No horsing matter

Inside the life of a WLHS Equestrian

Delaney Callaghan
Kristen Epperson, sophomore, with her horse Rocky.

In high school, there are many different activities that students participate in, ranging from clubs to sports to volunteer work. For Kristen Epperson, sophomore, how she spends her time after school is in her barn with her horse, Rocky.

“I’m riding five days a week for about an hour at a time,” Epperson said. “And competitions can be multiple days long. It’s definitely a bigger time commitment.”

Epperson is a member of the WLHS equestrian team (also referred to as Oregon High School Equestrian Teams,  or OHSET) and has been riding horses almost her entire life, after getting her first horse at four years old. Epperson said her mom was the one who really got her into horse riding and equestrian.

“My mom rode her entire life because she had horses her entire life, so she was the one who really got me into it.” Epperson said.

At West Linn, equestrian and horse riding is a sport that many students don’t know a lot about. Epperson said it’s similar to how any regular swim meet or tournament works, but the sport definitely has its unique qualities.

“So meets are around five days long, which are divided into different events, and you’re competing against around ten schools,” Epperson said. “You do five individual events, and then a couple of team events. It can be intense.”

Epperson acknowledges that since many people don’t really know much about how equestrian works, there can be a lack of publicity for the team. But this isn’t really an issue for Epperson.

“I’m fine with the amount of coverage we normally get around here,” Epperson said. “I’m fine with it mainly because I don’t want to go on the Live Roar.”

So, overall, taking into account the hundreds of hours put in towards practicing, the long days of competition, and the small amount of recognition they get at the high school, Epperson and her fellow equestrians can find themselves wondering: is this all worth it? For Epperson, she says that it is.

“What makes it worth it for me is the feeling of success; knowing that you worked so hard and because of that you were able to do well,” Epperson said. “It’s just so rewarding.”