Elle Martin, 15, is a 10th-grader at Springs’ Venture Online who has become a successful young equestrian. She has been riding horses from the time she was three years old and has competed in horseback riding competitions throughout California. She lives in Riverside.
She is a member of the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), competing with Elvenstar Orange County’s team. At an IEA show, riders draw a horse’s name from a hat and, after two warm-ups, must navigate a course of jumps on a horse they’ve never ridden. By participating in IEA shows, riders can accumulate points to participate in regional, zone final and, ultimately, national finals in Syracuse, New York at the end of April.
Gold Coast FebruaryElle’s interest in horseback riding came at a very young age when her family moved from Mission Viejo to Norco. Norco is known as “Horsetown USA,” she said, and her parents “couldn’t help but buy a horse of our own.”
Her parents bought her a pony when she was age three, and “from that day on, I knew that horses were going to become a huge part of my life.”
Since then, she’s competed in various competitions on horseback, from cattle sorting to cross country jumping, “and almost everything in between! My favorite part about horseback riding is the connection and bond that grows between horse and rider. Just like anything in life, in horseback riding, there are always obstacles one must overcome, whether it’s a course of jumps or issues with confidence, but when my horse and I trust each other 100%, there’s nothing that we can’t accomplish.”
She practices five hours a day nearly every day, and more often when she’s competing at a horse show. She owns four horses, and her mother another two. She’s competed in many different horse competitions, and in every show, she earns either a championship or reserve championship in her division.
Elle has been a participant in the Venture Online program since 9th grade. Venture Online’s flexibility has allowed Elle to not only compete at IEA competitions but with the extra time she now has, she has earned five championships on her own horses at horse shows in Southern California.
She explained, “The program has worked excellent for me. As an equestrian, my horses’ needs come before my own, so my schedule surrounds my horses’ exercise routines, horse shows and caring for them. The Venture Online program allows me the freedom and flexibility to complete my coursework without interfering with my riding career. I am able to work on my schoolwork during my downtime at horse shows, at home after I’ve taken care of my horses for the day, or even in the car when I am traveling to different equine-related events.”
After graduating high school, she hopes to attend college as part of an NCAA Equestrian Team. After college, she hopes to become a horse trainer and professional rider, “competing in International Grand Prix and hopefully one day make the Olympic team!”