ride it they leaped on that opportunity. Reeves was able to ride that pony for two years while going on trail rides. 

     About five years ago, the senior began showing in small shows such as Tranquility Manor Farm. Reeves defines showing as “an event that involves judging horses” similar to dog shows. “The horse showing categories are hunters, equitation, jumpers,  western speed events and much much more.”

     She describes the hunters and equitation categories, detailing that both are judged on style of the ride, and that hunters are judged on the horse while equitation are judged on the rider. For equitation, “the hands, seat and leg position of the rider can affect how well you place.”

     After showing within small shows, Reeves moved into Long Stirrup which are two foot courses for beginner riders. She attended Colonial Classic, placing third, and Reserve Champion for end of year in long stirrup. She then switched trainers, marking the beginning of a different chapter in her riding experience. 

     After doing her first derby at Ludwig’s corner horse show, Reeves fell in love with derbies. The senior describes a derby as “a combination of hunters and equitation” and is therefore “judged 50/50 on horse and rider.” She adds that she “competed in a derby in 2018 and placed fourth and qualified for an invitational derby for later that year against professional riders and trainers.” She then turned 18 and could no longer compete in ponies. This is when she introduced the horse her parents gave her, Gater, into the show world.

     Reeves describes this as a process, saying, “it took Gator a while to be ready for the show world because he was very scared of people when [she] first got him. He lacked trust in people which is understandable due to his past.” While Reeves relays that this year is going to be a challenge, she maintains that she is ready for it. 

     The student plans to show in Adult Amateur Equitation locally, Harford County Fair, Garrett County Fair, Maryland State Fair, and Ludwig’s Corner horse show as well as introduce Gator to derbies.