Equestrian athlete headed to nationals
Madison Rheinheimer, a Heights High freshman, will compete in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association National Competition April 20–24 in Lexington, Ky. To qualify for the national competition, she placed in the top three at several regional competitions.
Rheinheimer is a member of the Double Deuce Farm Equestrian Team in Painesville. At nationals, she will compete in an individual event and two team events. Her individual event is the flatting competition, in which she will be judged on her performance riding the horse at a walk, trot and canter, and on her body position in the saddle. As a team member, she will compete in both the flatting and jumping competitions. The jumping event requires the rider and horse to clear eight two-foot-high fences.
Horse riding has been part of Rheinheimer's life for as long as she can remember. “I have been riding since I was eight years old,” she said. Both of her parents work in the equestrian field, and her father is one of her trainers.
While riding is physically demanding, Rheinheimer said she finds the sport to be a stress reliever. “When I ride, I can forget about everything else and just focus on the ride,” she explained.
Her training routine has her riding five days a week with her horse, Victor, and many others. The responsibilities of an equestrian athlete also include caring for the horses. “I clean out the stalls, brush the horse and clean the hooves,” she said. “I really love the connection between me and the horse.”
After high school, Rheinheimer plans to continue riding at the college level, and compete on a collegiate team.
Joy Henderson is the parent/community liaison for Heights High.