BY MCKENZIE ZOBRIST
They say dogs are man’s best friend. For junior Ellie Trubisky, “Horses are like big dogs: they need to always be fed, always have water and always be worked.” She explained how, between managing her school schedule, friends, family, other sports, and horses, she has built a bond between her and her horse,Tate, and learned a lot about responsibility.
Trubisky competes against professionally trained horses and adults, and, occasionally, people her own age. She spends over 9 hours a week at Greenacres, her barn in Indian Hill. She has lessons one day a week and one class every Saturday for Pony Club, a nationwide organization of horse-based knowledge and riding skills that is basically a travel competition team at her barn. On top of that, she open-rides to keep up her conditioning for her next shows.
This winter, she still goes to the barn for about two hours every day and works on walking through techniques. Trubisky explained, “Normally at our barn, we try not to jump or anything like that below 40 degrees. It can hurt the horse’s muscles.”
Even when homework gets in the way, she’s learned how to manage her time. She explained, “If I have a shift, I will work on it and then do a quick ride, or I will lunge him (have him move around her in a circle to practice skills without having to control the horse) and do homework after at home. Or, if I have a lesson in the winter, I will bring my homework to barn or do it at home, then go to my lesson and then go home.”
Like most juniors in high school, Trubisky works to manage interests and work. On average, Trubisky spends about three hours on homework. On top of that, she is receiving tutoring for the ACT, playing preseason indoor lacrosse and trying to train her new horse, Tatum, for the American Eventing Champs (AEC’s).
Last year, she qualified for the AEC’s, but she didn’t feel comfortable on her new horse yet. She said, “My plan is to go with Tate to AEC’s this spring and then go back to Pony Club National Champs with Tate the following year.”
Nationally, Trubisky sits in fourth in her division at the Pony Club National Champs last summer at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, North Carolina.
Trubisky enjoys the challenge of this level of competition. She explained, “I love being faced with a challenge. In horseback riding, my favorite event is jumping because you are always trying to get over the obstacle and sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t–but you always learn something new about the relationship between you and your horse. The same goes with obstacles in life: you always learn something new about yourself, and you grow for next time.”