Sophomore explores alternate interests

Evan Bakker

Rather than playing soccer year-round, obsessing about debate team, or just sitting around, ever-curious sophomore Abby Christensen searches for extraordinary hobbies. Welding metals, becoming a certified scuba diver, dreaming of embarking on a rock climbing adventure to the top of mount Everest, and owning a horse, Christensen likes to “try something” new every once in a while.

“It just came to my head,” Abby said as she discussed her latest hobby, welding metals. She spends about six weeks welding sculptures together, going through a rather complex process. First, she heats steel to mold the parts together. “I weld it hot enough so it’s dripping,” Abby said.
She sprays the sculpture with a coating of chemicals, and then douses the sculpture with water to wash out the chemicals once the process is done. She wears gloves and canvas shoes to protect herself from possible burns. “I burn myself a lot,” she added.

Abby takes pride in her most interesting design, a steel horse. “I cut a dock pipe to make the stomach,” she said.

Although it sounds like she’s been working in the welding business for years, she has only just picked up the hobby this past summer. “This summer I decided it was something I wanted to do,” she said.

Before all of her experimental sculpting, Abby took a beginners class and “got to wear a huge helmet.”

Abby has also become a certified scuba diver. To obtain this license, she had to partake in three open water dives of sixty feet or less into the ocean by the Cayman Islands. “At sixty feet in the ocean they make you take off your goggles, and then you have to blow with your nose,” Abby said. “The equipment is really heavy,” she added, claiming that overall it weighs somewhere between 50 and 60 pounds.

She recalled that the equipment was so heavy that someone had to help prop her up so that she could dive into the ocean. The task of diving in became even more strenuous with “twenty foot waves swaying back and forth.”

Abby also owns her very own horse, named Lotus. Because keeping a horse in the suburbs would be a heavy burden, Abby keeps her horse at Indigo Farms in Mound, Minnesota. “My horse’s color is Bay and her type is Horder,” Abby said. Many Horder brand horses are trained in racing. “A Horder has really big butt muscles,” she declared.

Her horse is also involved in a “ballet dresage,” a test of agility and stamina for a horse. Surprisingly, the horses can actually dance, learn choreography, and even synchronize their movements.

“You can have teams and dance, and you can teach them choreography,” Abby said. One can also teach the horses to perform tricks or poses, including one such move where the horse stands on its hind legs, which would be “way too scary,” Abby said.

As if welding metals was not adventurous enough, Abby discussed her insatiable desire to go on a rock climbing journey to Mount Everest. “The most I’ve done so far is climb a rock wall,” Abby said. However, she has her parents’ support, and says that she is definitely considering climbing Mount Everest in her lifetime.