Waupaca girls form team
By Holly Neumann
For six Waupaca students who share a love of horses, their dream of having an equestrian team of their own has become a reality.
“I had the idea of starting a team when we were in middle school,” Macy TeBeest said. “I
thought it would be really nice to take something that we are so passionate about, and that you do so often, and turn it into a team. We wanted to get recognized through the school.”
With help from her mother, Amy TeBeest, the Waupaca Equestrian Team was formed in 2015 and is a member of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Horsemanship Association (WIHA).
Team members include Macy TeBeest, Niamh Sexton, Alexis Rabassa, Maddi Moericke, Dani Arnold and Kirsten Peterson.
Amy TeBeest is the coach.
“I saw this as a unique opportunity for these girls,” Amy said. “I wanted to be a part of making this happen for them.”
The team, which only competes once a year, has already seen success.
“Last year, in our first year of competition, we were third at the District WIHA Show,” Amy said. “This is quite an accomplishment for these kids. Earning almost 400 points, we were only 3 points away from going on to state.”
She said there are still things they need to improve on, but that these girls have immense talent.
“They are excelling at this,” she said. “I cannot begin to tell you how hard they work. They are willing to share their knowledge with each other, which will take them far.”
The girls compete in all classes such as reinsmanship (driving), speed, pole bending, key race, key hole, speed and action, flag race or clover race.
“Every class they show in is a pattern class,” Amy said. “In each different venue, they will work a pattern, in hand, in English and in Western. This makes both the horse and riders skills show.”
“I love being part of this,” Niamh said. “I have been riding since I was 2 years old.”
Dani Arnold, along with her horse Shiloh, compete together in Hunter Hack, an event that requires them to jump over fences.
“There really is only one jumping class,” said Dani. “For this show, I will jump two jumps. It’s based on how calm your horse is and how manageable they are. It also shows how well the rider handles them while going over the jumps. It takes a lot of core muscles and leg muscles to do this.”
The key to the success of this is staying off the horses’ back while they are jumping.
“You have to stay out of their way,” she said. “It makes it easier for them to move smoothly.
All the riders agree that one of the biggest misconceptions about what they do, is that people tend to believe that you just get on a horse and ride.
“This is not easy by any means,” Alexis said.
“It takes a lot of work to keep the horse between you and the ground,” Maddi said.
As the team prepares for its next competition which will take place at The Chism Ranch in Merrill on Sept. 23-24, they hope they will continue to be recognized.
“We still don’t get the recognition that other sports do,” said Macy. “But it has gotten better.”
“We don’t get to bring home a big Wisconsin shaped trophy when we win, but hearing our names during the announcements in the morning is huge,” Niamh said. “It’s a sentimental thing.”
Their coach hopes that they can further this program to become a school sport in the near future.
Funding for this program is the responsibility of the athletes.
“These girls work so hard and they take a lot of pride in what they do,” said Amy. “They pay for a lot of this themselves. I give them a lot of credit.”
The goal for the upcoming year is to find sponsors for each of the athletes.
Currently, Maddi Moericke is sponsored by Simpsons Restaurant, Kirsten Peterson by Ann at State Farm Insurance and Macy TeBeest by Judy Alsum and Jenni Alsum.
“Without my sponsor, I would not be able to afford this,” said Kirsten. “I don’t have the money to compete any other way.”
Anyone wishing to sponsor these athletes can do so by calling Amy TeBeest at 715-258-4511 or visit Waupaca Equestrian Team on Facebook.