The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Audrey Y. (10): Equestrianism



Audrey Yang (10) has been riding horses for most of her life. Although an injury halted training for a few years, she formally resumed around 4 years ago.

Like a few sports enthusiasts, a movie, Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer, inspired her to take up horseback riding. She noted that “the connection between the horse and the person really touched [her] heart.” To Audrey, what distinguishes equestrianism from other sports is the opportunity to communicate with an animal partner. She explains, “In basketball, you play with the ball. While the ball is dead, a horse is a living partner. [Horseback riding] is the only sport I know that allows the person to talk to a partner who is not a human.”

Audrey trains dressage riding 4-5 times a week for around 2 hours each session. A typical training day starts with preparation. She changes into gear and grooms her three horses, Jazse, Undercover, and Danuberth. Then, she usually practices for 40 minutes before ending the day by washing the horses. Unsurprisingly, her favorite part of the sport is being able to take care of her beloved horses: “They are like my babies.” That is why the most memorable moment of her riding history was when she had to sell her first pony.

When asked about whether more people should ride horses, “You have to have a heart for animals [to take up horseback riding.” In the context of talking about how many people start horseback riding as a method to slim the waist, she pointedly says that “If you abuse the opportunity to be with such lovely creatures, you will not enjoy what you are doing.”

As we know from every war history and film we’ve encountered, equestrianism has been around for a long time. Since 3500 B.C., horses have been used for war, travel, and agriculture. Today, modern, competitive horseback riding include three categories: dressage, showjumping, and eventing. Dressage, essentially a horse dance, began in Ancient Greece as a method to train war horses. During a competition, the rider and the horse perform a series of choreographed movements. movements  Showjumping actually traced its origins to the creation of the Enclosure Acts in eighteenth-century England. Fences were set up to enclose lands, so previously free-riding hunters began jumping their horses over these obstacles. Eventing combines cross-country riding with jumping.

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