Academy 8th grader Christina Rodriguez didn’t know a thing about horses growing up, until her Dad deployed to Afghanistan. Christina’s mom put her in riding lessons to keep her busy; never knowing it would ignite a passion for horses that would lead to competitive riding.
The 2012 season was Christina’s first year riding at nationally recognized shows. Her trainer, Jan Uiterwyk, says Christina loves to jump, “She has the natural ability and the determination to go all the way in this sport”. Christina knows it takes a certain mindset to want to jump, “It’s thrilling to fly over a jump. My goal is to make it to Nationals within the next two years”.
That goal seems realistic based on her success so far in both school and jumping. She is an A student at Academy and was the 2012 Reserve Champion for the Central Florida Hunter Jumper(CJHJA) in Low Children Jumpers with her horse “Grasshopper”.
Christina’s mom, Kathleen, credits the flexibility of the teachers’ and staff at Academy to prepare and travel for shows outside of the local area, “They work with us whenever she has to miss a day and they know success away from school means a greater chance of success in school”.
This year, Christina is #1 in the state in her division with her pony “A Lotta Moxie” and she will be busy this summer trying to hold on to that position as she does what she loves best, JUMPING!