Connection with turns

Sophomore Gracelynn Maxfield works toward her goals in barrel racing


Courtesy of Gracelynn Maxfield

Sophmore Gracelyn Maxfield loves riding and taking care of horses. Maxfield is currently working towards the purchase of her own horse.

A majestic beast that consists of 2,000 pounds of power and strength patiently awaits for rider Gracelynn Maxfield to tack up. A beast that can sprint away at 55 miles per hour, stands still on it’s four legs. Words aren’t spoken, but a connection is evident. The silence speaks loudly as Maxfield mounts her horse and grips the reins in her hands with the perfect amount of firmness. The horse listens with its ears perked up, and they are off with one kick. 

Sophomore Gracelynn Maxfield continues her journey to a purchased horse, and the rodeo. 

“I have been riding since I was seven years old,” Gracelynn said. “I do western.” 

Western Saddle is a unique style of riding as it is larger and heavier, and the relaxed style of riding consists of one hand gripping the reins, and one falling by your side. Events for western riding include roping, cutting, reining, pole bending and barrel racing. 

“I have recently gotten into barrel racing, I have not gotten far along with it though,” Gracelynn said. “I also do not compete at the moment.” 

Sophomore Gracelynn Maxfield recently started barrel racing. Maxfield has been riding houses since she was seven. (Courtesy of Gracelynn Maxfield )

Maxfield’s experience with horseback goes beyond strapping on the saddle. Taking care of the horses is a component of the sport, such as brushing, feeding and bathing. Maxfield spends time riding with her trainer at the local barn, Woodhaven Stables. 

“[Horseback riding] has taught me a lot of responsibility, and how to take care of myself and others because I have to go and take care of the horses all the time,” Gracelynn said. “It has taught me how to do things independently.” 

While Gracelynn has years of experience,  she still follows safety precautions each time she rides these larger animals. 

“Her mom does enough worrying for both of us,” father Curtis Maxfield said. “As with any sport there are obvious risks of injury, but proper training helps you prepare as best as possible to mitigate those risks.” 

Gracelynn shares a bond with her horse and places trust in the animal.

“You are putting yourself and your trust into an animal,” Gracelynn said. “Anything can go wrong, like I said I have been bucked off a few times, it chooses how it wants to act.”

“You are putting yourself and your trust into an animal,” Gracelynn said. “Anything can go wrong, like I said I have been bucked off a few times, it chooses how it wants to act.” ”

— Gracelynn Maxfield

Gracelynn is now working towards the purchase of a horse. Although she works at the barn, she turns 16 soon, so she will be able to get a new job that will go toward the expenses. 

“Owning a horse is a big commitment, and you have to be willing to put forward the time and effort when it comes to the responsibilities,” mother Charlotte Maxfield said. “She will be more than ready when she gets her horse.” 

After failures and frustrating moments, Gracelynn gets back up and continues improving her craft. 

“Her ultimate goal is to improve with barrel racing,” Charlotte said. “She is determined in everything she does, and I can’t wait to see where she goes.”