By: Madeline Schindler
[Pick up a copy of Game Day Coweta Magazine to read this article from The Prowl and Growl in print!]
GALLERY: Emily Morgan at AAQHC
Everyone has something they are passionate about. For Emily Morgan, a senior at Newnan High School, that passion is horseback riding.
Riding horses, Emily explained, offers a unique challenge that has drawn her to the sport and continues to motivate her to get better.
“I love horses because of how difficult it is to ride them or even work with them,” she said. “Riding a horse is more complex and requires a deeper understanding than any other sport I’ve ever tried.”
Emily has been horseback riding for nine years. She loves being around horses and competing in shows, and she explained how her love of the sport comes from its competitive nature.
“I love it, because it’s an individual and a team sport.” she explained. “[It] is very competitive and a large commitment. It’s all or nothing, not something you can do half-heartedly.”
Emily’s commitment to the sport led her to become a member of the Coweta branch of 4-H. She has been a member of 4-H for seven years now and has enjoyed how the organization has brought her closer to the sport.
“I have met a lot of people with similar interests as me and have been presented with a lot of opportunities through the program,” she said.
Emily competed in the All American Quarter Horse Congress (AAQHC) in early October, where twenty-two teams, composed of three or four competitors each, were in attendance and ready to compete.
The AAQHC competition is held over a period of three weeks and entails a series of individual competitions and classes.
The portion Emily competed in consisted of five different phases: impromptu team problem, prepared team problem, stations, horse judging and a written test.
Emily won third place in the station’s phase of the competition as well as placed thirteenth in the overall competition. Her success, however, was no accident.
She and her team began practicing for the competition months in advance of October’s competition.
“I started preparing for the national competition two months before we left, but we’ve been preparing on and off since the spring of my freshman year,” she commented.
In addition to training individually, Emily attended several weekly team practices to prepare for competition.
Emily’s favorite and best event was stations. Stations require the competitor to be completely focused and to pay attention to details.
“I’m good a test-taker,” she said. “I have a lot of knowledge from very different subjects.”
She explained stations as “a phase that gives diagrams, models and pictures and then requires you to answer questions about the pictures.”
In the stations phase, Emily gave the possible example of being “present[ed] with a horse’s front leg and asking you to label the joints in the leg.”
Emily described her experience at the competition as “stressful, but a lot of fun.”
After high school, she wants to continue competing in the sport and ride on a varsity equestrian team in college.