More than horsing around

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Central Hardin equestrian team finds early success

A team that’s just three years into its lifespan already has brought Central Hardin High School success.

For the second year in a row, Central’s equestrian team has placed second in the state. The team was formed three years ago after students pushed to bring their interest in horsemanship to the school.

The state competition at Murray State University is the only event the team attends every year, as there aren’t a lot of equestrian competitions for schools, Coach Jayna Thompson said.

The team consists of students who have had experience in riding and competitions and is only allowed to have 10 riders, Thompson said.

“And I have to make cuts because there are so many interested,” she said.

With the students’ background, the team practiced just five times before heading into the state competition last month. The team focuses on correct horsemanship with different horses, as riders compete with a horse that’s randomly selected for them at the competition. This way practice is “creating the environment that we’re going to have,” she said.

Central Hardinis the only local school with an equestrian team, Thompson said.

“We have a very diverse population in as far as student interests go,” she said.

Creation of the team was driven from “student interest, all the way,” she said.

Senior Jordan Brown was instrumental in formation of the team. Brown said she wanted to see a team that reflected her own interests, as well as those of her friends.

“They were all really excited,” she said.

The team practices at Wild Rose Equestrian Center in Elizabethtown, which is owned by Brown’s family.

Senior Eden Tharpe joined the team this year. Tharpe, like Brown, has competed quite a bit.

“Since it’s my first year being on the team, it was really exciting that we did that well against other teams in the state,” Tharpe said.

Senior Shelby Highbaugh recalls seeing the Union County team last year and being intimidated by their uniforms, something the Central team did not have. So coming in second that year wasn’t expected.

“It really was quite a shock,” Highbaugh said.

This year the team had the uniforms to go along with the second-place finish.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.