West junior finds success in the saddle
By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff
Katelyn Schultz is not your prototypical student-athlete, but she recently accomplished one of her greatest feats.
Schultz, a West junior, competes in horse competitions and this year she went to Nationals, the largest single breed show in the world, and her horse won.
“It’s something I never thought would happen because it’s really expensive, but my parents support me so much. I was so shocked. You never think you’re going to be the one to win,” Schultz said.
Even with all of her success, Katelyn does have an everyday obstacle: She was born without depth perception, making sports like volleyball and basketball difficult to play.
“I can never tell how far away or close things are from me. With the horses it’s a big setback, too, because when you’re riding a horse to a three-foot jump, you can’t just run at it, you have to find the right spot to leap from. If you leap too far away, the horse will fall. Too close and they knock the pole over,” Schultz said.
Nevertheless, Schultz has learned to adapt and make the most out of her competitions. Throughout her young career, Schultz has become very decorated and respected throughout the horse community. It has been a passion of hers from a young age and a part of her DNA.
“I’ve been riding since I can remember. My mom rode horses and then I rode horses and I’ve been competing since I was five. I have pictures of me on my first horse when I was less than a year old,” Schultz said.
As Schultz matured on and off the horses, she started to see her hard work pay off.
“My horse won AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) Congress this year and is ranked second in the nation. I placed eighth this summer in the world with my horse for the 18-and-under division,” Schultz said.
A great deal of dedication and personal sacrifice is necessary to be such a high-caliber horse competitor.
“I fly to Texas once or twice a month to practice down there and that’s where I keep my show horses with Chuck Briggs in Texas at Turning Point Ranch. Chuck owns the facility for the TCU equestrian team,” Schultz said.
She is constantly on the move and showing in competitions all across the country.
“I go to smaller shows in Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, and if you win at the small shows then you qualify for the big shows,” Schultz said.
Schultz isn’t always out of state.
“I show in Wisconsin but it’s not super competitive. I do train locally with Courtney Hayden-Fromm from Seoul Creek Farm,” Schultz said.
Hayden-Fromm has been and continues to be impressed with Schultz.
“Katelyn is really sweet and has a ton of perseverance. She has a willingness to learn and has really impressed me,” Hayden-Fromm said.
Schultz’s passion won’t come to an end anytime soon.
“I will never stop riding horses. It’s the one thing I like to do,” Schultz said.
(Photographs courtesy of the Schultz family.)