The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

The online student news source of Lovejoy High School

The Red Ledger

Equestrian events equals athletic credits for sophomore

Courtesy photo
Freshman Kendall Whitt jumping her horse in a show

Competitive horseback riding isn’t in the course catalog, but for sophomore-to-be Kendall Whitt it’s her athletic credit.  Equestrian isn’t the most popular sport, but it’s something Whitt has done since visiting a horse camp seven years ago.

“It counts as my PE credit,” Whitt said. “I have to fill out a log for how many hours I spend at the barn, and it has to be 15 hours a week. It’s all after school, and it is a lot of time, but I ride a lot on the weekends. I end up staying at the barn really late, which can sometimes make it hard to get all my homework done.”

Whitt leaves school at 3:25 p.m. every day for an hour-long ride to a barn near Flower Mound where she trains for competitions with two coaches, one for speed and the other for performance.

“I compete in shows most weekends,” Whitt said.  “There are divisions by certain jump heights and so whatever height you jump, you enter in that division. There’s usually around 20 people in it, so you’re competing against 20 different people, and a lot of them take it really seriously.”

While Whitt’s parents support her riding, they make sure that school is her top priority.

“I think it’s awesome and it’s what she loves to do,” father Doug Whitt said. “We’re proud of her riding. But we are concerned about her keeping up with schoolwork because of the amount of time she has to spend riding.”

One of the few people who can relate is sophomore Scout Beatty-Low, another equestrian rider who often carpools with Whitt.

“I’ve known Kendall for five or six years, but we ride at different barns,” Beatty-Low said. “We leave school at the same time, and sometimes I’ll take her or she’ll bring me. I go to the barn and I ride two or three horses, just depending, and I do lessons, I take care of them, and I help clean up the barn.”

Whitt will be taking trips to different states in the summer for equestrian and she also hopes to ride in college.

“In the summer we’re going to Kentucky for two weeks and Michigan for three,” Whitt said. “I also plan on riding in college, I want to get a scholarship for it. A&M and SMU have good riding teams, and also Georgia, my brother goes there.”

Most people would probably overlook riding as a sport, but for Beatty-Low and Whitt, it is a physically demanding activity.

“It’s like a workout,” Whitt said. “But it works out your whole body, but it’s not like doing crunches or anything. It’s not as intense as running, but it’s still exercise. It’s just a different kind of sport. It’s probably a lot more intense and difficult than people think it is.”

For Whitt, the hours spent driving and riding every day have paid off, and not just in riding ability.

“It can be really difficult sometimes,” Whitt said. “It’s taught me perseverance and patience over the years. It’s taught me how to take care of something other than myself, because I have to take care of the horse. Really, I’ve just learned a lot of responsibility.”


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