Senior Hailey Smyly

Horseback rider still continues to compete despite past injuries.


   Many horseback riders feel a sense of freedom as the wind hits their face, their hair flies back, and everything is a blur as their horse runs effortlessly into the wilderness.

   “It is a great workout; it is fun; I have loved horses for a long time, and I liked how I was good at it,” said Smyly. “It is exhilarating, and I love being competitive.”

  Smyly’s step-mother owned horses, and when Smyly was seven she rode one of those horses with her sister. But the horse refused to stand still and both Smyly and her sister tumbled to the ground. While they did not face any severe injuries, the fall convinced their mother they would only ride horses in professional settings and would receive training. While Smyly’s sister eventually quit horseback riding, Smyly continued and has been participating ever since. 

   “I have competed for so long that I went to a nationally ranked show, and earned a champion ribbon,” said Smyly. “It was my goal to be successful at a renowned competition.”

   Smyly fell off a horse in sixth grade, and bruised her tailbone. In eighth grade, a horse threw her and ran over her which broke her collarbone in two places.

   “That took place three days before the last day of eighth grade,” said Smyly. “But I also had hip surgery two months ago, so I cannot ride for a couple more weeks. My hip was affecting my riding, so I realized that I needed surgery. I have also gotten bruises and bloody noses from horseback riding.”

   Smyly’s hip would flare up whenever she would ride. It affected her riding, walking and her overall physical activity. Smyly had torn her labrum which was trying to heal itself but was becoming hard instead of soft.

   “But I am still getting back on a horse in two weeks,” said Smyly. “I plan to compete in June and am going up to the more adult level.”

   Smyly plans on pursuing horseback riding in college, and by next year, plans to own a horse. She will be attending Kansas University to major in Environmental Science. Her dorm roommate will be her long-time friend, senior Sasha Pancic.

Smyly and I are both avid readers as well as having a shared sense of humor that is full of sarcasm.

— Sasha Pancic

   “Smyly and I are both avid readers as well as having a shared sense of humor that is full of sarcasm,” said Pancic. “She is smart, kind, caring and has a lot of motivation for future goals. She is a great friend and listener.”

   Amy Ahart, Smyly’s College Level Composition teacher, met her when she was a little girl. Smyly’s mother worked with Ahart’s husband, and Ahart recalls meeting Smyly as a toddler at the company Christmas party. 

   “Smyly is a dedicated student; she works hard, and she is bright and inquisitive,” said Ahart. “She often emails me to ask questions about an assignment because she wants to do well. Overall, Smyly shows determination, a positive attitude, a sense of humor, and kindness.”