Annabeth Howton '19
A Passion for Horseback Riding
By Rae Parsons '19
June 2019 Profile Issue
Any student who attends St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes could tell you that the sports culture is definitely a large part of our school’s identity, especially considering almost all of our teams are nationally ranked. The feeling of watching just a single game of the Sleepy Thompson basketball tournament is undescribable - not to mention the many other lively sporting events like the annual Seminary Hill Cup, Draper track meet, and Friday Night Lights showdown. However, there is a group of student athletes who have been lost in all the cheering for our teams, those who compete in sports outside of school.
Senior Annabeth Howton was six years old when she was first introduced to horseback riding. Little did she know that her love for the equestrian sport would only grow, leaving her wanting to compete in more shows every year. It takes her an hour and fifteen minutes to drive out to rural Virginia where she spends the day riding in a ring under the sun.
What many people do not understand about choosing to participate in a sport outside of school is the time commitment. “During the school year, I spend about four hours riding every weekend. Even though the commute can be a challenge, there is nothing I would rather do.” Seeing that her passion for the sport was nearly palpable, I asked Annabeth to take me with her to Lovettsville to see all of the moving parts set in motion.
We drove to her barn early one Saturday morning where she showed me the ropes. The care and maintenance that goes into looking after a horse is a job in itself. She saddled up her chestnut steed, Zach, and led him into the ring where I would watch them trot, canter, and go over jumps, almost as high as four feet.
“I actually did do other sports within the Saints community but only to help build strength for riding,” she said after asking her opinions on filling her credits by participating in school sports. “I definitely plan on pursuing a future in riding, considering I am going to join my college team where I will have time to practice and show jump.”
The student body may not be cheering her on from the sidelines, or hearing about her accomplishments in the ring during morning meeting, yet Annabeth’s passion and commitment to horseback riding are qualities that add to the fabric of our school community.