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Junior equestrian leads her team, feels an ’emotional connection’ with her horses

Photo credit: Uma Nambiar
Junior Goldie Bronson hugs her horse, Richard, after riding with him. Bronson said Richard came back from competing in Las Vegas with her trainer’s friend a couple of days before this picture was taken, so she was ecstatic to see her horse again. “Going and being with a horse is just so calming,” Bronson said. “Honestly, I love just being with the horses the most.”

In a small area right off Sunset Boulevard lies a secluded haven for horse lovers. Sullivan Canyon Preservation Association is blanketed in luscious greens, covered in rays of sunlight and surrounded by the sound of whistling leaves and trotting hooves. 

Every day after school, junior Goldie Bronson travels there to ride horses. Bronson started riding horses when she was 8 years old.

Bronson had previously gone to a friend’s farm in Calabasas, looking forward to meeting the vast array of animals. However, she said she gravitated towards the part of the farm that housed the horses. The instant she got home, she begged her mom to get a horse of her own. A month later, Bronson headed to her first riding lesson, and she has not stopped riding since then.

Bronson said she loves horseback riding, and she is grateful for the emotional solace that her horses, Richard and Junior Mint, bring her. 

“Horses are so calming, and they read your emotions so well,” Bronson said. “Everything about them just makes you feel better when you’re having a bad day.”

Bronson said this aspect of her sport was vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. After a long day of online school, Bronson consistently went into nature to be with her animals, feeling in tune with their emotions. 

“Their energy radiates back onto you,” Bronson said. “So, I can tell when they’re stressed. I can tell when they’re angry. I can tell when they’re excited, and they can feel that from you too.”

Bronson has had her first horse, Junior Mint, for four years, and Richard — whom she calls Richie — for six months. The horses were shipped from Europe, which is common practice for horse riders in Los Angeles, according to Bronson. They arrived with those names, and Bronson said she loved them so much that she didn’t want to change them. Although she loves riding her horses, she said, at times, it can be stressful.

“It’s really challenging on your body. My body is so sore from this weekend. But, mentally I think it’s a bigger challenge,” Bronson said. “I’m so anxious that when I go to these horse shows, I freak myself out, and everyone is so competitive. And so the most challenging part is staying in your own zone and in your own space bubble and knowing all you have to do is go in there and do the best you can.”

Judges at horse shows evaluate the individual riders and how the horses jump, and the top performers receive awards. Hunters are horses that compete in hunting, a style of horseback riding. Bronson said another form of horseback riding is called equitation. According to Equinavia, in hunter classes, the rider shows off the horse, while in equitation classes, the horse shows off the rider. Bronson currently competes as a JV member. While JV jumps at 3 feet, varsity jumps at a higher height of 3 feet, 6 inches. 

Bronson is the captain of Archer’s equestrian team and competes in the Interscholastic Equestrian League. Schools come together to compete, and the riders earn points for their school. Bronson has won two first places and was champion at IEL in 2022 in the JV hunters section.

“Goldie is really kind. She’s really welcoming and inclusive,” former faculty adviser of the equestrian team Casey Huff said. “I think she creates a really awesome environment for riders of all levels and ages to participate in the sport.” 

A member of Bronson’s equestrian team, eighth grader Georgia Wilder, said Bronson is a successful leader. Wilder said riding with Bronson every day makes them very close. Wilder also said she loves Bronson’s bubbly spirit and believes it helps her prevail when riding.

“She’s one of those leaders that’s really amazing and brings you up and helps you with anything you need help with,”  Wilder said. 

Bronson said riding horses is very comforting, as she turns to them in times of hardship, and they are always there whenever she needs them. 

“Having somebody to hug, have somebody to squeeze, have something to love on,” Bronson said, “is very calming.” 

This upcoming season, Bronson said she is moving up to the varsity level and is hoping to qualify for the West Coast Equestrian medal finals in Las Vegas.

“It’s the best feeling ever to win,” Bronson said. “Winning for your school is so much more rewarding than winning for yourself.” 

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About the Contributor
Uma Nambiar, Staff Reporter
Uma Nambiar joined the Oracle in 2023 as a Staff Reporter. She is an avid reader and writer as well as being in the Unaccompanied Minors, Archer's acapella group. In her free time, you can find Uma reading, writing, and obsessing over rom-coms.

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