Sophomore McKenna Breton’s riding career races off at young age

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Trina Kim, Copy Editor

Sophomore McKenna Breton’s innocent love of unicorns in kindergarten quickly directed her life on a distinctive path; her obsession for these mythical creatures soon turned into a passion for horse-back riding.

With about ten years of experience, it’s no surprise that she spends most of her day on the ranch. This summer, Breton leashed a horse named Bow and has been riding him for the past six months. Her week consists of  daily three hour practices after school and various horse shows on the weekends until lacrosse season hits. Mondays through Wednesdays are dedicated to flat work and on Thursday, Breton practices her jumps for upcoming shows.

“[On] Saturday, right before the show, I’m out there pretty much the whole day, cleaning out my horse,” Breton said. “He’s white and he likes to get dirty, it gets gross so I spend a couple of hours just scrubbing him white.”

Breton’s dedication and effort does pay off. Some of her most memorable experiences include her shows at Pepperglen Farm and Vista Palomar Riders where she placed as reserved champion both times. Breton also won Grand Champion in her division, the long stir-up, which includes all individuals of 13- 17 years old.

“For some people, [horseback riding] is terrifying,” Breton said. “But if you understand [horses], it’s like you have a big ball of energy below you, and you can control that. It’s kind of hard to explain; you have to experience it on your own.”

While Breton enjoys the thrill of competitions, her passion for riding is fueled by its therapeutic and rewarding benefits. One of her favorite activities is riding at the ranch with her friends senior Cassidy Cooper and seventh grader Malenna Skeij after a stressful day at school.

“I have gotten burnt out but then later on, I end up putting a bareback on my horse and just riding,” Breton said. “I just felt so much more better afterwards. I was stressed-out, angry and just mad at the world, and I just rode for an hour and it lifted all my stress and worries away.”

Because of this and her love for horses, Breton is driven to keep riding.

“I would really love to take it to college and hopefully compete on my own horse in college and then keep riding for the rest of my life,” Breton said. “Then, [I’ll] show my kids how to ride, but horses are not leaving my life. For lacrosse, you can only do it in high school and college but then you get old and things start to hurt, horseback riding is something that you can carry along throughout your entire life.”