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Riding through life

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Riding through life

Megan Ralfe, Staff Writer

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Senior Hope King still remembers the first time she sat on a horse.

“I had a lesson with my mom and my sister, I was so tiny and the horse seemed huge,” said King, who was 4 years old. “The feeling is what I remember most.”

It’s not the adrenaline of competing that kept King riding a horse.

It was the relationship she developed with the animal.

It was the sense of home.

“I’ve been surrounded by horses my entire life. My mom rides and so do my cousins,” King said. “It’s definitely a family affair.”

Reagin Von Lehe
Hope King prepares for a day of horse riding.

Watching her daughter on a horse instills a great sense of pride in Hope’s mom, Carrie King. Both share a love for the sport and animal.

“Hope has really gotten a lot of joy out of riding. Even when she was little, Hope has had this determination in her. She had a twinkle in her eyes from the beginning,” Mrs. Carrie King added.

“Our family members have always said Hope really is the rider in the family.”

Competing since the age of six, Hope couldn’t get enough of the feeling. King competes in the equitation, where she is primarily judged on her ability to ride and her position on the horse.

“I really became addicted. From this I began to notice my relationship with the horse and how they react to an environment we put them in,” King said. “It’s really cool now because I have two horses and I have such a bond with them. The fact I get to continue riding in college is unreal.”

King is the current owner of a Dutch and Polish Warmblood.

Having signed with Oklahoma State on an equestrian scholarship, King discovered a new realm of the sport she loves.

“Many people wouldn’t think riding is an NCAA sport. My trainer and I did a lot of research about it because it’s really hard to be recruited from this area,” King said. “It’s all about the politics. This isn’t really a judged sport, it’s more about the time. It’s all about who you train with and who’s backing you.

“This is a really expensive sport, a lot of the time it’s about what kind of horse you have rather than your actual talent,” King said. “You’re with a horse so you never know what is going to happen. If you’re on your top game, the horse may not be. Or you can both be at the top of your game, but you don’t have the right trainer. It’s all about connections and who you know.”

Hope King takes time to ensure that her horse is properly taken care of.

King soon discovered the welcoming atmosphere at Oklahoma State. Drawn to the campus and
its similarity to Clemson, she found a home away from home.

“I fell in love. The main thing that drew me was the family aspect. We had a dinner to meet the team, which was huge. This isn’t really a team sport, so to have that was really incredible,” King said. “Being offered all of these scholarships is great, but it’s not really why I do it, I just love the sport.”

I fell in love. The main thing that drew me was the family aspect. We had a dinner to meet the team, which was huge. This isn’t really a team sport, so to have that was really incredible”

— Hope King

Regardless of the distance, King’s mom is relieved her daughter will be spending the next four years in a place that closely resembles home.

“I love OSU. I think there is this very southern family-oriented vibe. The entire community is about OSU, the amount of support given to that college is incredible,” Mrs. King said. At the football games, they have the equestrians line up and give autographs. Usually they don’t get that kind of fame. What it showed me was that the community out there respects the sport.”

Perhaps she’ll be a professional and then be a trainer. Whatever route King decides to take, she said she always will ride. “Riding does take a while to get into,” King said. “But when I really got into it, I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop.”

 

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Riding through life