Pony clubber Rachel Wood strives for higher levels

Published 11:43 am Friday, September 2, 2011

Wood and Hennessey leap over an obstacle at a recent event. (photo submitted)

Rachael Wood, a homeschooled 10th-grader, spends her free time soaring across the open pastures of the farm just five minutes from her house.

Wood’s family owns six horses, which affords her three to ride – Hennessey, Chevy and Holly. Hennessey, a 17.2 Clydesdale TB Cross, is her main horse, which she rides when competing at training level in eventing.

Wood and Hennessey captured second place in a recent competition. (photo submitted)

“I have always been fortunate to have a horse,” Wood said. “I got my first pony when I was 3 years old. I rode Western and bareback until was 11. Then I joined pony club.”

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Wood said she started taking lessons at a nearby hunter/jumper barn. Pony Club helped her to then decide that she wanted to be an eventer.

Wood began taking lessons with Trayce Doubek when she was 12. Now, at 15, she said she’s still learning a lot.

“Hennessey, my main ride and horse, was donated to the Pony Club. Our DC set a date for us to come ride him for the owner. The owner ended up choosing me. Hennessey was donated because he was really spooky and unpredictable. Hennessey is also very sensitive, but we clicked from the start,” Wood said. “He was definitely a gift from God for me.”

Hennessey is blind in his right eye and was diagnosed with recurring Uveitis in Nov. 2009. Wood said she’s been able to compete him successfully, still, so she feels like his eye isn’t going to be a big issue.

“We have a really strong bond and trust each other,” said Wood.

Wood said she enjoys all the knowledge and learning skills of pony club. She wants to one day become a vet but in the meantime, she’s enjoying watching the younger pony clubbers.

“It’s fun helping them and watching them grow,” said Wood.

She’s still growing, too.

“I would love to receive my A rating one day. You have to be able to ride the Intermediate test and jump preliminary XC and also a stadium course of 3’9”,” Wood said. “This is my goal and I am striving for that level.”