Riding to Success

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Riding to Success

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Community High School sophomore Ellie Vandermark has a love for horses that has been with her since the first time she rode one.

“My mom, for my ninth birthday, took me horseback riding for the first time,” Vandermark said. “Then it became a weekly thing, and then it just became a big commitment. It was immediate.”

Now, Vandermark is doing so much more than just riding horses. She takes in horses from rescue farms and works to rehabilitate them to being comfortable around people and other horses. Vandermark also teaches new horses how to pull carts and be ridden.

But Vandermark’s passions do not only include riding and training horses. She is also on the Skyline High School crew team. This commitment requires hours of practice after school, with regattas taking place on some weekends.

With such a busy schedule, it may be hard to believe that Vandermark has any spare time left for the horses.

But regardless of her busy schedule, Vandermark is able to find time on most weekends to make the 40 minute drive to the horses, which live near the border of Jackson County and Lima Township. The reason she uses her already small amount of spare time on this is because it is the thing she loves doing.

“I just love knowing that you’re in control of an animal that weighs a thousand pounds,” Vandermark said. “And it’s not a one way relationship, it’s an emotional connection.”

Vandermark’s love for horses is one that she wants to make into a career. She even has the road to her dreams almost entirely paved. Vandermark hopes to start with an undergraduate degree in biology and eventually, with a lot of hard work and training, she plans to get a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine.

The end goal for Vandermark is to start her own rehabilitation farm. She wants to stop misunderstood horses from being euthanized due to being deemed mentally unstable.

“It’s not like you can save all of them, but for the ones that can be saved, they deserve it.”  

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