A passion for horseback riding

Avery+Briones+riding+her+project+horse+on+a+trail+ride.

Avery Briones

Avery Briones riding her project horse on a trail ride.

Calliandra Moody, Assistant Editor

Sophomore Avery Briones found a unique passion for horseback riding and has been participating in the sport for eight years. She is becoming a trainer and is a rider as well as a competitor at Mara Rescue Sanctuary.

Briones has been competing in horseback riding since 2018. In competition riding, there are different disciplines in which to compete, and within a discipline, there are many different events.

“For my main discipline I do English Riding and within English, there’s a bunch of events like dressage, showjumping, and hunter jumper,” Briones said. “I only compete in dressage. They call it horse dancing, but it’s just routines on flat ground with no jumping or anything, and I have to perform a certain way for the judges, and I have to dress a certain way that’s super strict.” 

Not only does she ride, but Briones has also played a large role in training one of the “green” horses at Mara Rescue Sanctuary, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. A green horse is a horse with little training and needs a lot of work to be ready to show. 

“We call her a project horse, and I’ve been working with her a lot more than all the other students and we’ve developed some good connections,” Briones said. “Usually when I come to the barn and get her out she comes and greets me.”

There are many aspects to horseback riding that are completely unique to the sport. Briones’ trainer, Meg Brown, gives insight into the relationship between horse and rider. 

“The bond between horse and rider is a very unique bond because they trust us enough to have us in control of their movements; it’s an unspoken language between the two,” Brown said. “If you’re going through something, and you just breathe and you ride, your horse will have the ability to almost heal your emotions through movement. It’s a very powerful thing. You’re communicating with another being on a deeper level.”

Briones is hoping to continue to improve her performance in the sport and to expand her expertise. She has many goals for her future in horseback riding.

“My goals are to keep leveling up in my division for dressage when I go to a show,” Briones said. “I want to keep leveling up in my tests, so each test that I succeed in I’ll go to the next higher test. I want to start doing some hunter jumpers more, because I’ve been doing dressage most of my time, and I also want to go to a certain college that has an equestrian team where I can compete at a high level.”

Having been riding for over half of her life, Briones has shown a unique passion for the sport. Her goals for competition and for her future show her commitment, and that commitment has not been without reason.

“I’ve stuck with horseback riding because I feel like that’s the sport that fits me the most,” Briones said. “I’ve tried sports like volleyball and I didn’t really find that certain passion that I did in horseback riding. Horseback riding just gives me the happiness that I need in my everyday life and it’s always been a part of me.”