Kelsey Sarracino


Kelsey Sarracino poses at a tournament with her horse, Kai. She bought him this past spring in Canada. (Courtesy of John Sarracino)

Lauren Walker, News Editor

For junior Kelsey Sarracino the average day doesn’t just include going to school and doing homework- she spends time at a barn riding horses.

During the school year she goes to the barn at least three times a week to train for competitions all over California.

She won her section at the Oregon High Desert Classic, which is a tournament in Bend, Oregon taking place over the course of two weeks in the summer. She participated in the Meters (3 feet 3 inches) and 1.05 Meters (3 feet and 6 inches) divisions, winning the championship in each of them.

There are three major categories of showjumping: Hunters, Jumpers and Equitation. Currently, Sarracino competes in the Jumper category but she also enjoys Equitation as well.

Horse jumping is an event where horses go through 5-8 hurdles of a specific height and get judged on how smoothly they make the jump and how well the horse and rider work together. The Jumper category is divided up by how high the hurdle that the horse is jumping is. The height can range from two to four feet.

Sarracino usually competes in the 3’3” division but is transitioning to the 3’6” division.

Her love for horses started at just 5 years old on a family trip to Lake Tahoe. After just one ride on a trail, she was hooked.

Kelsey and her horse participate in the Meters division for jumping at a tournament in Bend, Oregon. Kelsey won the championship for this division. (Courtesy of John Sarracino)
Kelsey and her horse participate in the Meters division for jumping at a tournament in Bend, Oregon. Kelsey won the championship for this division.
(Courtesy of John Sarracino)

       Upon returning, all Kelsey wanted to do was be around horses. Eventually, her parents got her started with lessons at age 7. These lessons introduced her into all things horses. That summer she went to a camp specifically for horseback riding, which only served to encourage her hobby.

     Sarracino has been competing in showjumping competitions since she was just 10 years old.

     “I love being able to to form a connection with my horse and be around people with the same interest as me”. Sarracino said.

    Sarracino has always been excited about riding, even when it posed challenges for her. The first time she rode by herself, she fell off.

    “Even though I fell off at that camp, I came the next day and was more determined to fix my mistake and keep trying,” Kelsey Sarracino said.

    Sarracino has been training at Iron Horse Equestrian Center with Rose Hill for the last four and a half years. She was originally at a different ranch, but when her private trainer moved barns, she decided to as well.

    She has leased over 10 horses total for competition. The more advanced Sarracino gets, the more athletic the horses need to be to keep up with her.

    “As you become more advanced a lot of time the horse you’re [riding] will not be able to take you to the higher levels,” Sarracino said.

     Her first horse, which was originally a party pony, was inexperienced and wasn’t able to jump when Kelsey first started riding him. She managed to not only teach him how, but won a competition with him.

    Sarracino recently bought her first horse in May of this year. The horse, called Kai, is a Holsteiner-Oldenburg and is 9 years old.

    Along with the High Desert Classic win, she has also competed in the Woodside competition recently, jumping in the 3’6” division. This year she has also gone to the Crystal Image Farms tournament in Sonoma.

    “It’s really rewarding to see the challenges you’ve overcome with your horse,” Kelsey Sarracino said.