Meet Lauren Yeagy (Sophomore) and Elizabeth Henry (Freshman) – 2 girls whose love for horses has brought them into a whole new world called “Eventing”.
These girls have been riding horses since they were very young. But, they don’t just “ride” horses for fun. It is their passion, their career goal, and what they spend most of their free time doing.
For those of you that don’t know what Eventing is, it is best described as an equestrian triathlon. The sport originated as a cavalry test and is comprised of three phases: dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Eventing tests horse and rider pairs more completely than any other.
The first phase – dressage – shows the graceful partnership of horse and rider through a sequence of movements on the flat. The next phase – cross-country – challenges the pair’s bravery, fitness and determination as combinations navigate a series of solid obstacles and varied terrain.
In the final phase – show jumping – pairs must again prove their precision as they clear a course of delicate fences. Competitors accumulate penalty points in each phase, and at the end of the event, the pair with the lowest score takes home top honors.
Held over one, two or three days, eventing is one of the few Olympic sports where men and women compete alongside one another as equals.
Lauren and Elizabeth train 7 days a week and spend at least 3-4 hours per day working with their horses. They take care of them, train them, get them ready for eventing competitions, and hopefully win some of the competitions along the way!
A typical day for these 2 includes going to school then heading straight out to the barn where their horses are to start their training. And believe it or not, it is not all about fun and games! They have to take care of their horses and always be on the lookout for injury, ‘tack’ their horses up to ride them, untack them, cool them out and then turn them out for the day, and then possibly ride another 1 or 2 horses each. By the time they are done with all that they then go home to finish any homework they have, go to sleep and start it all over again!
On weekends they spend their days competing in places such as Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and even Florida! This means there are school days missed and schoolwork to be made up whenever they can find the time – many times late at night after all the horse chores have been taken care of. They will also spend weekends traveling to clinics to train with top riders in the sport, hoping they too might make it to the Olympics someday just like the people leading the clinics have done!
Over the last few years, Lauren and Elizabeth have been competing their horses and moving up the competition levels. Their journey has not been without adversity though. They have both dealt with horse injuries which kept them from competing in important events, and have had numerous trailer break down issues on the way to shows and clinics which has left them on the side of the road for hours at times! They have been fortunate not to have had to deal with any injuries to themselves but frequently like to remind anyone who thinks this is easy that in this sport you have to wear your medical information on your person while competing in case you get thrown from your horse or your horse falls on top of you!
The next step for these two is to make the Young Rider team and represent the Midwest area in a national competition. They both qualified for the Midwest Area Championship event this year and hope to be able to make the National Young Rider team in 2019!
They were recently named 1 of 11 finalists in a nationwide competition to receive a sponsorship from Bit of Britain. Bit of Britain is an equine supplies store that is looking to sponsor 3 riders next year in their 2018 Top Rider Contest. Out of over 100 entries nationwide, Lauren and Elizabeth made it to the final 11! You can help these accomplished young ladies by casting your vote for Bit of Britain’s Next Top Rider!