Ride or die

+Kylie+Fabisiak+%2810%29+rides+her+horse+Emmett+at+nationals.+Fabisiak+has+been+riding+horses+for+10+years.+Photo+submitted+by+Kylie+Fabisiak

Kylie Fabisiak (10) rides her horse Emmett at nationals. Fabisiak has been riding horses for 10 years. Photo submitted by Kylie Fabisiak

Molly Fischer

High school students often spend their free time studying or with friends, but Kylie Fabisiak (10) has passions that lie beyond school.

“I’ve been riding [horses] for a little over 10 years,” Fabisiak said.

Fabisiak rode her first horse when she was two, but started riding lessons at age five. When she was seven, she competed in her first riding competition.

“My mom worked at a ranch in college, and she introduced me to horses. Everything I had as a little girl [had] something to do with horses,” Fabisiak said.

Riders like Fabisiak take riding very seriously and prepare weeks in advance for competitions.

“As soon as I know I’m going to [a competition], I start training harder and working on every little flaw,” Fabisiak said.

Fabisiak has spent the last 10 years building her confidence. Her current horse, Emmett, has made the biggest impact on her confidence levels.

“Before [Emmett], I wasn’t confident in riding. I had gotten used to being thrown off. He definitely taught me how to be a better rider, and he taught me how to enjoy riding again,” Fabisiak said.

She has gone from last place in competitions to being invited to compete at national competitions. Being invited to these big competitions is her biggest accomplishment.

“I’ve never even dreamed of being good enough to go [to nationals]. It took a lot of work, [and] I spent hours every day at the barn. [My hard work] paid off in the end, and I couldn’t be happier with the place I stand today,” Fabisiak said.

Although riding consumes most of her free time, Fabisiak does not regret all the time and energy she puts into it.

“Riding takes everything off my mind. When I’m out there, it’s just me and my horse. I love that feeling,” Fabisiak said.