Trotting to triumph in horseback riding; Weisman shares equestrian experience


Sarah Welzant, Reporter

     Sophomore Harley Weisman finds horse riding to be her place of therapy as they [the animals]“bring a lot of peace.” Weisman has been working with horses for 11 years and started doing shows around seven or eight years ago.

     Her journey started when she  was only five-years-old and decided she wanted a pony for her fifth birthday. Her grandma decided against this idea, but instead signed Weisman up for lessons in horseback riding.

     Many memories were created during Weisman’s journey within the sport. She remembers being nervous at her first horse show, but ended up doing quite well and earning a few second place ribbons. She also shares that there are “some bad memories from riding, like when you fall off.” Weisman laughs, explaining a saying within the community, “if you haven’t fallen off at least a hundred times, you’re not an actual rider.”

     In order to hone the skills of the horses, Weisman dedicates herself to training regularly, usually about twice  a week. Her routine will start once she gets to the barn, and her day will involve cleaning and grooming the animals and then eventually warming up for practice. Warm-ups include “walking, trotting and most days, [she will] do some jumping.”

     Going to shows requires a lot of commitment, as Weisman states, “when we go to horse shows we will be waking up at, like, 4:30 or 5 o’clock in the morning,” where she finds herself visiting the barn, feeding the animals, and loading them into a horse trailer. Once at the shows, Weisman says, “it’s a lot of sitting and waiting at horse shows,” as she finds herself having to wait a couple hours until her event.

     Though Weisman likes working with horses, she admits that there is a frustrating side. She says, “sometimes they won’t listen, so they will just be very stubborn some days and not go anywhere.” This can be especially frustrating when trying to work on a new skill, according to Weisman.

     When riding, one must make sure that they are in the right mindset. Weisman explains that the sport is “all about getting over your nerves” and to find ways to not be anxious while riding. Being nervous or anxious doesn’t make the sport any fun. This can make things dangerous as she says, “if you’re not having fun, or you are nervous all the time, you can put yourself in danger.”

     Weisman will continue to grow as a rider along with the support from those in the camaraderie within the community. She explains, “people think that riding isn’t really a team sport, but it definitely is. Your barn-mates are like your teammates, along with your horses, too.”