Achievement House Blog

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Jumping Over the Competition and Roping In Prizes

Julia DeBald

Having a hobby that turns into a passion is something most of us hope to accomplish during our lives. When talking with our students, we discover they have so many unique pastimes. Two students in particular share a common interest that has brought them so much joy while teaching them hard work and practice always pays off. 

8th grader Dash Hammett has been riding horses for 7 years. His fascination with them began when his sister was given horse back riding lessons for her birthday one year. Dash started taking lessons soon after her, and even exceeded his sister in the amount of time he dedicated to the sport.

With much practice and love for riding, Dash reached the status of competitive equestrian and has been competing for 5 years. Currently, he is competing at the beginner novice level in Eventing. His goal is to do a novice or training level event by next year. Dash tell us why one of his favorite parts about the sport isn’t just being around horses, but also getting to spend time on his farm. 

I have been helping on farms since I was old enough to pick up a bale of hay,” Dash says. “Riding horses is just so fun for me. When I'm not training or competing with them, I go on rides with my pony. We go all over the place, and we both love it.

9th grader Jack Loughner has a similar relationship with horses, except his experience is in the world of rodeo. Even though he’s only been riding rodeo for 3.5 years, he’s rode horses his entire life. When a trailer salesman invited Jack to watch him and his family ride rodeo, he became hooked. This inspired him to buy a roping horse so he could train to complete in roping events.  After a year of practicing, he went on to ride in his first rodeo.

Jack has worked hard to perfect his craft, advancing from riding in youth rodeo to competing as a pro this year. Over his career, he has won several thousand dollars, 10 buckles, a saddle and two jackets, which are big prizes for rodeo riders. He says riding as a pro has taught him so much, and it's so rewarding when he sees how much he improves with each competition.

Competing as a pro this year really made me realize that the statement Iron sharpens Iron is true,” Jack says. “My main goal is to make it to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Congratulations, Dash and Jack, on advancing in your riding careers and continuing to work hard! We can’t wait to see how far you go!