She steps onto the rink at Carriage Club and feels the slipperiness of the ice beneath her skates. She begins skating a few laps on the clean ice to warm up. Next she starts practicing spins and jumps. Sometimes she’ll run through her skills routines. Junior Lilly Horton knows the drills– after all, she has been figure skating for 13 years.
By the age of seven, she was skating graceful jumps and turns flawlessly. Private training and class sessions became a part of her schedule. Two to three classes during the week and two more practices on the weekend were routine. During the week she looked forward to getting on the rink and skating.
“It’s so different, you have to have dancing and core strength yet it has aspects of other sports and it’s on ice,” Horton said.
In the winter she skates at Carriage Club. Since the club is only open in the winter, Horton skates at either the Kansas City Ice Center or Lions Gate Golf Club during the summer. The half hour drives to those rinks in the summer turned into bonding time that she and her sister share. Horton and her little sister practice together since they are in the same group.
Ever since she can remember, Horton has skated with her sister; it has become a bond they share. Over the years Horton has watched as her younger sister has improved, now getting to the point where they can skate together in the same group. The Horton sisters also share the same track record for injuries.
Horton risks getting concussions and other injuries every time she steps foot on the ice. She experienced her first injury in fifth grade when another skater’s blade cut her. Horton leaped into the air as another skater’s leg spun and clipped her lower calf. For a short time she had a fear of skating but decided to not let that stop her.
“After not skating for awhile I realized it’s not worth it; you get hurt and you get back on,” Horton said.
Horton used to participate in competitions when she was younger, however now she primarily skates for recreation. Her only performances during the year are in the Carriage Club Ice Show. Her skating is carefree and relaxed, even in front of crowds. By yourself on the ice, in front of a hundred people can be a little frightening. Although Horton may sometimes feel like she is humiliating herself during performances, their roar of applause afterwards reassure her that she is not.
Horton has met many different people through skating including her best friend, Haley Bell. The two have have skated with each other since they started. Both have realized the effects of high school on a competitive sport. Cheerleading and other activities have replaced time that used to go towards figure skating. Although Horton has many interests, her passion for skating has not diminished.