Freshman Equestrian Competes at Nationals in Oklahoma City


Elizabeth Rickards, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Here at Notre Dame Academy, we have over 20 clubs and so many different sports for everyone. 

One club Notre Dame does not have, however, is an extracurricular for equestrians, but that doesn’t stop Sylvia Peterson.  This week the NDA freshman travels to Oklahoma City for the National Equestrian Competition. 

I am very excited to be able to show at nationals, especially with everything that has been going on this year,” said Peterson.

Despite the new spike of COVID cases, the competition is still on. In a normal competition, Peterson would have had to place 6th place or higher in a regional championship to advance to nationals, but with COVID, she has already qualified. 

Nationals is a week-long event, and the show usually lasts 3-4 days.  If Peterson wins, she will receive an award and be allowed to ride an extra lap around the arena to show off her horse.

This is not Peterson’s “first time at the rodeo” either. Peterson has been riding horses since she was six, showing horses for seven years, and has gone to Nationals four times now.

“My first time going to Nationals was actually a surprise to buy my first horse, but I showed with her for the first time at Nationals in 2016.”

Peterson, however, will not be competing in Nationals with YooHoo, her first horse, this year because YooHoo is pregnant. She will be competing with Taylor, her other show horse. 

At nationals, Peterson will have to show and drive her horse in front of various judges at specific spots and times while riding saddle seat English. 

Saddle seat English is an English riding style that highlights the conformation of the horse and rider. It is a way to show off the horse’s high-stepping trot talent and the rider’s relationship with the horse.

Riding horses isn’t Peterson’s only passion. She also enjoys writing and singing.