King offers many sports during the three seasons of athletics, but for some students, they are dedicated to a competitive sport that’s offered outside of King. With ten hours or more of dedication to the sport each week, students can be exempt from school sports and can pursue it year-round for their athletics credit. One of these students is Maddie Hart, a senior, and horseback riding champion.
“I have been riding horses since I was 1,” says Hart, “my parents would lead me around on a pony. I started riding competitively around the age of 5!”
She is fully dedicated to the sport, riding for a minimum of two hours every day after school. Even if she had the time to do athletics at King, she feels that she “would be cheating on my sport a little” if she did.
Hart’s passion for horseback riding is driven by the bond she creates with such a large animal. “Not everyone gets to do that,” and it's a special experience between the horse and the rider.
Of course, it’s not without its hurdles. What also really drives her love for the sport is how humbling it is. “One minute you can have a winning round, the next round you're landing in the dirt,” she remarks.
As with many less commonly played sports, most people don’t quite understand how much work goes into, especially for what is one of the hardest sports, in her opinion. “The one thing that I really wish people understood is how much effort is put into the sport. Lots of people just think I sit there (I don't).” She adds, “The sport does not get a lot of coverage so there's a lack of understanding about it. Lots of people don't even know it's in the Olympics!”
Riding in competitions with Ox Ridge Riding, an equestrian center based in Darien, Connecticut, has garnered Hart over 2000 Instagram followers and a sponsorship with Corro, a horse supply shop. “Being sponsored by big name companies is such an honor. I feel a huge sense of pride when businesses select me to represent them.” She takes pride in her work to spread the word about the companies, especially “as someone who wants to enter the business world, it helps me gather insider knowledge.”
Sports are such an important part of the lives of so many students and this is the first in a series highlighting King students dedicated to sports outside of school.