Peyton LaFrenz is a local MN high school equestrian, who greatly enjoys sharing her horse-riding stories. In this RE@L Student Corner™ Blog post, she tells the social media world how her passion and her use of technology has made a unique impact on her and many followers, wherever they are.
Like many students who share what they’ve learned through social media, Peyton tells us in our open-to-all RE@L Students Corner” about her “Equestrian Journey,” and how it’s improved her quality of life and learning.
Read on for Peyton’s story about her lifelong activity choice.
“My ‘equestrian journey’ started when I was about 9 years old. My mom found a Groupon online advertising discounted riding lessons. I had ridden a horse as a child, and our united family mentality was “why not?” Little did we know that this choice would kick-start what I hope will be my lifelong sport and passion.”
“I spent my first two years in the sport taking lessons at a riding school, on some wonderful lesson horses and showing our skills (I and the horse!) at local, entry-level schooling shows. After my learning many new riding techniques from these wonderful horses and ponies, my parents and I decided to jump into the saddle and purchase our first horse.
I was gifted with my first horse, “Benjamin” on Christmas Eve of 2014. This will forever be the greatest gift I have ever received! It changed my life forever! Benjamin is a OTTB (off the track thoroughbred), meaning he was once a race horse. “Benny” was, and still is, my true heart-horse. We both loved riding together!
We competed together for over two years and he brought me along from jumping entry-level jumps (short stirrup classes, jumping 2’0), all the way to my first season at long stirrup classes, jumping 2’6. I am lucky enough to still own Ben, as he is currently living a semi-retired life enjoying the long days on green pastures and comfy nights snuggled in his stall.
As Ben got older we decided that his show career was sadly over, and we were both ready for our next adventure… Ben as a school horse for younger riders, and me for a younger horse who could take me to the next level.
In December 2016 my family brought the second tall, dark, OTTB into the family. Captain is, as we say, “tall, dark and handsome.” Captain is 17 hands tall (each hand being about 4 inches, and translates to 5’6” at the top of his back). He is pure muscle and was a successful race horse. He is truly a beautiful animal. When we got Captain he was only eight years old (“green” as horse people call it,) meaning still rather inexperienced. Captain and I began what was a road of complete ups and downs.
From achieving his very first blue ribbon to his overcoming several physical ailments, this horse never failed to keep us on our toes and him on his hooves. Captain made many appearances across the divisions, showing in the .95 meter jumpers (a timed event, and my first!) and even hunter derbies (a style event). We even won champion together in a huge division at the Minnesota State Fair, certainly one of my career highlights.
Click here for some videos from my Youtube site and scroll down for some exciting videos I edited and posted. Many of these skills were learned during my school experiences.
Unfortunately, Captain was diagnosed with a back issue in the middle of our 2018 show season. We all worked very hard to try to insure his recovery, but after three months of rehab we had to make the incredibly difficult decision to retire him. He now spends his days eating grass with his best friend Hudson and is living in the total luxury as he deserves.
This sport of horse-jumping has many ups and downs (yes, that’s my sense of humor). It’s also a lifelong passion for those who are fortunate enough to be around such amazing animals, and able to take part in the equestrian world. I wasn’t aware of how many people participated in this sport until I started my own online equestrian Instagram page (@peyton_lafrenz). Click the graphic on the right to see my Instagram page.
Instagram opened up a whole new window for me in terms of meeting people and being able to follow some of the best trainers in the country. On Instagram I currently follow over 500 different equestrians (top barns, professional trainers, olympians, and other riders just like me). The equestrian Instagram community is HUGE. I have connected with many riders from other barns, allowing me to meet new friends who have my same passion, it’s crazy to think about all the people I wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for social media!!
I love to travel to local horse shows and events to take pictures or film and make video edits. I learned many of my video editing skills through my media production class at school and playing with any free software I can find.
You can find another social media link for my Instagram at the right.
iMovie™ was a great starting point for editing my videos. There are many other good editing apps for this. There also are lots of lessons online and on Youtube.com.
My photo and video skills have also helped me connect with other equestrians, trading photos or even sitting together and watching a video of the stunning horse and rider who just had a great round. Technology has enhanced my equestrian journey as it has brought me closer to the equestrian community.
It’s true that compared to some sport activities, riding horses and competing in Equestrian events can get very expensive in a hurry. But you can learn a lot about horse-riding online too. Saving some money from a part-time job can allow you to lease a horse and even take lessons. Check for Groupons like we did! See above! If you really have a passion for an activity you can usually find a way. There are some great tips online to help you.
If reading this blog post has inspired you to learn more about the equestrian community, I highly encourage you! The best way to get started is to take lessons at various local horse barns and find one that fits you and your goals the best. Riding with safe lesson horses is the first and best way to go. Buying a horse is a huge, huge step and often is delayed until you have a career that lets you afford it.
For me, horseback riding has turned into what I hope will be my lifelong passion and sport. This sport has taught me about hard work, responsibility, and resilience. Technology was a big help in my learning more about it and even improving my skills.
Although it can be consuming physically, emotionally and financially I have learned so many valuable lessons that volleyball or dance could’ve never taught me. I encourage all of you, if you get the chance, to try it.
I hope you will fall just as in love with it as I have. It’s broadened both my life and my learning.”
What a fine blog contribution from Peyton LaFrenz about her passion for horses and learning.
Her passion for learning in school, for learning to ride a competition jumping horse, for learning how to use media tools, for sharing her knowledge with others using social media, all deserve a Blue Ribbon!
Thank you, Peyton, for telling RE@L your story.
We all can learn a lot from our RE@L Student Corner!
Any other good stories out there worth sharing for our Student Corner™?