For Katelynn Higgins, it was all about getting back on the horse


Submitted photo

No horsng around for Katelynn Higgins. The NPHS senior has found a great passion for horses throughout her life.

North Penn High School senior Katelynn Higgins has had a passion for animals throughout her entire childhood. However, it was horses in particular that caught her eye from a very young age.

She instantly knew that horseback riding was something she wanted to pursue as she became older.

“Ever since I was a kid, I just had a draw to horses,” Higgins said. “I just had this want to be near them all of the time and ride them.”

As with any sport, the threat of injury is just a reality of sports that any athlete has to be ready for and be able to deal with. Two years ago, this aspect of sports hit Higgins like a brick wall when she broke her arm after falling off a horse.

“The horse spooked, I fell forward as it dove out from underneath me, I fell forward with my arm first and heard a crack in my arm,” Higgins explained.

The time in recovery from this injury was an extreme low point in her life. The inability to do her favorite thing in the world was stripped from her when she least expected it.

“In those months I just felt really sad, empty, and alone because I could only watch videos on riding or watch the horses from a distance,” Higgins stated.

When this injury occurred Higgins was doing Show Jumping. After her injury however, she was introduced to a new type of horse riding that she has continued to perfect for to this day.

“After I suffered my broken arm my trainer introduced me to dressage,” Higgins said.

Although she enjoyed horseback riding and being around them in general, immediately following her injury she was a little timid when it came to getting back on a horse. She was a little frightened to get back on knowing what had just happened.

“Once I could get back on, it was scary because you have to rebuild trust with the animal,” Higgins explained.

However she knows that it is important to be able to regain the trust in this animal as quickly as possible understanding that the horse needs her in order to do it’s part of the job. Teamwork is a very important part of horseback riding.

Katelynn Higgins was injured riding a horse but it did not stop her from pursuing her passion. (Submitted photo)

“You are putting your life in their hands. You don’t just sit there, you have a connection with this horse and you need to work together,” Higgins said.

One of the major times a horse and rider need to be connected is at a competition. Higgins feels super exhilarated on the day of a competition and she knows that her horse feels just the same excitement as she does.

“It’s super exhilarating, and even the horses know it,” Higgins explained. They get super excited and they want to perform their best.”

In the world of 2020 however, things have been quite different then she expected. She is unable to do as much as she would like both to further perfect her craft and to possibly get her own horse to ride.

“I haven’t been able to go to the barn as much as I would like and the pandemic has thrown off my plans to buy my own horse,” Higgins stated.

Although she can not do much at all right now with the horses, she has many further goals and aspirations she would like to be able to accomplish through horseback riding.

“My dream is to be a grand prix dressage rider with a little horse stable and a couple students. I want to study in Germany and ride with one of the riding masters over there,” Higgins said.

What started as a potential pastime has turned into one of Higgins’ most passionate activities, and she hopes to expand on and further her abilities in horseback riding for many years to come.