Every day, senior Ali Meyer drives all the way to 183rd and Ridgeview Road to ride horses. She puts on her riding boots, saddles up her first horse for the afternoon, and rides for about thirty minutes. After riding her first horse, she brushes and cleans him and then goes onto the next horse. She is dedicated to the riding aspect, but her true love is for the horses.
“The horses are first and foremost,” Ali said. “Everything else comes after that.”
Next year, Ali will be going to Savannah College for Art and Design (SCAD) and majoring in Equestrian Studies. Equestrian Studies is the study of caring for, breeding and the anatomy of horses.
“Majoring in Equestrian Studies is Alison’s dream,” mother Jenni Meyer said, “and we think it is fantastic that she is pursing a path that she is passionate about.”
With a major in Equestrian Studies, Ali would like to train horses in the future. She would like to buy baby horses, breed them and then sell them.
Growing up, Meyer was first introduced to horses by her aunt who owns trail horses and a small barn in Arkansas. She had always loved being surrounded by horses, so when Ali was only four years old, she asked to take riding lessons.
“She bugged us for a long time about riding,” Jenni said. “So we let her start lessons when she was in kindergarten.”
After quitting gymnastics to spend more time riding and competing, her parents decided it was time to buy Ali her first horse. Ali received her first horse, Red, when she was only eight-years-old. Jenni saw this as an opportunity for Ali to take on the responsibility for the care and well-being of the horse, a task that she “eagerly embraced.”
Since Red, Ali has owned four other horses—Opie, Jolie, Sophie and Champ. She still owns and rides Opie, Sophie and Jolie to this day. Opie is Ali’s favorite and out of her three current horses, she has had him the longest.
“I have a special bond with [Opie] and it’s nice that he shows affection,” Ali said. “Opie likes being around me.”
For Ali, working with the horses has made her more patient. They have shown her what her priorities are, and changed her social life as well. Ali finds it easier to show her emotions physically through riding.
“I can exert my emotions through [the horses] and not drama and people,” Ali said.
Hunter jumper, the area of riding in which Ali competes, requires muscle memory, so Ali feels she can control things by riding. When she rides, Ali can do things fairly close to perfect every time because of her acquired muscle memory.
Jenni thinks that Ali’s passion has made her confident in everything she does, not just in her riding.
“When she can go get on a horse that is over ten times her size and make that horse bend to her will, I feel confident that she can handle most situations that life will present to her,” Jenni said.