MHS students create school Equestrian Club

Amelia Knopp, Senior Staff Writer

Savannah Price and Sarah Scheele are no strangers to the art of horseback riding. 

“I probably watched all the horse movies and shows and read all the horse books in the library [as a child],” Price, a sophomore, said. “When I was around 10, my parents put me in horseback riding lessons and I’ve been riding ever since then.”

Scheele, a junior, began riding at the age of two at her doctor’s recommendation after a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Riding is therapeutic and freeing for Scheele. 

“I just love having that partnership with the horse and feeling that freedom to be able to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do on foot,” Scheele said. 

This spring, Price and Scheele are sharing their passion with the Manhattan High School community by introducing the school’s first Equestrian Club. The riding enthusiasts strive to unite beginners and veterans alike in a school group partnering with Hope Ranch Therapeutic Riding Center in town. Price was serving as a volunteer at Hope Ranch when the idea to form a school club emerged. 

“A big reason I want to start this club is to make horseback riding more accessible,” Price said. “Through the club, we’ll be able to do fundraising and then that fundraising will help reduce the cost of lessons [for the members].”

The MHS Student Council recently approved the Equestrian Club as an interest group, but according to Price, the group must complete two service projects in order to become an official school club. 

The group, sponsored by Gifted facilitator Susan Wolf, has convened twice for introductory meetings at MHS. The next challenge is to continue to grow the club’s base of about 20 members. In the meantime, Price and Scheele share great aspirations for the future of the MHS Equestrian Club. 

“I would really love to get people started with the lessons and learning a lot more about the horses and Hope Ranch,” Scheele said. “Hopefully, some people will even want to volunteer [at Hope Ranch] because since it is therapy riding, we have people with disabilities that we need volunteers to help with.”

Scheele also hopes to grow a showteam to take to local competitions. 

Price describes riding as an “extremely rewarding” experience that teaches goal-setting and accountability, while Scheele calls it liberating. 

“Going over jumps is just a different feeling because all four hooves are off the ground and you have a split second that you are in the air,” Scheele said. “It’s just this feeling of freedom.”