A stable friendship


Photo by Photo used with permission of Andrew Ryback

Sallie Gutt, senior, rides her horse, Mattie. Gutt said although she grew up with an allergy to horses, she didn’t let that stop her from pursuing her passion.

While the majority of students spend their time after school either in extracurriculars or just coming home and starting their homework right away, these students take a different route. For these two girls, horseback riding has become more than just a hobby and instead, something part of their everyday lives. 

For Kasey Ledinsky, junior, who has been riding for nearly three years now, this hobby has even turned into a part time job. 

I have so much passion for [horseback riding]. If anyone asked me where would I want to be right now, it would always be, every time of the day, on a horse. That’s just the way it is,” says Ledinsky who’s passion for the sport has skyrocketed.

Ledinsky, who hasn’t fallen off a horse very frequently, finds that you need to put a lot of trust into these horses. 

“This is going to sound weird, but once I fell off and the horse fell down on top of me when I first started jumping, and I got back on again after and just jumped again. And it was nice because I was like, ‘I finally fell off!’ and I was smiling and stuff like that. My trainer asked, ‘why are you so happy?’ But that’s a good memory,” Ledinsky said. 

Ledinsky’s trainer, Lesley Teichman, who has been riding for nearly 50 years and is a trainer at Equidream School of Horsemanship in Grayslake, says Ledinsky is “pretty amazing. She’s really driven with everything she chooses in her life and horseback riding is no exception.”

Ledinsky isn’t the only student in the school who has developed a love for riding. Sallie Gutt, senior, who has been riding for over ten years, grew up with an allergy to horses, but that didn’t stop her from doing what she loves; riding.

Gutt purchased her horse, Mattie, in 2017. Gutt says you need to form a connection with your horse if you want it to cooperate with you.

“If you’re not forming connection with these horses, you can’t possibly do well in competition. You do need to have some level of connection to the horse because you’re reading the horse and the horse is reading you. If you’re stressed out while riding, they’re going to know,” Gutt says.

For Gutt, a competitor, those feelings she gets after a good ride just heighten her love for the sport.

“Whenever I have a really good lesson, I just get that feeling of ecstasy that like, everything is perfect, which riding is really hard to be perfect in and you can’t expect to be perfect,” Gutt says. “But, just whenever I have this really good ride, and I know my round is good, and I know my horse is happy. That’s my favorite thing about riding.”

Gutt plans on continuing her passion of horseback riding through a career relating to the field. 

“I want to become a veterinarian, but I want to work with equines for horses and like rehabilitation for them,” Gutt says.

While horseback riding may not be as popular as other sports, these girls find their passion through connecting and competing with their horses.