There is a reason Kentucky is home to the horse capital of the world. And one of Male’s own students has embraced this Kentucky tradition through horseback riding.
KatiAnne Sanders has been riding since she was in the fifth grade; and for her it’s all about the animals. They are what drew her to the sport and kept her coming back to the same barn, Silver Lining, for 5 years where she has been able to form incredible relationships.
She says at her barn they teach “Not just how to ride, but how to be teammates; even though we’re not an actual team. We are like a family… [The riders] help each other be better riders.”
Although the relationships she has formed with other riders are irreplaceable, what keeps her coming back is her love for the horses. She describes getting to know different horses like, “Meeting different people.”
Sanders rides a horse named Channing who she affectionately describes as “All about food” and “Salty.” She has been riding him since Nationals last year, but, unfortunately, is unable to currently ride him due to a torn tendon.
She praises her first horse, Big, and how much she was able to improve through riding him. “He helped me get to where I am today. I thank that horse so much.” It is clear Sanders is a true Kentuckian.
She won her first blue ribbon showing two years ago; she has been showing for three of the five years she has been riding. She also recently was awarded the title of Grand National Champion in her Equitation class at the National Academy Championship Show.
Showing includes getting dressed up then riding around an arena with around eight other competitors. The purpose is to “Show your horse to the best of your ability… It’s all about the horse.” Any mistakes will get you excused by the judges (for example a bucking horse would be excused for being too dangerous); shows are all about looking perfect.
She hopes to be able to show at the next State Fair. She is currently a member of the Academy division. This is preparing her to move up to Performance, where she would be able to go to big shows such as the State Fair. She may be able to move up to Performance this coming year once Channing heals.