Ever since I was little, I've loved horses. Back in 2017, I convinced my parents to let me ride at a summer camp in California. Soon after I realized my passion for this sport stretched beyond pony rides. No matter how many times 10 y/o me fell off, I got back on and would do it all over again. My main takeaway from this fun camp experience was not only my love for horseback riding, but my love for horsemanship. The bonds built between horses and their riders mesmerized me. I wondered how two completely different species, minds, and sizes could understand each other so well? Over the past few years I've fallen more in love each day with these incredible creatures and their emotions. Being around and riding horses has helped me fill a hole in my life that I didn't even realize was there in the first place.

Starting my competitive riding career later than most (2019) made me even more appreciative of the little things, and the sacrifices made in order for it to happen. Having this disadvantage made me work even harder to reach the levels that little me dreamed of. I am grateful for every moment spent on and off these animals. If someone were to ask me what my favorite activity to do with my horse is, I'd say bathing. There's no better feeling than making one's pony feel as special as they are to the people around them.

I now currently ride at Cedar Creek Farm and lease two horses named Prescott and “Excellent” aka Kiko! I have already been able to attend some exciting shows such as Lake Placid and look forward to our goal of competing indoors this fall! Prescott and I show in the Younger Childrens, National Derbies, as well as some equitation (THIS Medal, VHSA Medal, Gittings Medal, VHSA Eq On The Flat, 12-14 Eq). Kiko on the other hand is helping me kick off my jumper career this summer! We show along the East Coast, primarily in Virginia as well as Maryland.

Along with riding, I also own and run an equestrian small business called Love Barbara Belts. There I sell affordable elastic belts made to fit all varieties of equestrians; giving them a classy yet comfy look. My main purpose for starting this brand was focused around fun styles at reasonable prices. I believe looking and feeling great when you ride is part of your success. Over the past year, I have sold over 300 products, partnered up with many well known people, and sold my belts at the WIHS Regional Horse Show. During this upcoming year, I plan to continue to branch out and expand my brand. Along with selling my products at WIHS, I have also been a loyal Junior Committee member during the 2021 show year. I have been fortunate enough to volunteer with them many times and plan to keep helping the team in any way that I can.

When I'm not surrounded by horses, I enjoy playing Field Hockey. This fall I played on my school's Freshman team and have continued on to indoor field hockey for the winter. Playing this sport has allowed my riding to grow immensely over the past year. Playing goalie has taught me to be better balanced while working different parts of my body at the same time; just like riding.

I'm a student at Oakton High School balancing a public education along with riding. I have maintained an unweighted GPA of 4.0 and am currently on the athletic honor roll. I am enrolled in DECA; an organization that holds marketing competitions for high schoolers around the world. I most recently competed in my district's (Fairfax) Hospitality and Tourism cluster earning an overall 6th place finish coming in 3rd at the test section. I am also a member of my school's Latin Club. Learning about Greek mythology and Ancient Rome always intrigues me just a little more each day.

Riding at the collegiate level would give me the opportunity to continue doing what I love while getting an education. My everyday life has prepared me to become a Division 1 athlete as I have learned to balance school, sports, riding, and shows while still being able to appreciate and enjoy everything. Riding on a NCAA Division 1 Team would allow all my hard work and dedication to be more than just a hobby and continue to stay in my life. Being in the horse world has not only helped me gain friendship, but knowledge. Knowledge about life, mental / physical health, and how to be a better person. Horses have meant so much to me and I am eternally grateful for each and everyone I've gotten to meet and bond with.

— Barbara Closter


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