Senior Ella Angel has loved horses since she was a child. This year, she will be leading the equestrian team as captain. The Oracle sat down with Angel to hear more about the team and her goals for the year.
A lot of people at Archer don’t know much about the equestrian team. Can you tell us a bit about what you do?
EA: I would say we are not a typical sports team because equestrian is a really independent sport with yourself and your horse and your trainer, so as a team we kind of come together to debrief about our horse shows from the year.
We have four shows that we compete in specifically for Archer, so all of the points add up and go to the school. Archer has finished in the top five out of 75 schools in the Los Angeles County area since I’ve been here in seventh grade.
We don’t routinely meet, rather we usually meet once before a show and once after so we can talk about our results and how we think we did. We have a tent set up at the show where we can all come together when we’re not showing and let each other know when we’re going so that we can come and support and watch each other.
There are different divisions we compete in — there’s a range of where everyone competes so it’s really interesting to come together and hear about what everyone is doing and how everyone is going about their sport.
Would you say that although equestrian is more individualized, there’s still a team feeling?
EA: Yeah I would say that. In my years at Archer I’ve always felt like I’ve been a part of the equestrian team. It feels like a team even though it is a very independent sport. We don’t practice together and we don’t really have a place that we all congregate to practice. Now that I’m team captain I want to continue to make it feel like it is a connected team and although it is an independent sport; we still have each other to rely on for support, and we still have that feeling of a team.
What do you love about equestrian?
EA: I’ve been riding since I was two so I’ve always loved horses. My mom used to be around horses so she kind of got my sister and I into that when we were little. Then when I was six I would always ask my mom if I could ride. She wanted to wait and make sure I was really serious about it just because it is such a huge time commitment. When I was nine she allowed me to start competing and I found my trainer who I’ve been with since then.
I really just love how that’s a place that I can go after school and on the weekends to to just get away from everything and take the stress off. It’s like a weight lifted off of my shoulders. Equestrian is obviously a very difficult sport, so I’m not only exercising, but I’m also doing something that I love and where I have an animal that is mine and that I’m caring for. Not only is he someone I’m caring for, he’s my teammate. It’s not just about the rider, it’s about learning to communicate with each other.
What are your goals this year as captain?
EA: One goal I have is to make sure we are really organized as a team. Especially with regards to paperwork, organization is really important for equestrian.
Another goal I have as captain this year is to really make everyone on the team, especially the younger girls who are just coming in and just starting out, feel really comfortable with talking to me. I want them to feel like I am a number one supporter for them. I want to go to their shows and support them when I’m not competing; I want to find out what time they’re competing and go so they know they have someone there who is supporting them and cheering them on.
Also, like I said before, it is a very independent sport but I want to make it feel like a team. I want us to feel like we are all there for one another since we all share this common interest of riding. We all know how amazing riding is, so I want us to be able to come together and share that joy.