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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Horse show success eclipses hectic schedule

A rider sits atop a 1100 lbs. horse, trotting around a ring. A panel of judges observes every step and movement of the animal and the posture of the rider. The two must rely on each other to succeed, subtle commands from the rider controlling the horse.

This is the process of competitive horse showing.

I began showing horses four years ago. I originally had no interest in the sport, but after watching my older brother (Adam Casuga, ’09) ride for so many years, I decided to give it a try. It was not long before I loved it. Riding and caring for such a powerful animal gives me a sense of great responsibility.

Since I began, I trained with four different horses and two instructors. I ride paint horses in the American Paint Horse Association (APHA).

I often travel long distances to get to cities such as Bakersfield, Burbank, Temecula, Elk Grove, Rancho Murrieta and even Texas to show. These trips range from a short three-hour drive to a long and tedious plane ride. The traveling makes for boring times, but the trips are a small price to pay to participate in showing horses.

At a horse show, I ride both Western style and English style classes. Judges evaluate riders? posture, execution and the overall look of the rider and horse. Western is more relaxed with posture, making the English style riding more difficult. English requires a stuffier dress code and more complicated patterns.

Last summer, my mom allowed me to go to the World Show in Fort Worth, Texas at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center. My experience there was exhilarating. The competition in Texas is one of the biggest in the world ? riders hailed from different states and countries. The huge arenas and the panels of judges were intimidating, but the trip was unforgettable.

Sometimes the competition heats up, but I have befriended everyone I compete with. We always mess around and act like teenagers but remember that we are each other’s competition.

Some of the most memorable experiences of my life have centered around showing horses. I always feel like I cannot win, so every time I place first, I am astonished. Hearing an announcer call my name across the arena is
thrilling, heightening my sense of accomplishment.

The wonderful world of horse showing requires commitment and a great amount of skill. Between shows, practicing and schoolwork, life can get hectic, but the fulfillment of showing horses far surpasses the irritation of a busy lifestyle.

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