By Nicole Walby
SYCAMORE - Katie Vogel has always had horses in her life, and will get a chance to show off her horsemanship skills at the Interscholastic Equestrian Association National Sportsmanship competition in Oklahoma City.
The competition is scheduled for June 27-29. Vogel qualified after winning the IEA Sportsmanship Award during regional competition.
In Oklahoma, Vogel is to compete in one round of competition in which she is to choose a random horse and be judged on horsemanship. She would walk, trot, canter or perform other tasks with the horse. She also is to take a written test showing her knowledge of horses.
Vogel shares her love of horses with her mother, Julie, an equestrian coach for Tiffin University. She owns 23 horses and boards them at Lane of Dream Farms.
Vogel has been training on her two horses - a pony named Emmy and a Palomino named Tom - along with her mother's horses in order to get a feel for different horses.
Vogel and her mom also travel to Oberlin to train at Equine Differences with coaches Ric Weitzl and Liz Maclean.
The two spend a great deal of time traveling to shows and competitions, Julie said, although as Katie and her other children get older, there is less time to spend together.
Horses have taught her a lot, Vogel said, about responsibility, leadership, sportsmanship, confidence and team work.
Vogel will be entering the ninth grade next year and spends time working as a groom and stable hand at Lane of Dreams.
"I enjoy being able to make an animal that big do what I want," Vogel said of competing with horses. "In the end, it is all about trust. Even if I don't win, I can say that I have made it to a national competition."
After high school, Vogel said, she wants to go to TU and ride under her mom's tutelage.
"This is a great opportunity for her," Julie said. "I just want her to have freedom for herself and to go out and have fun."
If Vogel wins, she will receive a trophy and hold the title of champion.
"I think that it is awesome that IEA recognizes and awards riders for being good sportsmen and women," Vogel said. "It's not always about winning or losing, but how you can work for a ride to be proud of. Without horses and IEA in my life, I don't know where I would learn these essential skills."