For Carmel High School junior Sarah Gould, competition is her favorite part of equestrian events.
“I personally am kind of a competitive person,” Gould said. “I like building a bond with your horse and showing it off in front of judges.”
Gould, 17, has been riding horses since she was 3 and competed in equestrian events since she was 5. She started competing on the A circuit seven years ago.
“My mom (Jeannette Gould) rides, and I’ve been around horses my entire life,” Gould said.
Gould earned three 2021 awards from the Indiana Hunter Jumper Association. The awards were for being champion in the junior hunters and age 15-17 equitation and reserve champion (second in points) in performance hunters.
“The junior hunters is based on how the horse moves and jumps,” Gould said. “Equitation is based on the rider’s position and effectiveness. Performance hunters also is based on the horse.”
In addition, she is proud of two other accomplishments in 2021.
In July, Gould had a strong finish in the U.S. Equestrian Federation Junior Hunter National Championship in Devon, Pa.
“There were three sections to the division. In one I got sixth, and one I got 12th place out of 80 people,” she said.
Then in late October in the National Horse Show at Lexington, Ky., she earned a second- and fifth-place finish in the three sections out of 30 competitors. She was named reserve champion for her division.
Gould previously leased a horse for a year. Now, rides one of her trainer’s horses.
“I am hopefully moving up in the juniors with the horse I’m riding right now, and I’m hoping to be competitive with him,” she said. “I want to go to some of the finals that I went to this past year.”
Gould participated in dance when she was younger. She is a member of New Edition, a CHS show choir.
“But horseback riding has always been my passion and the main thing I’ve done,” she said.
Gould plans to study nursing in college.