Sophomore takes the reins to balance class, horse shows

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Sophomore business major Sarah Ellis won first place and placed in the top 10 in her two events at the 2017 U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show.

Ellis took time off of school from Oct. 20-28 to travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the U.S. Nationals, where she showed her horse, Megatropolis BF.

“It was stressful because I had to juggle school and my professors,” Ellis said. “Once you get there, all you think about is the horse show. You forget about everything else. My plan was to go back and forth, but I decided to stay and focus on my finals.”

Ellis grew up on a ranch in Texas and has been riding since she was six years old. She shows horses, rather than competing in equestrian events.

“It’s kind of like a dog show if you think about it,” Ellis said. “There are three judges, and they have a blank scorecard.”

Ellis showed in two different events with Megatropolis during the U.S. Nationals, the half-Arabian English show hack, where she placed first and the half-Arabian country English pleasure, where she placed in the top 10. In show hack, there are 10 different types of movements called gaits. The gaits include three types of walks, trots and canters each, along with a hand-gallop.

It took a lot of hard work for Ellis and Megatropolis to get to the U.S. Nationals, Ellis said. This summer she won at two regional shows, as well as at a national show in Canada. Ellis has been showing Megatropolis since 2015, but she just started to show hack with him in March.

“He’s really never done it before,” Ellis said. “So, to win was amazing. It was also my first year as an adult rider. You usually don’t win your first year.”

This is Sarah Ellis’ first year competing as an adult rider with her horse, Megatropolis, in horse shows.
(Photo courtesy of Sarah Ellis)

Prior to Nationals, Ellis only spent one weekend this semester in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Megatropolis and her horses are located. She explained that she didn’t have to be with her horses much because she had great performances and practices this summer, compared to last year where she spent most of the summer training.

“Sarah and Megatropolis had an incredible ride,” said Joel Gangi, Ellis’ trainer. “Sarah put in a lot of practice time over the summer and early fall perfecting their performance. It’s paid off by winning both the Canadian and U.S. National Championships. That’s an incredible accomplishment.”

Ellis has traveled all over the South for her competitions. She has been to Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky and all over the states of Texas and Louisiana. For Ellis, one of the hardest parts is making the hard decisions about missing out on things at TCU and traveling to shows and Baton Rouge.

“For Nationals, I missed the homecoming game,” Ellis said. “But, it is a very expensive sport, and I made the decision that I have to go to this.”