While most Godwin students spend their free time hanging out with friends or playing video games, freshman Erin Alburger spends her time at the riding stables.
Alburger has been riding horses at Oakdale Equestrian Center in Powhatan, Virginia since she was seven years old.
“I have always been fascinated by horses and the thought of being so high up. It actually took a lot of convincing to get my parents to let me ride,” said Alburger.
Alburger also competes as a three-day eventer with her draft cross horse, Nova, that she leases.
“Three-day eventing is a component of testing you and your horse’s skills together,” said Alburger.
In three-day eventing, there are three separate events: dressage, cross country, and showjumping.
“Dressage tests your abilities on the flat (walk, trot, and canter). Cross country tests your horse’s endurance while running throughout fields and jumping over solid objects. Showjumping tests your horse’s ability to jump tall objects at quick speeds with fast turns,” said Alburger.
To keep herself in top shape, Alburger spends many days at the barn training.
“I normally ride two to four days a week, but if I know that I have a competition coming up, I ride three to five days a week. I like to not only do hardcore rides, but have fun trail rides to keep Nova happy and healthy,” said Alburger.
Like many student-athletes, Alburger has had to learn how to balance her time wisely between school and riding.
“I have learned how to use my time as efficiently as possible. I do all of my paper homework on the car ride to the barn and on the way back from the barn to ensure that I finish all of it,” said Alburger.
Alburger doesn’t just ride recreationally, she also shows at the novice level across Virginia and plans to compete out of state soon.
“I have won many shows. I have received many champion and reserve champion awards,” said Alburger.
Throughout her experience with riding, Alburger has also learned many valuable life lessons.
“I have learned that hard work truly pays off and that if you really set your mind to something and work as hard as you can, you can make it happen. Riding has also taught me to be a very responsible person because I am learning how to take care of another living thing,” said Alburger.
Alburger plans to continue riding and competing all throughout college and the rest of her life.
“My dream college has a great riding program and I hope to board my horse at a nearby barn. I would love to be a large animal veterinarian so that I can help save more animals that have been abused, neglected,
sick, or injured,” said Alburger.
Alburger has gotten to experience many special opportunities with riding, including meeting famous equestrians.
“I have met the entire Olympic jumping team including the top rider in the world, and I have also done camps and clinics with Olympians,” said Alburger.
“I am very grateful for the wonderful opportunities that this sporthas provided me with,” said Alburger.