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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Addison Sanford has made her way into horse showing alongside her experienced companion—the half-Arabian gelding, Bob

Jesse Klein
Addison Sanford posing with Bob, her half-Arabian Gelding Companion

Junior Addison Sanford has always known that horses held the top spot as her favorite animal. 

Beginning at age five, Addison has been immersed in the world of horse riding, and, at 14 years old, she began to show horses. Specifically, her 16-and-a-half-year-old chestnut half-Arabian gelding, Bob. 

“Bob was the first horse that I tried,” Addison said. “I knew instantly, when I went out to ride him and see him, that he was the horse for me. He’s had a lot of show experience, and that’s good for me because I’m new to the show world.”

Prior to adopting Bob this past year, Addison would have to ride “lesson horses;” however, Bob now enthusiastically accompanies her on her equestrian journey. She shows Bob on the Arabian Horse Show Circuit where they participate in Hunt Seat Equitation and Hunt Seat Pleasure (both being types of English-style riding). 

“English style riding is a lot more forward moving than Western [style riding],” Addison said. “Basically, the goal of hunt seat is to look like you’re ready to jump [even though you’re not going to].”

Addison enjoys the different places she can travel to and the facilities that she gets to compete at with Bob. Next year, she will be able to show at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, an old-timey and prestigious facility. Recently, she competed at the World Equestrian Center in Ohio. 

Addison placed at a class A show, AHAM (the Arabian Horse Association of Michigan), and went to compete in Region 14 at the World Equestrian Center. There, she placed in the top 5—which was a big deal, especially because of the skilled horses in the class that were there preparing for the Arabian US Nationals. 

“My favorite [equestrian] memory was at Region 14 [at the World Equestrian Center],” Addison said. “I top 5-ed and got to my first-ever victory pass. That was such a special moment. Bob got really excited, and it was cute.”

Being an almost 17-year-old horse, Bob is on the older side of horses that are being shown, even though, in general, he is relatively young. Nonetheless, his experience has made him an unrivaled companion for Addison and she plans on continuing to show him until he’s around 18 years old. 

I knew instantly, when I went out to ride [Bob] and see him, that he was the horse for me. He’s had a lot of show experience, and that’s good for me because I’m new to the show world.

— Addison Sanford

After Bob’s retirement, she will continue to still ride and care for him, but reduce the amount of showing she does with him. Even though Bob will inevitably have to exit the world of showing as he gets older, Addison knows that this will be a difficult transition for him. 

“The thing about Bob is that he really enjoys showing,” Addison said. “It’s really hard to take that away from a horse when they enjoy it. [If I can continue to show him or not] just depends on how he’s doing physically and if he can keep up.”

For the moment, Bob resides at a full-care facility; however, when Addison goes to ride him, she still has some responsibilities to help care for him. 

For a typical hour-long practice with Bob, she arrives 15-30 minutes before her actual lesson to help get him ready. His pre-practice routine includes being groomed with multiple different brushes, getting tacked up, and warming up with a trainer for a few minutes. 

However, the horse’s playful nature makes the necessary and standard preparation tasks a bit more engaging than they would be otherwise. 

“[Bob] is a little bit goofy, I would say,” Addison said. “He’s scared of puddles. Every time I tug the girth, he tries to bite me. But, it’s cute; it’s not in a malicious way. [He’s never actually] bit me, but he just tries to.”

While Addison prefers horse riding with Bob outside of school, she also enjoys being on FHC’s equestrian team. For the school’s “e-team,” she rides other horses—not Bob—that can ride multiple different disciplines (equestrian events). 

FHC’s equestrian team only has seven members, but Addison has created strong friendships with the members of the team, specifically, her fellow upperclassmen. 

“[FHC’s equestrian team] is a small team, but everybody on the team is really nice,” Addison said. “I like showing for school because I’ve made a lot of friends, and I think it’s cool that I get to try a lot of different disciplines.”

For the school’s team this past fall, Addison was only able to ride her horse a few times before the season started and had limited time to practice with him, making the season tougher than it would have been if she had gotten more time with the horse. In addition, she was focused on what she was doing out of school with Bob, so the season didn’t go as well as she had initially hoped. 

Nonetheless, in the 2024 season, her senior year, the team is determined to make it further than they were able to this past season. 

“For the equestrian team, we want to make it to states next year, and we’re going to,” Addison said. “We’re very hopeful about that. [We will be able to make it to states] because half the team will be seniors next year.”

Addison plans to continue riding horses in college, which shouldn’t be a problem because most larger schools now have equestrian teams. Respectively, she is interested in Albion College’s and the University of Colorado Boulder’s equestrian programs. 

Regardless of where equestrian takes her in the future, Addison has already been able to immerse herself in the tough world of horseshowing and riding—on the school’s team and on her own with Bob.

“[Equestrian] is a hard sport to get into,” Addison said. “It’s definitely a learning curve. It’s a really great sport. Horses are amazing animals to be around; they’re very therapeutic, and I think that the community is really awesome.”

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About the Contributor
Elle Manning
Elle Manning, Staff Writer
Elle is a sophomore beginning her first year on The Central Trend. She loves to read novels, create extravagant Pinterest boards, and journal in her seemingly scarce free time. Her biggest passions include writing and fashion, and she hopes to one day be able to combine the two into a future career. She has been a cheerleader since fourth grade and continues to spend her time on the sidelines every football season. In the spring, she enjoys playing tennis, even though she is still learning. She is often found with Spotify open; she loves to listen to music from a variety of different genres and decades. Most recent musical fixation: Weyes Blood Dream school: Columbia University Favorite book: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt Favorite comfort films: All of The Twilight Saga (primarily the first two movies)

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  • K

    Karen BuntingJan 18, 2024 at 11:17 am

    Great article. I am so proud of Addison❤️