The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

Home on the range: horseback riding


Students engage in a variety of extracurricular activities offered at BSM. But for a select four, they have gone beyond the soccer field and beyond the basketball court to pursue their passions; whether it’s in a stable or on a farm, these girls have devoted their time to doing what they love–riding horses.

Saddled for success with backyard stable

In third grade, Sophomore Annabelle Javellana found her passion after being introduced to horse-back riding by a friend. After riding for a while at a farm called Fortuna Farms, Javellana and her family decided to move to a hobby farm in Medina. Although living on a farm isn’t easy because of all the chores and extra work, “I don’t think I could ever live in a suburban neighborhood again,” said Javellana. Furthermore, with her horses at her house, Javellana enjoys the benefit of riding “whenever I want to,” said Javellana.

Javellana owns two horses, Patches McKenzie—her main show horse—and I’m Bringin’ Chexy Back. Javellana has owned Patches for about three years. “My old trainer was working with [Patches] when [Patches] was younger and we decided to buy her from [my trainer],” said Javellana. Chexy is only a western pleasure horse, which is one of the types of riding that Javellana does.


Javellana has accomplished many things in her years of riding. In 2006, she won the “13 & under Year End All-Around” award, which means that she did the best in her age group. She was also awarded two Top 10 awards with her horse Patches at the Pinto World Competition in Tulsa, Oklahoma and a Top 10 award at the World Wide Paint Horse Congress in Wichita, Kansas.

Javellana hopes to continue to work with horses in the future. Her long term goal is to either win a reserve or world championship show at a world show. “The world show is what I went to in Tulsa and the best that I have placed was seventh,” said Javellana.
Javellana continues to ride simply because she enjoys it. She said, “It is something I love doing and though it’s a lot of hard work it always pays off and when you do well it really feels like you have accomplished something.”

Her boots were made for riding

When Elizabeth Davin was young, she had an interest in horses, but did not start to ride until she was in seventh grade. “I met a girl at the History Day competition in seventh grade…and she invited me out to her barn which was in Montecello, Minnesota and then the next week I signed up for lessons and I have been there ever since,” said Davin.

For the first couple of months, Davin used the school horses but when she became more serious about riding, she purchased her own horse. “My first horse, Capri, was already at my barn and we fit together really well,” said Davin. This summer, Davin purchased her second horse, Tucker, in New York.

Finding the barn made it easy for Davin to decide what type of riding she wanted to do. Only riding during the summer at various farms and camps, she had no set type of riding in mind. “At Caille Farm they did a form of English riding called Dressage.I had done jumping a little bit in the summers, but I really didn’t like it. I also did western a little bit, but that wasn’t serious enough for me so dressage worked really well,” said Davin.

Davin trains all year round at her barn and competes during the summer. “I started showing three summers ago, but my horse has been hurt the last two summers, so we have only been able to go to our first show in the summer and we’ve done really well, but then she got hurt and we couldn’t finish the seasons,” said Davin.

Davin plans on continuing her riding in college and when looking at each college, she also visits the barn. “I am going to continue in college, but we’re not sure exactly how we’re going to bring my horse with me to college, so we are going to have to work on that,” said Davin.

Senior rides her way to consecutive titles

Sara Frey first experienced riding horses when she was seven years old. “I was on a family vacation to Alaska and we were on a remote island and we got to ride horses whenever we wanted. I would ride every day and I thought it was really fun and so when we got back home I asked if I could start riding,” said Frey.

When her family returned home, Frey began to look for a barn where she could ride, which proved difficult because many barns thought she was too young and too small. Eventually she found a small barn in Hamel, Minnesota, but soon left because she wanted to try Hunter/Jumper, which is a form of English Riding. Frey now rides at Arbor Hill Farm in Hugo, Minnesota, where she works with her trainer Elzabeth Lapert.
With her horse, Dionna, she was named the Zone 6 champion every year since 2002. She also has been the Minnesota Hunter and Jumper Association champion since 2003. Frey said, “My greatest accomplishment was qualifying and competing at the Pennsylvania Nation Horse Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 2005.”

Frey loves to ride because she enjoys being around horses. Her goal is to have fun and being able to continue her passion in the future. “This is my passion, not my profession. It will remain my passion throughout my life, but I never want to make it anything more than that,” said Frey.

Senior’s French twist to western rodeo riding
Katie French has spent most of her life with horses. She began taking lessons in kindergarten when she lived in New Zealand. When her family moved back to the United States, she found a barn in Plymouth to take lessons at and has been there ever since. “I ride there because it is right down the road from my house, so it makes it easier to go there every day,” said French.

French rides Western and competes in the Western Saddle Club Association shows. At these shows the events are based on speed, similar to events at a rodeo. French’s favorite events are the barrel race and the rescue race. She does “this type of riding because it’s really fun and the events are fast paced and to determine who the winner is usually comes down to the millisecond… it’s such a rush that you want to keep doing it,” said French.

Over French’s many years of riding, she has received ribbons, trophies, and money, but last year she placed first at multiple shows and had the opportunity to compete at the State Fair. “One of my biggest accomplishments would be qualifying to do the rescue race at the State Fair because competing in the WSCA events is comparable to state in other sports,” said French. French competes with her two horses, Phoenix whom she has had for four years and Charlie whom she has had for three years.

French is currently planning on competing in college rodeo next year. She continues to ride because she sees it as a challenge but also a lot of fun. “What I love most about riding is while you are doing it for a competition it is really intense and such an adrenaline rush but then on the other hand when you are riding just for fun it is very relaxing and a stress reliever,” said French.

Anna Martin, staff writer

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The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN
Home on the range: horseback riding