Ready, Set, Ride

Tossing and tightening the freshly polished saddle up and over a six-foot, 1500 pound Hanoverian Horse. Tension builds slowly as one waits for their name and number to be called over the loudspeakers.

by Julia Blanchette, Editor


Valli Guha ‘22 is an Equestrian Horseback rider. At the age of 15, with three years of experience under her belt, Guha recently won a multitude of ribbons in the Arizona Season Finale, which is an “A” rated, Equestrian show. Nov. 16-17. 23-24.


What is Equestrian Horseback Riding? How does it work?

Essentially, these Equestrian Horseback Riding competitions are broken into two categories, Hunter and Jumper. Hunter Horseback Riding is solely judgment on the horse itself, not the rider. This category specifically grades the horse’s movements, attitude, jumps, formation, and strides. Whereas the Jumper category is all number based. The horse and rider team with the fastest time and fewest faults wins. Guha routinely competes in the Hunter division.


During the first week competition, Guha and her horse Riveting competed against three other contestants in her division. Guha and her horse closed out the competition with eight ribbons total, six first places, one second place, and one third-place ribbon. Nov. 16-17.


“During these competitive shows, knowing where your horse is physically is one of the most challenging aspects of riding because you need to pace the horse correctly in order to push them appropriately,” Guha said.


In the conclusion of the second-weekend competition, Guha left for home with eight ribbons total, two-second place, three third place, one-fourth place, one-sixth place, and one-seventh place. She was up against eight other competitors in her division.


“When I won, it felt like all the hard work paid off and I felt really proud of myself. I continue to work hard in this sport, and I hope it pays off later on as well,” Guha said.


Starting at age 12, Guha knew she was very interested in competitive horseback riding, her parents soon after helped her put her interests into actions. Nowadays, she travels to out of state competitions roughly six times a year.


“My dad takes me to all my competitions and assists with all things travel-related, he is one of my biggest supporters through all of this,” Guha said.


About Riveting- The Horse

  • Born in Germany
  • Breed: Half Hanoverian and half warmblooded
  • 16 years old
  • Belongs to Briana Davis and is being leased by Guha


At the conclusion of the day’s competition, Guha and her coach, Brianna Davis show off five first-place ribbons. Nov. 16.
PC: Nagendra Arakali
Guha and her horse, Riveting pose for a picture displaying two first-place ribbons. This picture was taken on the last day of the Arizona Season Finale. Nov. 24.
PC: Nagendra Arakali