Cardinal Mooney High School junior Summer Clarkson was among 80 riders nationally who competed in the equestrian hunter-jumper Marshall and Sterling League National Finals, in upstate New York. She finished with a top 10 national finish — ninth place — and qualified for the Parade of Champions award ceremony ride.
How long have you been riding?
I’ve been riding since age 5, so for 11 years. I started with a family friend and just kept going. I’ve been showing for nine years. I do the jumping and equitation, which is based on the rider’s positions and how the rider looks. Before I went to (compete in) New York, I was jumping at a 3-foot height, but now I’m jumping at 3 feet, 6 inches.
Who is your biggest role model?
My trainer, Tara Winegar. I admire her because she’s a good rider. I strive to be like the type of rider she is.
What kind of horse do you have?
I have two horses, but they are retired. I lease Frankie — his show name is DiFranco. He’s 9 years old and came over from Germany about two years ago.
What’s the best thing about riding?
Riding is what I’ve always done. I just like spending time with the horse I ride. We get along great and make a great pair. He’s helped me get a lot of confidence, and I’ve come a long way. Just like any other sport that has teams, you bond with your teammate.