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Jumping to New Heights

MN Students Show Off Talents by Participating in Unique Sport

November 2, 2015

The wind’s whipping past your ears, your heart pounds as you race around the track. You hear the hooves pounding against the track, wait…hooves?

For MN student Mitch Maurer riding horses is a regular part of his life. Maurer rides at the Farm at Butterflat Creek. The Farm offers private and group lessons, as well as shows and competitions for students to compete in.

“I love the adrenaline you feel, and the bond you have to make to ride” said Maurer.

Maurer has been riding for seven years. He began riding after his sister fell in love with the idea after a trip to Colorado.

Maurer attends two private lessons a week. He also competes at Derbys, where he participates in jumping and hunter events.

“There are three main types of classes in horse jumping, hunters, jumpers, and equitation,” said Maurer.

Hunters are based off of how the horse looks during the jumping. On the other hand, equitation is based off how the rider looks. Jumpers are based on time. Frequently Maurer competes in both hunters and jumpers.

“Derbys usually have a ten jump minimum in the first round and are set with other option fences the rider can take for extra points, these are generally more difficult,” said Maurer.

In the last two competitions he has competed in Maurer won third place in a junior to professional class.

According to the United States Hunter Jumper Association, “The course will be built to encourage and reward brilliance and daring athleticism from both the horse and rider,” This means a rider and horse really have to work together to achieve success.

“if you don’t have a bond you won’t get anywhere,” Maurer said.

Maurer owns his own horse, Nova, whom he keeps at the Farm. He rides his horse as well as others in competitions and for practicing.

“Getting the feel of riding more horses makes you a better rider because they each respond so differently to your movements,” Maurer said.

When he competes in derbys other people can sponsor him. In that case he would ride their horse during the derby.

Generally there is prize money for the top six places and ribbons for the top eight.

Another MN student, sophomore Kara Horton, also rides at the Farm at Butterflat Creek.

Horton has been riding since she was a young girl, and rides in Wyoming in the summer where her grandparents live. Horton has her own horse that she keeps there, but has the opportunity to ride many other horses because of it.

“They all have different personalities and are unique in their own ways,” said Horton.

Although she does not compete in derbys, she does hope to compete in other events in the future.

“I’ve wanted to ride rodeo since I was little. I just never had the chance,” said Horton.

If she is able to find a place to ride rodeo Horton would like to pursue barrel racing and breakaway roping.

“I want to be a part of the rodeo life. All my dad’s side of the family rodeo and went to college on rodeo scholarships, so I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Horton

Currently, Horton is working at the Farm at Butterflat Creek as well as taking lessons at the Farm. She hopes to be able to fulfill her dream of riding rodeo soon.

As your ride goes you become more adjusted to the horse, and they become more aware of your movements. As you race across the track you admire the amazing animal your riding, and breathe in the fresh air.

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