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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

Senior Meghan Bonney spends her free time saddled up to the horse community

Meghan Bonney
Meghan continues to build her trust with Meme

Earlier this year, senior Meghan Bonney competed in a horse show—an activity that ordinarily gets her heart pumping with excitement and adrenaline—but this time, her heart was filled with something besides enthusiasm: fear. 

When Meghan entered the competition ring with twenty people alongside her, she was entirely prepared for the critical eyes of the judges who sat in the middle of the arena. Having experience with riding horses for twelve years has instilled confidence in her that Meme, her current horse, would be able to complete any exercises the judges instructed them to do; however, things didn’t go exactly as planned.

“You can’t control what your horse does, so if they decide to throw you off of them during a show, you can’t really do anything,” Meghan said. “[This time], Meme freaked out right behind the judges. I almost fell off which was crazy, but they didn’t see it, thank goodness. I had to get all proper because I was freaked out, but I ended up getting second place.”

Riding horses has been nothing but a learning experience for Meghan. Her lifelong love for animals helped persuade her parents to sign her up for riding lessons at the age of six years old. After taking a brief hiatus when she was eleven, the FHC equestrian team piqued her interest freshman year when she picked her journey back up.

Revealing her new love for working out, she finds horseback riding to be one of the best ways to delve into her athletic side. Riding is one of her biggest passions, and she strives to make time for it during the day. Besides her enthusiasm for riding, she yearns for the competitive aspect.

The environment that riding has created for Meghan has made the surrounding camaraderie one of her favorite things about it. She has found that it’s one of the rare sports where you can compete against someone and then be best friends. The competitive setting that naturally surrounds any sport, she finds, isn’t as powerful in the horse-riding arena.

Even if it may not be the most combative sport, the massive time commitment it requires makes up for it. The amount of maintenance Meme requires has Meghan visiting her three to four times a week. Each normal visit is about three hours for her, but she makes the work something enjoyable.

Your partner doesn’t speak your language, so it’s all about communication, and you have to have a lot of patience.

— Meghan Bonney

“It is a huge time and money commitment,” Meghan said. “That’s why we don’t own a horse; they’re like $20,000. It’s also very frustrating. If your horse slams you into a wall, and you break your ankle or something, you can’t get mad at your horse. Ever. If they’re being a brat, you can get mad I guess, but everyone has bad days.”

One of the unique things Meghan enjoys about being involved in the equestrian team is that it’s not really like any other sport. Most competitive teams are instructed to work physically specifically against another team. 

With the equestrian team, the most important thing is your relationship with your horse. Meme is the one thing that determines how good Meghan will do in a competition, and it takes some time—as any relationship does—to build enough trust to be comfortable enough to rely on each other. Especially in a tense and ambitious atmosphere. 

“[One of my favorite things is that] I have a partner because my horse is my partner,” Meghan said. “You have a relationship with your horse, and it builds on itself. The better of a relationship you have, the better you’ll do in a showing. Your partner doesn’t speak your language, so it’s all about communication, and you have to have a lot of patience.”

When first leasing Meme, Meghan admits that they had a long road ahead of them in being able to build that relationship. Initially, Meme was meant to be a breeding mare for show horses; however, her first baby was stillborn, so that path wasn’t an option. After her failed pregnancy, she is continuously in tremendous pain. The doses of medicine Meghan provides help her to be fit enough to perform in the competitions Meghan enters. 

On top of the physical difficulties Meme has undergone, mentally it took many hours of training for her to be comfortable to be directed by Meghan. 

“When we first got her,” Meghan said, “she hadn’t been ridden in a couple of years so she was absolutely terrible: she’d try to buck me off every time I got on her, and she’d try to bite me. She was just really aggressive towards people, and she’d run away in the pasture when you’d try to go and get her, but now she’s better.”

Not only has riding horses coached Meghan on the discipline surrounding relationship building that will end up being a key to her success, but it has also educated her on the importance of companionship with the people she’s competing against. 

To Meghan, many people have undervalued the significance of the sport. Often it is looked past, especially at a younger age, because of the stereotypes encompassing it, but being with her horse is one of the things she enjoys the most. 

“The horse-riding community is like a family,” Meghan said. “Everybody knows everybody, even in different states. I feel like it’s really underrated because there’s a lot of people out there that give it a bad vibe, but we’re all a family.” 

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About the Contributor
Rowan Szpieg, Staff Writer
Rowan is entering her first year on The Central Trend as a junior writer. Her love of writing developed in recent years through expressive poetry. Although it is a hobby that assumes a bit of her time already, when she's not sitting back with a new writing piece on her computer, you can find her playing her guitar. Any spare time she has that's not occupied with family or friends is spent learning to play new songs. She also loves to spend her nights under the stars around a bonfire in the summer and laughing too much playing board games in the winter. Rowan is always up for a movie night as a way to share her interest in film. When she's not watching a movie, she has Friends playing in the background on every occasion.   Comfort movie: The Proposal Favorite time of the year: When Christmas music starts to play Favorite book: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom Favorite song to play on guitar: Don't Think Twice, It's All Right by Bob Dylan Has she shortened her watchlist of movies? Not at all! It's still over 300

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