Equestrian team horses around

Ashley Moxley, Photo Editor

­­­­While most riders have several months to build a relationship with their horses, JC riders only have a few precious seconds to adjust to the feel of the horse before they compete.

As part of the IEA, Interscholastic Equestrian Association, the equestrian team at JC rides differently from most high school teams. In other horse competitions the riders are able to bring their own horses. That makes it easier for the riders because they know their horses and what they are capable of.

However, JC riders cannot bring their own horses and are assigned mounts randomly. They receive only 30 seconds or less to familiarize thems­­­elves with the horses they are to perform with.

Riders are judged on jumping and their ability to control their horses while judges watch them perform a trot, canter, and gallop. As captains of the 2011-2012 equestrian team, seniors Megan Foard and Kelsey LeBuhn unite the team for meetings before home shows and help the novice riders prepare to compete.

“Being a team captain is great because it allows me to share knowledge with the underclassmen. Together we all make a great team
and are able to show our leadership skills,” LeBuhn said.

“Horseback riding is my life. It’s not just the riding that is exhilarating, but the atmosphere of the people, the places you
go, and getting to know the horses and being involved with nature. I love everything about riding and want to do it the rest of my life,” Foard said.

Along with Foard and LeBuhn, the other top riders are seniors Heather Scampton and  Adrienne Clark.

With the riders, coach Karen Zinkhan  also plays an integral role in the success of the team. Zinkhan examines the horses before the riders compete so that she can give them advice on how to handle their horse.