Grace Nelson & Trigger

  • Year: sophomore
  • Years in OHSET: 2
  • Years riding: 9 years
  • Favorite individual event: pole bending
  • Favorite team event: cow sorting
  • Favorite OHSET memory: when the coaches surprised athletes by spraying them with silly string at the end of a heartfelt team meeting
  • State qualifications: drill, versatility
  • Horse’s show name: “Broker’s Gold”
  • Horse’s favorite treat: french fries, goldfish, and animal crackers (which could be considered cannibalism…) 


Grace Nelson, a sophomore, feels strongly that the sport is underappreciated, and the general public lacks an understanding of the diversity and challenges it poses. “Equestrians work just as hard as other athletes,” said Nelson. “I think we deserve more credit than most people give us.” Many do not consider the time being an equestrian requires. Though OHSET is labeled a winter sport, equestrian itself has no off-season. Most riders work with their horses for hours nearly every day of the week year-round, and a large percentage of Wilsonville’s members work with professional trainers/clinicians in certain events outside of OHSET. According to Nelson, OHSET teaches students more than horsemanship and riding. Athletes learn crucial life skills like staying calm in competitive environments, multitasking, and self-discipline. “It’s taught me about hard work, dedication, and responsibility,” she said. Athletes are fully responsible for their horse’s care at each meet and often work together to complete everyday barn chores. Grace also emphasized the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding. “Riding helps you work through mental and physical pain, like any other sport. Once I started taking better care of myself, the physical aspect of riding came more naturally because I was more balanced and was better able to isolate the cues I gave my horse,” she said. Finally, Nelson attested that riding works a lot of muscles–notably, lower body muscles–and consequently brings about a lot of soreness. For Nelson, this has inspired healthy habits. “It forces me to drink lots of water, stretch, and listen to my body. Otherwise, I wind up in a lot of pain!”