Two Freshman Compete in Equestrian Events

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Photo Courtesy of Michelle Tate

Andrew Velarde

Kylie Hester, Staff Writer

Gear on. Saddle attached. Mount up. Reigns in hand. Racing with the wind and jumping to the sky, freshmen Natalie Gordon and Lauren Tate become inseparable duos with their horses.        

Gordon and Tate participate in equestrian jumping and hunting with the Texas Rose Horse Park and King’s Equestrian organizations. They will be competing in English jumping and hunting events during October.

“My favorite part about riding and jumping is the adrenaline,” Gordon said. “It’s high paced and very fast. I’ve had a lot of exciting and crazy moments.”

Gordon has been riding for 4 years and participates in hunting events, a slow and sophisticated variation of jumping. Hunting events are subjectively judged based on how well the horse performs over fences.  The pair of rider and horse is judged on style, pace, and manners as well.

“It’s calming,” Gordon said. “There’s so much to focus on so you just get out there and forget about everything.”

Gordon’s horse, Casino, is a Welsh pony. Together the two have won impressive feats including first place in a Derby, a large competition in the equestrian world.

“Getting first place in the Pony Hunter Derby was exciting,” Gordon said. “It was a big accomplishment.”

Tate, on the other hand, participates in jumping events and has been riding since childhood. Jumping is a fast paced and less formal event.  Jumping is scored objectively. The horse and rider’s goal is to clear all the fences in the course as quickly as possible without incurring any faults [mistakes] by knocking over the bars of the fence. 

It’s a speed round,” Tate said. “You just have to be the fastest person and get to the jump and win.”

Tate’s horse, Chief, is a Chestnut Appendix, part thoroughbred and part quarter horse. Together they have gotten champion awards in Jumpers.

“I love Chief,” Tate said. “I’m really proud of the work we’ve done together.”

Both Tate and Gordon have bonded through horse riding. Along with bonding with each other, they have established a deep love of their horses.

“It’s you and your horse out there,” Tate said. “You are never alone. You’re partners through it all.”

 

Photos and Video Clips Courtesy of Lauren Tate and Natalie Gordon