Riding is a passion for the young women at the Vermont High School Rodeo Association in Northfield. This July, five of the teens will make their way to Lincoln, Nebraska, to compete for a national championship.
For Lea Krause, she’s been riding since she was two years old.
“It’s just as hard as a team sport,” Krause said. “And you have a 1,200 pound animal underneath you so you have to have a really good connection.”
The young women have been practicing every day to prepare for the big event. They have all proven they couldn’t have done it without their horse.
“It’s a very big accomplishment for us,” Madison Morris. “He is definitely doing his job for me, he definitely carries me everywhere.”
There are about 1,200 riders for all the events at nationals. Lauren Luce qualified for barrel racing.
“Barrel racing is like a clover leaf pattern, its going in and out of the barrels and not hitting the timer between them,” Luce said.
For many of the girls, getting there isn’t possible without some fundraising. “We make halters and sell them to try to get as much funds together as possible so we can get all the girls there that have qualified,” Luce said.
TCoach Josh Richards focuses on their riding and horsemanship.
“In the barrel industry what we are looking to have, we are running against the time,” Richards said. “We are running against the clock, so having a bond with a horse is so crucial.”
Even though Hope Gaboriau started riding seven months ago, her determination is there.
“Just follow your dreams, it takes a lot of hard work but you can do it,” Gaboriau said.