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  • Ingrid Nilsson

Student Spotlight: Emily Coggins and Horseback Riding

Coming home from sports practice, tired and exhausted with mounds of homework left, most high school students want nothing more than to relax and go to sleep. Emily Coggins, though, comes home excited to dive into her favorite part of the day. Instead of collapsing on her bed, Coggins heads to her family’s stables to take care of her horse.

While horseback riding requires hours of dedication, for Coggins it’s a family tradition.

“My mom has shown horses since she was young, and my dad's a professional horse trainer, so I've been around horses my whole life. I wanted to get into showing as soon as I could talk,” Coggins said.

Coggins with Laredo. Photo from Emily Coggins.

While Coggins enjoys socializing with her peers at shows, her favorite part of riding is bonding with her horse, Sonny’s Last Star, whom she calls Laredo.

“The connection you have with your horse is different than the connection you have with other pets. A horse isn't really a pet, it's more of a partner. In a show, your main teammate is a horse who doesn't speak English, but through reading each other’s body language, the connection you get to establish is deep.”

Horseback riding is a way of life for Coggins. Not only does she frequently spend entire weekends showing Laredo, but she has also learned valuable life skills through the sport.

“I think it's made me pay a lot more attention to detail with everything that I do,” Coggins said. “It's also made me very diligent about when I do a task doing it the correct way and the same way every time, so that good habits are second nature. It's also just increased my determination and toughness.”