A passion for riding

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Alison Phelps (10) is practicing her posting trot. She practiced all of her skills with her horse to be perfect for competition.

Cherylynn Gholson

Alison Phelps (10) started pursuing her passion for horseback riding at a young age. She immediately fell in love with it the first time she rode.

“I started riding in the 6th grade. I had tried lots of sports, and none of them clicked. My mom and I had the opportunity, after she got me into 4-H, to actually ride a horse. I thought I would just try it out, but after a while I fell in love with it. I rode my horse, Hunter, for about three months, and then I showed him at fair. I still ride him today,” Phelps said.

Phelps competes in both English Riding and Western Showmanship. English is a Type of Formal riding, whereas Western is a more traditional and less formal.

“I compete in IA, which is where you are given a random horse and are expected to ride them. If you are competing with your own horse, you trailer your horse to the competition. You have to get the horse ready by braiding them and washing them. They have to be very clean. You yourself have to get ready, too. You have to be clean and look proper,” Phelps said.

Phelps believes that it is no easy task to impress the judges and achieve first place.

“The judges judge you on how clean your horse is, how clean you are, your form and how good your horse is. Overall appearance really matters, too. If you have the best form out there and your horse is dirty, you are not going to get first place,” Phelps said.

Phelps has used riding to better herself and her life.

“I used to be super out of shape. I was not very athletic. For a while, I used to get into some trouble, and riding really turned that around for me. I want to ride for the rest of my life,” Phelps said.